My son was arrested for OWI and we are wondering if we need an attorney vs a public defender. He is a student and is basically broke so we need to spend our money wisely. Help!!
State/Country relating to question: Iowa
Have started a conversation with an attorney but would like your opinion.
Thank you for the opportunity to answer your question. I am sending this answer to you only a few minutes after you submitted your question.Public defenders are real attorneys. They attend the same law schools, take the same bar exams, and are members of the same state bar as private attorneys. The biggest difference in public defenders and private attorneys: time. Public defenders are under-compensated for their work and they have far more clients to represent than do private attorneys. For that reason, retaining a private attorney is generally better, as a private attorney will have more time to dedicate to your son's case. However, public defenders can provide high-quality representation as well and, the quality will depend on the public defender himself and the particular public defender's case load.T-USA41040.8702832986
The issue is that he was arrested and he was over the limit so if it's pretty much cut and dried why would you hire an attorney vs the public defender. This is what we are struggling with. If you get the same results with an attorney as you would with a public defender than you've just wasted a lot more money. What is your advice? My son blew a .122, there were no accidents, no one was hurt, he passed all the field test. He has juvenile diabetes which can affect his blood sugars and how he acts. He cooperated and had no problems during the arrest. Thoughts?
DUI is not cut and dried. It's a common assumption that there's such a thing as a cut and dried legal matter, but legal matters are anything but. They are not black and white. They are gray. I cannot guarantee that your son will have a better outcome with a private attorney. In all honesty, any legal defense is uncertain and, in that, it's an investment that may or may not pay off. However, the private attorney will likely have more time than will a public defender and the private attorney can dedicate that extra time to your son's defense. DUI is highly complex and scientific, so things like diabetes, machine calibration, the reason for the stop, etc. can all be relevant in a DUI defense. It may be possible for his attorney to defeat the charge. It may be possible for his attorney to negotiate a favorable deal with the prosecution (perhaps a plea to a lesser charge). On the other hand, he might not come out much, if any, better. However, for what it's worth, if I was charged with DUI, I'd hire a private DUI defense attorney (attorneys generally avoid representing themselves for a variety of reasons). If I couldn't afford that, I'd request a public defender. Again, many public defenders are good. They simply have too many clients to provide the same level of representation (in most instances). For that reason, my first choice would be private counsel.T-USA41040.8812303241
DISCLAIMER: Answers from Experts on JustAnswer are not substitutes for the advice of an attorney. JustAnswer is a public forum and questions and responses are not private or confidential or protected by the attorney-client privilege. The Expert above is not your attorney, and the response above is not legal advice. You should not read this response to propose specific action or address specific circumstances, but only to give you a sense of general principles of law that might affect the situation you describe. Application of these general principles to particular circumstances must be done by a lawyer who has spoken with you in confidence, learned all relevant information, and explored various options. Before acting on these general principles, you should hire a lawyer licensed to practice law in the jurisdiction to which your question pertains.
The responses above are from individual Experts, not JustAnswer. The site and services are provided “as is”. To view the verified credential of an Expert, click on the “Verified” symbol in the Expert’s profile. This site is not for emergency questions which should be directed immediately by telephone or in-person to qualified professionals. Please carefully read the Terms of Service (last updated February 8, 2012).