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Zoey_ JD
Zoey_ JD, JustAnswer Criminal Law Mentor
Category: Criminal Law
Satisfied Customers: 23200
Experience:  Admitted to NYS Criminal defense bar in 1989. Extensive arraignment, hearing, trial experience.
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My daughter got a DWI last monday, the 26th, she is 20 yrs

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My daughter got a DWI last monday, the 26th, she is 20 yrs old, she blew a .08, she was also speeding approx 10 mile over posted limit, what is the first step i need to take with her. her court date is 10-12
Hello Jacustomer,

If she were an adult who blew a .08, she'd stand a chance of getting her DWI bargained down to something else. There's a margin of error with breathalyzer results. However, unfortunately, she is underaged, so she doesn't have to be drunk to get charged with this.

What you want is for this matter not to appear on her record. I don't know what state you are in, but most of them have diversion-type programs for underaged drinkers so that once they complete the special requirements of their probation -- usually anti-drinking classes, fines, community service, and supervision, they get their charges dismissed so that this won't stand in the way of them losing out on career and education options.

If she cannot afford one, she should go into court and plead not guilty to the charges and ask for a public defender.
Customer: replied 5 years ago.
I am in albuquerque nm, there are serious consequences for dwi offenders, this is her 1st, would a public defender be assigned to her at the time of her court date, or can i initiate this by going to their office and applying for a public defender, we cannot afford much, like most we are living sparaingly

Yes, New Mexico appears to have pretty tough laws for DWI.

Had she been arrested, jailed and put through the system, there would likely have been a public defender assigned to her for her arraignment. But there will be nobody waiting for her when she walks in on her court date.

You can't walk into the public defender's office off the street and ask to be assigned a lawyer. They don't work that way. Public defenders must be appointed by the judge. So she's going to want to go to court on her court date, plead not guilty to the charges and then tell the judge she cannot afford representation and needs a public defender appointed. If he believes that paying for a lawyer would cause too much of a financial hardship on her, he will just adjourn the case and appoint the attorney, who would be there on the next date.

Although you cannot get a public defender if the judge won't appoint one, you can still call them anyway and get an idea of what the financial requirements are to be eligible for one. That way, if it appears that she will be required to pay for a lawyer, you can at least start looking for one. Financial eligibility varies from jurisdiction to jurisdiction.
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