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Law Firm of Aaron Bortel

Public Defender vs. Private Attorney


Public Defender vs. Private Attorney vs. Defending Yourself – What’s Good or Bad About All 3 Options?

Interviewer: Surely some people think they are guilty and think that they may as well represent themselves or obtain a public defender. What are the pros and cons about those two options?

Aaron: Well, it depends on which county you’re in. Some counties have very good public defenders offices. Most people probably have a job and they probably will not qualify for a public defender.

Interviewer: What do you say to people that call you and say, “I’m guilty. I’m just going to plead and give up. I did it. I drank and I drove and that was wrong and I just want to get this over with.” What do you say to people that say that?

Aaron: Well, what I’m going to tell people is that your plea is your own choice, but in a DUI case it’s not a very good choice and most likely, when they go into court, most judges will tell them to go get an attorney and there’s a reason for that. Because the penalty you may get if you go plead guilty may be much more severe than if you have an attorney who can fight for you and try and get charges dismissed or reduced.

A lot of times things go wrong that you don’t realize. The police make mistakes. There can be problems with blood tests, there can be issues with breath tests and you should, in every DUI case have an excellent, qualified DUI lawyer look at every piece of evidence and examine it.

The results of this DUI case will affect you for the rest of your life. You’re looking at problems you can have with obtaining jobs in the future. You could have credit issues. You’re looking a license issues. You’re looking at car insurance, which can cost many thousands of dollars over the next many years. You may not be able to qualify for jobs because it’s so competitive and these days, people with DUIs are having a lot of trouble getting jobs.

A DUI Conviction Can Limit Your Travel to Canda

Also there are issues with travel. Right now, you cannot go to Canada if you have a DUI or an alcohol related reckless driving on your record from the DMV or from the court. So I would say, to everybody, you should retain a good DUI lawyer. And at least let them examine the case. It may turn out that you do end up pleading guilty to a DUI. But you’re not going to know unless you try.

Pleading Guilty to DUI and Hoping for the Best Outcome: Is That a Good Plan?

Interviewer: Are people able to “throw themselves on the mercy of the court?” Is there any mercy from the court in regards to driving under the influence charges?

Aaron: I have a quite a few clients who say, “Hey, I don’t think anyone cares if I lose my license. I can’t support my family, I’ll lose my house and it doesn’t help the economy.” A DUI is a very highly politicized crime these days, along with crimes like domestic violence and gun cases. You do not want to put yourself in a position where you are just going into court and saying, “I’m guilty. Give me a break because of this or that or I’ve never been in trouble before, I have a perfect driving record.”

Do DUI Charges Affect Everyone Equally?

At least half my clients have never been in trouble before also have a perfect driving record. No tickets in 15, 20 years. Yes. DUIs happen to everybody. Not just people who have gotten in trouble before. And one of the most gratifying aspects about defending DUIs is, I’m helping people who, for the first time ever, or in many years have gotten in trouble and they are entitled to the best defense that they can get.

By Aaron Bortel

Aaron Bortel

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