A court appointed attorney (aka public defender) is paid by the government and can represent criminal defendants facing jail time. If you cannot afford a lawyer for a DUI case, the court will appoint and pay for one. Unfortunately, you don't get to choose the lawyer you get.
To do this, you must ask the court for a court appointed lawyer and also provide information about your financial situation as evidence that you can't afford a private defense attorney.
Can Everyone Get a Court Appointed Attorney?
Yes, if you qualify. Public defenders are appointed by the court for defendants who can’t afford private counsel. Usually, if you have not bonded out of jail, the court will automatically appoint a public defender for you at your first court date, also known as your arraignment.
Public Defender vs. Private Attorney for DUIs
Public defenders went to law school and passed the Illinois State Bar Exam, just like private attorneys. Public defenders are governmental employees, so typically make less income than private lawyers, but also, they have more cases to handle. Typically, because of the case load, they may have limited time to speak with you individually as a private attorney may have. Public defenders also can only represent you in your criminal case. They cannot help with related civil or administrative matters like a driver license suspension. Lastly, since the attorney was chosen for you, it may be difficult to get a new public defender if you are unhappy.
On the other hand, private lawyers like Anisa Jordan of The Jordan Law Firm can spend more time with their clients. They can get to know your case in detail and give you the individual attention you deserve. A private lawyer has more time to find weaknesses in the prosecution’s case that may help get the case dismissed or the charges reduced. Private lawyers can be reached much more easily; whereas public defenders can be difficult to get a hold of. Of course, you also can choose your private attorney, and change to another if you are unhappy. They want your business, so they tend to be more serious about serving you and your case.
If you find yourself charged with a DUI please contact Attorney Anisa Jordan of the The Jordan Law Firm today for a free consultation. We are ready to help!