The Reality of Using a Public Defender for Your DWI Case
When writing this blog, I want to provide you with the truth. Just because I worked for a public defender doesn’t mean I always felt that they were the best option. I think public defenders are necessary, but of course, people don’t use public defenders unless they have no other choice. If someone gets in trouble with the law and they can afford to pay for a private lawyer, they usually will do so.
DWI and DUI cases are some of the most common cases that get brought to public defender offices. Back when I worked in the state of Texas as a paralegal where drunk driving is stricter than ever, I saw thousands of cases come through.
The reality of using a public defender for a DWI case is that you’ll probably end up with a harsher sentence. I don’t say this because my boss wasn’t good at his job, but public defenders simply don’t have the time or resources to take on these cases.
I watched a Tarrant County DWI lawyer get drunk driving charges reduced and dismissed year after year. Oftentimes, these individuals had clear evidence against them and still, this lawyer was able to convince the judge and jury that they deserved a second chance.
You know why? Because a private lawyer is given time and money to focus on their clients. They’re given the time to build a relationship with their clients and develop a strong defense. Unfortunately, public defenders don’t have that luxury.
What You Can Do
Before hiring a public defender to represent you for a DWI charge, it may be a good idea to assess your circumstances and decide how important your case is. Some public defenders are overworked and understaffed and they may not have the time or capability to fight your charge successfully in a trial.
If you plan on pleading guilty and making a deal, a public defender will be a good option; however, if you know your case will require a rigorous trial, finding a private lawyer may be worth the money. Even if you don’t have the money right away, borrowing it could be worth staying out of jail.
It’s up to you to decide how important your freedom is. While a private attorney isn’t guaranteed to win your case, they’ll give you more personalized attention.
The truth is, I worked for public defenders around the country for many years and though they mean well, the government overloads them with work and underpays them. There’s only so much a public defender can do for their clients without government help.