Can I get a Public Defender for my Los Angeles DUI Case?
If you have been charged with driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol in Los Angeles, you are well within your rights to have a public defender assigned to your case. Initially, you will need to attend a court hearing. This appearance is not optional and is referred to as an arraignment. If you do not already have a personal attorney that you have retained, you will attend this initial hearing on your own. It is at that time that you will be appraised of your rights once again. One of those rights is the right have an attorney represent you. If you are not able to afford such an attorney, the government will appoint a public defender to take your case.
What is a Public Defender?
Essentially, a public defender is a licensed and professional criminal defense lawyer. This individual is there to provide you with representation in court when your criminal case is heard. Many people think that a public defender is free of charge. This is not actually the case. While such a lawyer is paid by the jurisdiction that your case is being tried, you will be expected to pay something for his or her services depending on a sliding scale. The fee is essentially based on your current income. While many public defenders are quite proficient at what they do, there are some notable disadvantages to having one represent you in your DUI case in Los Angeles.
Little to no Time for Preparation
Many public defenders have way too many cases to be able to provide an adequate defense in each and every one. In fact, you will typically only meet with the public defender assigned to your case right before you actually see the judge. That’s right – You will meet your public defender only on the day of your actual hearing. As most public defenders have many such cases to be heard before the judge on any given day, they simply do not have the luxury to sit in their office and focus on yours. They will not be able to meet with you ahead of time, nor will they likely have the capacity to focus on the particular issues involved in your case.
By comparison, when you hire a DUI lawyer in Los Angeles, you will have the luxury of meeting with the attorney prior to your case. They will actually know everything about your case before they ever meet the judge, and they will be ready with your defense from that first hearing. You will be able to then meet with them as often as necessary after that initial hearing until your case is brought to a successful and, hopefully, positive resolution. Your Los Angeles DUI lawyer will focus on your case, review all of the evidence, find holds in the case, and negotiate the charges with the prosecution. This includes trying to reduce your sentence if at all possible.
Too Many Cases
As mentioned, public defenders are employees of the government. As such, they are limited in supply, overworked, and have an extremely large caseload in comparison to private criminal defense attorneys. They will typically be in front of a judge for large portions of every day, so they do not even have time to go over each individual file. As such, your meeting with your public defender will often take place right in the courtroom. It is noisy, there is little to no privacy, and your public defender can easily become distracted. It is difficult for you to find out what is going on, and you will have difficulty getting answers out of anyone. When it comes time to negotiate any type of plea deal, you will not have a true advocate in your corner that you can sit with and discuss all of the options.
With our firm, you will get a Los Angeles DUI criminal defense attorney with decades of experience. Will discuss all of the options available to you and get you the best possible deal in the end. You should contact us for a consultation in order to discuss your particular case and see how we can help you moving forward.