Public Defender

In most jurisdictions, a DUI is considered a criminal offense with potential incarceration.

Find Providers

If you do not hire a private DUI/DWI attorney, a public defender can be assigned to you. While assigned by the court, public defenders typically are not free. You will go through a screening process to determine how much will be added to your court fines for your representation.

What You Need To Know


  • Public defenders are ethically bound to diligently represent their clients. They do not specialize in DUIs but rather all criminal cases.
  • DUI convictions often involve an administrative (Department of Motor Vehicle) hearing regarding your driving privileges, and a criminal court hearing to determine the charge of the DUI.
  • A DUI attorney can represent you at both hearings, but public defenders can only represent you in your criminal court hearing.
  • Fees for public defenders are means-tested in most states. Ask questions regarding what a public defender can and cannot do for you.
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