Everyone who is charged with a DUI has the right to an attorney. If you don’t have the money to hire legal counsel, the court will appoint a lawyer and the government will pay. The court can appoint a public defender or a private attorney who accepts court-appointed cases. You typically won’t have a choice in which type of lawyer or which individual lawyer the court assigns to you.
During your first court appearance, the judge will remind you of your rights. If you can’t afford a DUI attorney in Portland, Oregon without causing yourself substantial hardship, you can apply for a court-appointed attorney. A court clerk will review your application to ensure you meet the criteria. The assigned lawyer will represent you through all the criminal proceedings linked to your arrest.
Why Are Public Defenders Sometimes Frowned Upon?
The work of court-appointed lawyers, including public defenders, ensures that everyone who wants a lawyer can get one. These attorneys can even hire investigators or expert witnesses at the government’s expense if it’s necessary. However, it should be noted that getting a public defender is not necessarily the easy way out. If you get convicted, you may still have to pay costs. This could be up to half of what you would pay a private attorney.
There are additional drawbacks when you don’t hire a private attorney. Keep in mind that there are two aspects to a DUII arrest. You’ll have a criminal case as well as an administrative matter with the Department of Motor Vehicles. The DMV can suspend your driver’s license before your criminal case is concluded. As long as the police arrest you for a DUII, you may lose your ability to drive legally.
You can contest this suspension by requesting a hearing. However, administrative hearings are different from criminal ones and you don’t have the right to a court-appointed lawyer. Your public defender won’t help you with the administrative issues resulting from your DUII. They will only handle criminal matters. If you want legal representation and help in getting a hardship license, you’ll have to hire a Portland DUI lawyer. Otherwise, you’ll be unrepresented, and this will place you at a disadvantage.
Another thing to consider is that public defenders are often overworked. Unlike dedicated DUI lawyers, they may be handling a wide variety of cases. Therefore, they won’t be able to dedicate as much time to getting to know you or educating you about the charges. They may not even be able to meet with you in their office more than once. Many defendants feel they don’t get personalized attention when they go this route.
The Advantages of Hiring a Private DUI Lawyer
While a private attorney can cost you thousands of dollars, you reap the benefits.
They will usually represent you in both your DMV and criminal court procedures. Having the same lawyer work on all aspects of your case can help to ensure a better outcome. For example, you may be able to get your license back after a shorter period. If you can afford to get your own lawyer, this is usually best.
You get to choose who your attorney will be. if you choose one who specializes in intoxicated driving cases, they will have an in-depth understanding of the law. They’ll know all the defenses they can draw on to help you avoid conviction. You may be able to enter a plea bargain or get your charges dismissed.
Working with a private lawyer can also reduce the amount of time you have to spend in court. If you’re busy with work or family duties, your attorney may represent you in routine court appearances. Therefore, you won’t have to leave work or other activities to go to court on every occasion. Another benefit is that you get more office time with your legal counsel. Private lawyers usually have more time to answer clients’ questions and address their concerns.
Contact the Trilogy Law Firm Today if You’ve Been Charged with a DUI
If you’ve been charged with a DUI, don’t just assume that you can’t afford an attorney and settle for a public defender. Set up a consultation with the experienced Portland DUI attorneys at Trilogy Law Firm to get our opinion on your case. While a court-appointed attorney can be very helpful, there are many advantages to hiring a private lawyer. Call us today to set up a meeting.