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Public Defender

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In most jurisdictions, a DUI is considered a criminal offense with potential incarceration, and thus you are entitled to an attorney.  If you do not hire a private attorney, a public defender will be assigned to you. While assigned by the court, public defense typically are not free.   This is one of the many reasons why most DUI cases do not go to trial beyond the arrangement phase.

Things that Matter:

  • Public defenders are ethically bound to diligently represent their clients, although they work with many criminal cases and may not specialize in DUI.
  • DUI convictions can often involve multiple hearings with multiple types of courts: such as an administrative (Department of Motor Vehicle) hearing regarding your driving privileges and a court hearing to determine the criminal charge of the DUI.
  • A private attorney can represent you at both hearings, most public defenders only represent you in the criminal court hearing.

Helpful Hints:

Fees for public defenders are means tested in most states.  Ask questions regarding what a public defender can and cannot do for you regarding a DUI.

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