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Zoey_ JD
Zoey_ JD, JustAnswer Criminal Law Mentor
Category: Criminal Law
Satisfied Customers: 27485
Experience:  Admitted to NYS Criminal defense bar in 1989. Extensive arraignment, hearing, trial experience.
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I have a second offense dui pending right now. I was told I

Customer Question

I have a second offense dui pending right now. I was told I make too much to get a PD so they told me to get a lawyer which I don't have enough money to put down for right now. I need someone to represent me as soon as possible since my next court date is on the 30th of this month
JA: Since laws vary from place to place, what state is this in? And to clarify, can you tell me what paperwork has been filed?
Customer: Wisconsin, milwaukee
JA: Have you talked to a lawyer yet?
Customer: yes. but he wants me to put down 3000
JA: Anything else you want the lawyer to know before I connect you?
Customer: I only make 13.25 an hour and I work 60 hours Bi-weekly
Submitted: 10 months ago.
Category: Criminal Law
Expert:  Zoey_ JD replied 10 months ago.


I'm Zoey and I'll be assisting you. I'm reviewing your question now. Please be patient while I research and compose a reply for you.

Expert:  Zoey_ JD replied 10 months ago.

It is never a good idea to represent yourself when you are charged with a criminal offense. You'll be held to the same standard as if you were a lawyer. You can't count on the judge or the prosecutor helping you to win your case by teaching you what you should be doing.

Eligibility laws differ from one jurisdiction to another, but typically, you have to be at or below poverty level to qualify for a public defender. If you have a job and assets, you're likely to be ineligible.

If you think you can demonstrate to the judge that you can barely make ends meet as it is and that you would face severe financial hardship if you had to retain a lawyer, you can ask him for an indigency hearing. If he grants you one, you would have to be prepared to show your tax statements, pay stubs, bills and expenses to prove you cannot afford counsel. If you win the hearing you get a public defender.

If you lose the hearing, or expect you will lose it, many lawyers take credit cards. That would give you some way to pay your lawyer but to make small, affordable monthly payments to your card carrier.

The overwhelming number of pro-bono criminal lawyers are public defenders. But all lawyers are supposed to do pro bono work now and again to stay in good standing with their bar. You could call criminal lawyers and explain your circumstances and see if anyone will take your case pro bono.

Finally, if there are law schools in your area, many have criminal justice clinics where law students take on real criminal cases for course credit under the supervision of an attorney. These clinics are free or have a sliding fee scale, and when court is called for, the professor goes to court with the student to make sure the case is handled correctly. Many of these clinics have excellent reputations, and that's an option to look into.

Expert:  Zoey_ JD replied 10 months ago.

Just checking in to see if you need more help or any clarification of my answer. If so, please reply here on this question thread.