At the beginning of 2022, the law regarding DUI diversion changed. DUIs are no longer eligible for diversion in California. Please contact our office with any questions. Email us at OR Call us at: (415) 523-7878

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Why Hire A Private Attorney Instead of A Public Defender?

One of the big differences between a private attorney and a public defender is time. A private attorney would be able to give a client a lot more time than most public defenders because most of them would have hundreds of cases, whereas a private attorney would not have such a large case load.

A private attorney like myself would only take on a certain number of clients. If I was unable to call clients back quickly enough, I would stop taking cases until my time freed up, which would be one of the ways I gauge it. Public defenders may spend 20 to 30 minutes talking to the person about their case during the many months they might be defending the person, although that would just depends on how busy they were.

Public defenders also handle all kinds of criminal cases whereas someone like myself who just handled DUI defense and nothing else, may understand DUIs and defenses better than a lot of public defenders who would generally be very young, just out of law school and would not have a lot of experience.

Would The Person Have The Same Public Defender Throughout Their Case?

There are some fantastic public defenders, so the person would be very fortunate to get the right one, although the public defender they have may not be the one who tries their case down the road. Public defenders get moved around or they may not be around for the case, so someone who hires a private attorney would have that same private attorney every time they went to court, especially someone like me who did everything himself instead of handing it off to other associates.

Would The Public Defender Handle The DMV Case?

One of the major differences is that a public defender would not deal with the DMV, the licensing issues, or the hearing with the DMV. They would only deal with the criminal case in court. Usually by the time the person got to court, it would be more than 10 days past their arrest date and if they did not know anything about requesting an administrative per se hearing within 10 days from the DMV, then it would be too late and they would not be able to get a hearing, so their license would end up being suspended for 30 days after the arrest. The DMV hearing would be something that a private attorney who knew what they were doing could use as an advantage when defending these cases.

Why Would It Be Better To Hire A Private Attorney For The DMV Hearing And The DUI Case?

Sometimes private attorneys can get information and evidence from the DMV hearings that they might not have gotten in court, and that might help them with the court case and vice versa with court to DMV. Someone like myself who was a member of the California DUI Lawyers Association and the National College for DUI Defense would often have access to lawyers from all over the state and all over the country, which is why I have access to basically the best lawyers in the world.

If someone was from another state and had an out of state conviction, I would be able to find out about that very easily and very quickly by contacting those people directly. They know who I am and they would be likely to talk to me versus a public defender who was not a member of these organizations and I would do the same for them.

It would also depend on the type of attorney the person got as well. Someone who got an experienced attorney who was a member of organizations who just handled DUI work would be at a big advantage. Some counties do not even have public defenders, and they are called private defenders. This happens all the time in San Mateo County, and the person would not even meet their actual attorney until they went to court the second time. They would just be there to help fill out a plea form and plead them guilty, they would have never met them and they would have never talked to them.

For more information on Hiring A Private Attorney Vs. A Public Defender, a free initial consultation is your next best step. Get the information and legal answers you’re seeking by calling (415) 523-7878 today.

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Aaron Bortel
With 30 years of specialized experience in DUI defense, Attorney Aaron Bortel is a dedicated advocate for those facing DUI charges in the Bay Area. Committed to helping clients avoid jail, save their driver’s licenses and jobs, and prevent permanent criminal records, he combines deep legal expertise with genuine care for his client's welfare. Trust in a lawyer who not only defends but truly supports you through challenging times.

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