According to the most recent federal data, 90 people died each day in motor vehicle crashes in 2014, and 6,400 people were injured. Because of statistics like this, judges, juries, prosecutors, and the media often "throw the book" at DUII suspects. As a result, conviction for drunk driving can lead to expensive fines, jail time, lost careers, and a ruined reputation. In the last post, we discussed some of the risks you take when you choose to go without a private DUII attorney.
If you are wondering why people choose to hire a criminal defense attorney rather than relying on a public defender, here are some more risks of choosing a public defender:
- Hidden Fees:
Many people aren't aware of this, but public defenders don't always come free. Many states have started charging defendants who meet certain income requirements for working with public defenders. Even if you are working with a public defender at no cost, there are some aspects of a DUII case they won't be able to assist you with unless they charge you. For instance, settling issues such as driver's license revocation and getting your car out of the police impound will often cost you.
- Much Heavier Caseload:
Since public defenders are often utilized by those with low incomes, they often deal with a significant number of cases at any given time. This means that they simply won't have as much time as a private attorney. In some states, public defender caseloads have gotten so extreme that they have been found to violate defendants' constitutional right to legal representation and a fair trial.
- Fewer Resources:
Public defenders aren't like private law firms with multiple DUII lawyers. Why put the fate of your case into the hands of one single person when you can choose a criminal law firm with multiple attorneys who can seek advice and opinions from the rest of their team? The more lawyers you have to give their input, the better prepared you will be in court. Not only that, but private lawyers often have additional resources on hand such as experienced investigators and expert witnesses.
- Less Accessible:
Public defenders tend to be so busy that they aren't nearly as available to meet in person as private DUI lawyers, who will often prioritize one-on-one time with their clients. If you only see your public defender once to explain your case and once more in court, then you may be confused and overwhelmed.
Ultimately, this could be one of the most important decisions you make in your entire life. Whether you choose to work with a public defender or hire a private DUII attorney, this decision should not be made lightly.