If you are charged with a DUI, it’s time to think of a defense. While it is possible to defend yourself, in almost all situations, you should consider working with a lawyer. That leaves you with two options, as provided for by the sixth amendment: a court appointed lawyer or a professional DUI lawyer. Are there differences? Absolutely. You can save yourself plenty of time, money, and penalties by choosing the right lawyer. If you have no way of hiring a lawyer, you should definitely consider using a court appointed attorney – it’s much better than defending yourself. If you have the means to hire a lawyer, note the following differences.
If you work with a court appointed attorney, he or she will not be a specialist in DUI law; the lawyer will take on a variety of cases beyond DUI. That means the lawyer has far less knowledge on DUI defenses. The lawyer may not be aware of all laws, effective defenses, and lack the skill needed to help. Since the lawyer will take on a variety of cases, it may cost you valuable time in preparing a case.
Rarely are court appointed attorneys incredibly experienced or successful in DUI law. True, they may have defended some driving under the influence cases, but he or she will have handled a variety of criminal law cases. Where a professional DUI lawyer can have hundreds of drinking and driving cases, including many successful defenses, a court appointed attorney may have a fraction of that experience.
Quite often court appointed attorneys are overworked. They take on a huge load of cases, making it almost impossible to spend a great amount of time on your case. Also, a court attorney may have less resources in preparing your defense. He or she may want to help, but lacks the budget to do so.
If you pay a lawyer for a DUI defense, he or she has more incentive in helping you win. A successful case looks good on his or her record. A court attorney gets no monetary reward from helping you win. He or she may be open to shutting the case quickly. While not common, you may get a court attorney going against your wishes and accepting a plea bargain from the prosecution.
A Successful Defense or a Guilty Plea?
If you have the money to spend on an experienced DUI lawyer, it can lead to much better results. If you go to jail, face fines, and lose your license for years, how much would you value avoiding that? You may lose time off work, pay over $1,000 in fines, and be unable to drive for a year or more. If you have to choose between defending yourself and using a court attorney, go with an attorney. If there is any way you can afford a professional DUI lawyer, it’s more than worth it.