Resources

TOP 5 REASONS

NOT TO RELY ON A PUBLIC DEFENDER

1. Public Defenders Want to Close Cases and Are Part of the “System”

Public Defenders offices throughout the country were created in response to a U.S. Supreme Court decision that people charged with a crime which could lead to being jailed have a right to a lawyer to give the appearance that the Criminal Justice System is ‘fair”. It’s not.

Public Defenders are part of the “system” and paid by the same county that pays the DA’s Office, Law Enforcement Agencies and the Judges. Their job is to process you like a piece of meat at a cattle butchering plant and get your case “disposed” (resolved) by getting you to pleading as quickly as possible.

Because public defenders are constantly overworked and overburdened with cases, generally do not have the resources or time to develop strategies to help their clients attain their best possible outcomes in a case, they usually simply close cases as fast as they can and move on to the next one (and thousands more).

Simply put, the Public Defender’s role is to simply convey (tell you) the DA’s plea bargain offer and “twist your arm” to accept it. If you don’t like it or think it’s unfair, too bad. You will be required to attend every court hearing (unlike those represented by private attorneys who can appear n their behalf without being personally present) until you finally give up and take the offer.

1. Public Defenders Want to Close Cases and Are Part of the “System”

Public Defenders offices throughout the country were created in response to a U.S. Supreme Court decision that people charged with a crime which could lead to being jailed have a right to a lawyer to give the appearance that the Criminal Justice System is ‘fair”. It’s not.

Public Defenders are part of the “system” and paid by the same county that pays the DA’s Office, Law Enforcement Agencies and the Judges. Their job is to process you like a piece of meat at a cattle butchering plant and get your case “disposed” (resolved) by getting you to pleading as quickly as possible.

Because public defenders are constantly overworked and overburdened with cases, generally do not have the resources or time to develop strategies to help their clients attain their best possible outcomes in a case, they usually simply close cases as fast as they can and move on to the next one (and thousands more).

Finally, Public Defender’s role is to simply convey (tell you) the DA’s plea bargain offer and “twist your arm” to accept it. If you don’t like it or think it’s unfair, too bad. You will be required to attend every court hearing (unlike those represented by private attorneys who can appear n their behalf without being personally present) until you finally give up and take the offer.

2. Public Defenders Are Often Inexperienced or Unskilled

It’s just a fact that public defender jobs are often some of the lowest-paying attorney jobs out there as few jurisdictions make paying high compensation for criminal defense a top priority for tax dollars. Without a doubt, many fantastic criminal defense attorneys got their start working in public defenders’ offices but, for the most part, you are often getting attorneys just out of law school with little to no supervision or experience in obtaining the proper results for their clients.

Those who remain with the Public Defender’s office usually are “lifer’s”, who stay on despite being “burned out” by the never ending volume of defendants they have to represent day in and day out, so they can collect a paycheck and retirement benefits for “doing their duty”–to the system, not you.

3. Public Defenders Spend Little Time On Your Case & Are Inaccessible

In almost every courthouse and jurisdiction, public defenders are overworked and often have hundreds of defendants whom they are assigned to defend. This means that a public defender may spend only a matter of minutes on case on the date your case is set for a hearing but do nothing in between court hearings to get a better outcome for you.

Public defenders are extraordinarily hard to reach, don’t respond to telephone calls, emails, etc. They have huge caseloads (40-50 new defendants each and every day on top of cases where their client’s “hold out” for a better “deal”) and are in court every day of the week trying to “process” as many people through the “system” as fast as possible.

4. No Other Choice

Like everything else in the world, you may have the best lawyer or a bad lawyer, and this is often a matter of choice. However, you don’t get to choose your Public Defender.

When you elect to go with a Public Defender, you will typically be stuck with whoever is assigned to your case, from the beginning to the end, or go thru multiple new PD’s “re-assigned to the department your case is in who know next to nothing about your case until they see you in court.

5. Public Defender are Not “Free”

The fines for nearly every criminal charge is set by statute (law). It is a tiny fraction of the fines and penalties you will be expected to pay when you change to plea to guilty. Why? Because “Penalty Assessments” are added to the fine amount to fund the courts, the DA’s Office, the law Enforcement Agency that arrested and the Public Defender’s office “get their cut” too.

Another component that most people who “settle” for a Public Defender forget is that they lose something in the process. Namely their freedom. There are hundreds of thousands of people in jail throughout the country who are innocent and/or were not made aware by their “free” Public defender” that they had legitimate defenses available to them but never knew because their Public Defender didn’t tell them.

Rely on a public defender because it’s “free” and you will regret it for the rest of your life. On the other hand, you get to choose a private attorney based on who you believe will be committed to obtaining the best results possible for your particular situation. Having a choice in who defends you in a criminal matter is critical to the outcome of your case.

Here’s that article (again from the top of this page) about Public Defender’s track record complete with stats showing why you’re in “deep trouble” if you choose to go with a Public Defender because you think it’s “free”. Read the article. Read it all. Then make up your mind. After all, it’s your choice you represents you.

HOW DO I KNOW

WHICH DUI LAWYER TO RETAIN?

This Guide will address how many DUI lawyers/law firms obtained your name and address to send you unsolicited ads after buying your information from “Jail Mail” and how to recognize which ones are potentially scams especially if they mention “Special Appearance” lawyers in their Retainer Agreement.

It isn’t easy to evaluate DUI defense attorney regarding their skill and expertise based strictly on their “Internet presence”.

An interesting article came out a few years ago on the subject of how Drunk Driving DUI attorneys/law firms market their services. *Two Lawyers Walk Into a Bar* originally published in the May 2009 issue of California Lawyer. * 2009 Daily Journal Corporation, San Francisco, California. I suggest you read the article in it’s entirety which can be found here. https://www.dailyjournal.com/articles/308931-two-lawyers-walk-into-a-bar.

Fair Use permitted by 17 U.S. Code * 107.

2. Real DUI “Pros” versus “Low-Ball” DUI Lawyers

As the article cited above states, at one end of the spectrum are the specialists who’ve spent much of their professional lives mastering arcane technical issues such as blood and breath partition ratios, microbial contamination in urinalysis, and the perils of retrograde extrapolation in roadside chemical tests.

At the other end of the spectrum are cut-rate practitioners with no particular expertise, who charge as little as $1,000 per case. These include “dump truck” lawyers, who sign up as many clients as possible and then dump them all on the guilty-plea docket; and “escort” lawyers, who escort clients up to the judge like a high-paid call girl, plead them guilty, and then disappear with the money. These DUI mills typically offer a low- ball rate to clients, and they tend to give commensurate service.

Some attorneys troll for DUI clients by buying up Google keywords such as “cheap dui lawyer” so that their ad will appear prominently in search results when potential clients cruise the Internet.”

3. “Jail Mail”

Another marketing approach is to send out what*s known as “jail mail.” Third-party services such as United Reporting Publishing Corporation (jailmail.com) provide attorneys with local arrest reports listing the names of people picked up on DUI charges (as well as other types of arrests that lawyers buy for as little as $50 a name). Attorneys then send the accused unsolicited ads, brochures, letters, etc. offering their services.

“I tell my clients if they don*t want their wives or husbands to know about their DUI arrest, they should keep an eye on the mail,” says Paul Burglin a San Francisco DUI defense specialist, “because they*re going to get a dozen solicitations from lawyers after they get arrested.”

It’s even worse than portrayed in the article which was written 9 years ago. Instead of receiving only a dozen different unsolicited ads, brochures, letters, etc. in your mail, nowadays there are 30 or more lawyers and/or law firms competing for your business by subscribing to “Jail Mail” after buying your personal information.

4. “Celebrity” Lawyers/Law Firms

Many DUI Lawyers/law firms rely heavily on emphasizing their “celebrity” status having appeared on TV during the OJ Simpson, Paris Hilton, Lindsay Lohan cases (to name a few).

Criminal defense lawyers (particularly in LA) were literally falling all over them selves to get “face time” on TV affiliates like ABC, NBC, CBS as well as Cable News as “expert commentators”. They tout themselves as “experts” even though they never handled a murder case (OJ), petty theft, etc. and, more importantly, what does that have to do with their ability and proficiency in handling DUI’s? The answer: ABSOLUTELY NOTHING. They’re banking on and indeed preying on people who don’t understand the difference between being on TV and having the expertise to handle a DUI case the way it should be properly done.

5. “Teaser Rates” and How Much They Actually Charge

Some DUI lawyers/law firms offer “teaser” rates offering to handle your case for as little as a few hundred dollars but you end up paying well over $1,000 to $2,000 or more. Just for ONE HEARING.

Or that they will tell you they will represent you for a “tiny fraction” of what they usually charge including “discount coupons” offering 1/2 or more off. Yet, you still end up paying thousands of dollars even with those so-called *discounts* applied! When you add it up, their rates are actually $3,000 or more. Again, for 1 single hearing!

Bottom line: No respectable DUI lawyer/law firm charge these kind of exorbitant rates on DUI cases…unless you are a celebrity and can afford the best REAL DUI LAWYER that money can buy.

6. “Free consultation” and how much do they charge?

Many of these DUI lawyers/law firms claim you won’t be charged for an initial consultation. Yet, their paralegals, office managers or other staff take your credit or debit card information at the outset of your call and still bill you even if you decide not to retain them.

In most instances, you won’t even talk with a real attorney about the facts of your case let alone the head partner of that firm (the attorney you are being led into believing will be personally handling your case). The “celebrity” attorney you think you’re hiring charges anywhere between $900-$1,500 per hour (you read that right) and his or her junior associate (usually with only 1-3 years of experienced) is billed at $400 per hour or more.

7. “Special Appearance” Attorneys

The lawyers/law firms who use Jail Mail, teaser rates or discounts “farm out’* the actual handling of your case to “Special Appearance” attorneys who often have little to no actual experience handling Drunk Driving DUI cases (or other criminal cases for that matter) to appear on your behalf. They are a paid a flat rate (usually ranging between $50-$150) and have every incentive to get your case over with as quickly as possible and, indeed, are given instructions to do just that by the so-called “Drunk Driving/DUI specialist” you hired to represent you.

8. Ask to see the DUI lawyer’s Retainer Agreement

Ask one or more of those “celebrity” law firms/attorneys for a copy of their Retainer or Legal Services Agreement BEFORE you sign on the dotted line. You’ll see for yourself the exorbitant hourly rates they charge and that they use *Special Appearance* attorneys so you’re not getting who or what you think you*re paying for.

9. Hire a Reputable DUI Lawyer

To recap, if you see “Special Appearance” or the words that the law firm “Reserves the right to split fees with another attorney” (which means the same thing), RUN and don’t look back. Instead, retain a reputable lawyer/law firm that handles DUI cases in-house with a proven track record of success.

This Guide will address how many DUI lawyers/law firms obtained your name and address to send you unsolicited ads after buying your information from “Jail Mail” and how to recognize which ones are potentially scams especially if they mention “Special Appearance” lawyers in their Retainer Agreement.

 

It isn*t easy to evaluate DUI defense attorney regarding their skill and expertise based strictly on their *Internet presence*. An interesting article came out a few years ago on the subject of how Drunk Driving DUI attorneys/law firms market their services. *Two Lawyers Walk Into a Bar* originally published in the May 2009 issue of California Lawyer. * 2009 Daily Journal Corporation, San Francisco, California. I suggest you read the article in it’s entirety which can be found here. https://www.dailyjournal.com/articles/308931-two-lawyers-walk-into-a-bar.

Fair Use permitted by 17 U.S. Code * 107.

 

2. Real DUI “Pros” versus “Low-Ball” DUI Lawyers

As the article cited above states, *At one end of the spectrum are the specialists who*ve spent much of their professional lives mastering arcane technical issues such as blood and breath partition ratios, microbial contamination in urinalysis, and the perils of retrograde extrapolation in roadside chemical tests.

At the other end of the spectrum are cut-rate practitioners with no particular expertise, who charge as little as $1,000 per case. These include *dump truck* lawyers, who sign up as many clients as possible and then dump them all on the guilty-plea docket; and *escort* lawyers, who escort clients up to the judge like a high-paid call girl, plead them guilty, and then disappear with the money. These DUI mills typically offer a low- ball rate to clients, and they tend to give commensurate service.

Some attorneys troll for DUI clients by buying up Google keywords such as *cheap dui lawyer* so that their ad will appear prominently in search results when potential clients cruise the Internet.”

 

3. “Jail Mail”

Another marketing approach is to send out what*s known as *jail mail.* Third-party services such as United Reporting Publishing Corporation (jailmail.com) provide attorneys with local arrest reports listing the names of people picked up on DUI charges (as well as other types of arrests that lawyers buy for as little as $50 a name). Attorney then send the accused unsolicited ads, brochures, letters, etc. offering their services.

*I tell my clients if they don*t want their wives or husbands to know about their DUI arrest, they should keep an eye on the mail,* says Paul Burglin a San Francisco DUI defense specialist, *because they*re going to get a dozen solicitations from lawyers after they get arrested.*

It*s even worse than portrayed in the article which was written 9 years ago. Instead of receiving only a dozen different unsolicited ads, brochures, letters, etc. in your mail, nowadays there are 30 or more lawyers and/or law firms competing for your business by subscribing to *Jail Mail* after buying your personal information.

 

4. “Celebrity” Lawyers/Law Firms

Many DUI Lawyers/law firms rely heavily on emphasizing their “celebrity” status having appeared on TV during the OJ Simpson, Paris Hilton, Lindsay Lohan cases (to name a few). Criminal defense lawyers (particularly in LA) were literally falling all over them selves to get “face time” on TV affiliates like ABC, NBC, CBS as well as Cable News as “expert commentators”. They tout themselves as “experts” even though they never handled a murder case (OJ), petty theft, etc. and, more importantly, what does that have to do with their ability and proficiency in handling DUI’s? The answer: ABSOLUTELY NOTHING. They’re banking on and indeed preying on people who don’t understand the difference between being on TV and having the expertise to handle a DUI case the way it should be properly done.

 

5. “Teaser Rates” and How Much They Actually Charge

Some DUI lawyers/law firms offer *teaser* rates offering to handle your case for as little as a few hundred dollars but you end up paying well over $1,000 to $2,000 or more. Just for ONE HEARING.

Or that they will tell you they will represent you for a *tiny fraction* of what they usually charge including *discount coupons* offering 1/2 or more off. Yet, you still end up paying thousands of dollars even with those so-called *discounts* applied! When you add it up, their rates are actually $3,000 or more. Again, for 1 single hearing!

Bottom line: No respectable DUI lawyer/law firm charge these kind of exorbitant rates on DUI cases…unless you are a celebrity and can afford the best REAL DUI LAWYER that money can buy.

6. “Free consultation” and how much do they charge?

Many of these DUI lawyers/law firms claim you won*t be charged for an initial consultation. Yet, their paralegals, office managers or other staff take your credit or debit card information at the outset of your call and still bill you even if you decide not to retain them.

In most instances, you won*t even talk with a real attorney about the facts of your case let alone the head partner of that firm (the attorney you are being led into believing will be personally handling your case). The *celebrity* attorney you think you*re hiring charges anywhere between $900-$1,500 per hour (you read that right) and his or her junior associate (usually with only 1-3 years of experienced) is billed at $400 per hour or more.

 

7. “Special Appearance” Attorneys

The lawyers/law firms who use Jail Mail, teaser rates or discounts *farm out* the actual handling of your case to *Special Appearance* attorneys who often have little to no actual experience handling Drunk Driving DUI cases (or other criminal cases for that matter) to appear on your behalf. They are a paid a flat rate (usually ranging between $50-$150) and have every incentive to get your case over with as quickly as possible and, indeed, are given written instructions to do just that by the so-called *Drunk Driving/DUI specialist* you hired to represent you.

 

8. Ask to see the DUI lawyer’s Retainer Agreement

Ask one or more of those *celebrity* law firms/attorneys for a copy of their Retainer or Legal Services Agreement BEFORE you *sign on the dotted line*. You*ll see for yourself the exorbitant hourly rates they charge and that they use *Special Appearance* attorneys so you*re not getting who or what you think you*re paying for.

 

9. Hire a Reputable DUI Lawyer

To recap, if you see “Special Appearance” or the words that the law firm “Reserves the right to split fees with another attorney” (which means the same thing), RUN and don’t look back. Instead, retain a reputable lawyer/law firm that handles DUI cases in-house with a proven track record of success.

VIDEOS

 

Watch for more videos from Mr. Karas on legal topics coming soon

Questions? Need to Schedule a Consultation?

Get in Touch