What should I know about a DUI Attorney VS. a Public Defender
Getting a DUI is not exactly on most people’s bucket list. However, it happens and when it does the reality of getting one is extremely harsh. You probably have many questions that need answered (“got a DUI, what do I do?!”) and perhaps don’t even know where to start looking answers. Let us help with a comparison of hiring a DUI Attorney vs. a Public Defender. This is a very important decision in your DUI case because this person will be representing you.
Hiring a DUI attorney will be the best case scenario for nearly everyone, even considering the price. A good lawyer will help you gain the difference between having the judge completely dismiss your case to having a huge effect on your life and bank account. Some DUI clients have the incorrect belief that their case is set in stone and cannot be fought and so they go with a public offender to try to save some money. In many cases this is not true; cases can be fought and won on the DUI side with the best DUI attorney. There are pros and cons to both, and hopefully this will help you decide which one is right for your specific situation.
Pros for Hiring a DUI Attorney
- You get to choose and are in charge because you are paying for the service. You have the option of interviewing any private DUI attorneys in the Tampa area and decide who you want representing you—and you will find literally thousands of them in your area. This is a great benefit from selecting an assigned public defender as you get no say in who you are working with.
- Because of the nature of the work for a private lawyer, they work with a significantly lower case load than a public defender. This gives them the time to work out the details and really get to know the situation well enough to make a good case in your defense. This can translate to early dismissal or a lesser charge.
Pros for Hiring a Public Defender
- The obvious benefit to choosing to use a public defender is they are often free—and if not free, usually less than a private lawyer. This helps low income DUI clients to be able to have legal representation rather than having to defend themselves. Getting legal advice is essential in any court room proceeding.
- Using an experienced public defender will be a great asset versus using an inexperienced or bad lawyer. Public defenders are not bad lawyers—they just have a very small amount of time they are paid to work on each case. Thus they can very rarely take the time to get all the details, however, there are some who are able to help well and will be an asset.
Cons to Hiring a DUI Lawyer
- Cost is number one. You'll be paying the attorney probably long after your case is over. You will also have court fees, lost work time, and other associated fines.
- The courtroom business is never a guarantee. Just because you paid the money for a good lawyer, doesn’t mean you will get-off free.
- Your case may get shoved aside by your lawyer for a better one and you will end-up with their associate working with you. Ask before you spend the money.
Cons to Hiring a Public Defender
- They aren’t paid well and they are overworked. This means they have many cases besides yours and aren’t getting enough pay for any of them.
- Most public defenders are not specialized. They will be working with many different types of cases along with your DUI case. Their head may not be totally in the game at your hearing.
- You will get minimal face time with your public defender. They just don’t have the time to really work things through with you. Your case is one of many they are researching and defending.