Finding a DUI Defense Lawyer
If you or a loved one are arrested for DUI, you may need the assistance of a criminal defense lawyer with experience handling DUI cases. Unlike civil law cases in which money or property may be at stake, people charged with DUI may face jail time and driver's license revocation if arrested or convicted. A skilled attorney who is familiar with the intricacies of DUI cases will evaluate all the evidence to ensure that your rights are protected, including careful scrutiny of the procedure and results of any field sobriety and chemical tests administered in your case.
Choosing a Private Attorney
Many attorneys offer DUI defense. The right attorney for you will be someone with experience with DUI defense, ideally in cases with issues similar to those that you face. An attorney that practices regularly in your jurisdiction also has advantages compared to an out-of-towner. Their knowledge of the judges and prosecutors and their attitudes about different kinds of DUI cases can be very helpful in planning a successful defense. Personal style is another important consideration. You and your defense attorney are a team and good communication in both directions is necessary for the best attorney/client relationships.
Public defense or legal aid may be available for those who cannot afford a private attorney, but when you hire an attorney yourself the greatest benefit is your ability to choose. Unlike free attorneys, which are typically appointed, you can choose the private attorney of your choice. Private attorneys typically have more time available to review the facts of your case. They may offer you the choice of investing in independent investigation of facts, or arrange for experts to testify about technical issues such as alcohol metabolism. These kinds of efforts are typically unavailable in public defense.
If You Cannot Afford a Lawyer
At most steps in the criminal justice process, the United States Constitution guarantees the assistance of an attorney to almost all people who have been charged with a crime. This means that, even if you cannot afford to hire a criminal defense lawyer for yourself or a loved one, the government will provide you with a lawyer free of charge. Usually employed by the government as "public defenders", these attorneys are responsible for zealously protecting a criminal defendant's rights at all stages of the criminal process -- from arrest to appeal.
See FindLaw's directory of Public Defenders by State, The Right to Counsel and Do You Qualify for Free Legal Aid? for more information, including information on situations in which you may be refused free legal assistance.
If you are unsure about whether a public defender is the right option for you consider seeking a consultation, free of charge or obligation, with a qualified local attorney to find out whether private representation is the right option for you.
Get Legal Help with Your DUI Case
A private attorney can be a very good investment. Private counsel will spend more time going over the details of your case and educating you regarding your position and options. Contact a qualified DUI attorney today to discuss your case and defense options.