If you have been arrested and charged with driving under the influence (DUI), you may already realize that you need help with your case. DUI situations are both very serious and complex. The seriousness comes down to how a conviction could affect your life. As far as the complexity goes, however, it's all about the evidence that is needed to make the charges stick. This is no time to go without legal help. To find out what your options are in regard to a criminal defense lawyer, read on.

The Arraignment and Making a Choice

Among other things, being brought before the judge at your first appearance (the arraignment) will mean being asked about legal representation. You may already have a lawyer at this time but many do not. If your income is below a certain level, you may qualify for the services of a public defender. You usually have to fill out some forms in which you state under oath that you cannot afford a private attorney if you want to use the public defender's services. Many people, at least at the time of the arraignment, plan to speak to a private attorney after they are released from jail on bail.

Considering a Public Defender?

While the idea of using a public defender might sound tempting, it may not work out as well as you hoped. Public defenders come in several flavors. Some are employed directly by the state and some are private lawyers who perform some work with the public defender's office on a part-time basis. The best thing about a public defender is the cost, which may be low or even free. However, the drawbacks are considerable. In most cases, public defenders carry a heavy caseload and have little time to devote to each client. Also, public defenders practice all sorts of law, from theft cases to domestic violence. DUI cases are only part of what public defenders handle on a daily basis. If you are unfortunate enough to use a public defender involved in a big case, you may have a difficult time getting any attention. You may also be shifted around to various other public defenders who may be unfamiliar with your case.

Consider a Private Attorney

In most cases, private lawyers only take on cases that they have time to deal with. Many lawyers, in fact, focus their practice area on DUI cases. You need someone that places your needs first and that has time to investigate the circumstances of your stop, field sobriety testing, and arrest with a fine-tooth comb. Too much is riding on your sentencing and future to depend on anything but a dedicated professional who understands DUI laws and how to get your charges reduced or even dropped. Speak to a private lawyer about your DUI case today.