If I received my first DUI and don’t really have money to obtain a lawyer but I want to make sure I get fair representation, how could I obtain one?

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If I received my first DUI and don’t really have money to obtain a lawyer but I want to make sure I get fair representation, how could I obtain one?

Would that be beneficial in my case? According to the documents my speech and balance were fine. Blood shot eyes and suspicion of alcohol were the reasons I did the roadside test which the officer said I did not perform as well as a sober person? I did fine.. did not fall off the line or fail as far as I can tell. I did not drop my foot, etc. He was a jerk and wouldn’t explain anything to me when I asked without my voluntary consent to his conditions. I am a single parent of 3 and need to be able to drive to work etc and not have a ton of costs associated.

Asked on November 26, 2012 under Criminal Law, Colorado

Answers:

FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

Given what you have written about it is recommended that you retain a criminal defense attorney to defend you in the DUI matter that you have written about. Since you cannot afford a private attorney I suggest that you go to your county's public defender's office and submit an application for court appointed legal representation.

B.H.F., Member, Texas State Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

Your cheapest route is to request a court-appointed attorney.  Many public defenders get accused of doing sub-par work, but many actually have a very good working relationship with the prosecutor's offices, and thereby can get them to listen more carefully, than some other attorneys.  You would need to request a court appointed attorney at your first appearance. 

If you just don't feel comfortable with a court appointed attorney, you may still want to request one, and use them to give you information about the procedures and programs in your jurisdiction.  They can help you evaluate any plea offers, the strength of your case, the tendencies of the judge/jury in your area, and alternatives to a guilty plea.   If from there, you still don't feel comfortable, you can end the attorney-client relationship and proceed on your own-- but at least you won't be doing so as blindly.

If you choose to go forward on your own, make sure you spend a great deal of time preparing for trial.  The big issue in most DUI's is a defendant's performance on field sobriety tests.  Many articles are available online about how to properly administer field sobriety tests.  Many officers get very lax in their administration of these tests, thereby impeding the quality of these tests.  As you prepare, compare how the officer conducted your tests to the correct application.  Between his attitude on the video and an improper application of tests, you will have a much better chance of winning at trial.


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