Smaller case load. Private DUI attorneys choose which cases they work on, so they tend to have much smaller case loads than public defenders. This can potentially mean more time and attention spent on your case.
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Extensive local experience. Most public defenders spend almost every day at the local courthouse. They are familiar with the local rules, the judges, disposition of the juries and may have dealt with hundreds of cases just like yours.
Private DUI Attorney: Cons
Legal help isn't cheap. Although many attorneys offer free consultations, actual representation by a private DUI attorney will cost you. On the plus side, many attorneys have flexible payment options for their fees.
Potentially less courtroom experience. A private DUI attorney may have less on his or her plate; for some, that also means less time spent in court -- the court where you'll be facing DUI charges. That's why you'll want to ask a prospective attorney about his or her courtroom experience, and perhaps even if he or she has argued cases in front of your particular judge.
Public Defender: Cons
You may not get a public defender. In many cases, if you have the ability to pay for a private DUI attorney, that means you are not eligible for a public defender.
Distracted or overworked. Public defenders can have as many as a dozen clients to defend in a single court day. That means your DUI case may not be your public defender's primary focus -- especially if he or she has a huge case coming up later.