Close X

Do I need a lawyer for my Fresno DUI?

You may have already made one mistake. Do not make another by not hiring a lawyer do defend you on charges of driving under the influence (DUI).

Why you need a lawyer after a Fresno DUI

The fact is that you need more than just a criminal defense lawyer. What you need is a Fresno DUI lawyer who specializes in the legal defense of DUI's. The legal defense of a DUI is very different from handling any other type of criminal matter. First of all, the elements of a DUI offense are extremely scientific and technical in nature, thus requiring an attorney who is not just merely familiar with Fresno DUI's, but actually specializes in handling them.

However, there are three options for legal representation on charges of DUI in court:

  • use the public defender, only if you qualify,
  • represent yourself, or
  • hire a private attorney.

The Public Defender in California

Many people have expressed criticism of public defenders. although there are some very competent and talented attorneys in the public defender's office. There are people who view public defenders simply as county employees that “herd people through the system” and “don't really care.” This perception can be largely inaccurate, but may, to the untrained eye, appear to be the case. Most of the public defenders are decent young lawyers, who know the judges, the prosecutors and court system where they represent clients.

The serious disadvantages to having public defender represent in a case as specialized as a DUI are numerous.

  • First, there are numerous tests that you have to meet in order to financially qualify for their representation. Attorneys in the public defender's office are reserved for “indigent” clients. You will be required to disclose your most intimate financial information in open court so that the judge may determine whether or not you qualify for an attorney from the public defender's office.
  • Second, most of the public defenders assigned to DUI cases are considered to be novices in this specialized area of law and do not have the knowledge or experience necessary in order to successfully defend your DUI case.
  • Third, once a public defender is assigned to represent you it is nearly impossible to select a different attorney if you don't get along with your first public defender. If the public defender assigned to your case is a recent law school graduate, you won't be able to change attorneys.
  • Fourth, the public defender will not handle be allowed to assist you with the portion of your case regarding the California Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV). You need to realize that fighting the DMV part of your Fresno DUI case is inextricably tied to fighting the criminal case.
  • Finally, and most importantly, public defenders rarely able to devote the time, energy and resources necessary for preparing your DUI case defense. To be clear, the public defender would like to devote the necessary time and resources to your DUI defense, but the reality is they have way too many clients, cases, responsibilities and pressures. They simply don't have the time. They walk into court each day with perhaps 100 cases on court's calendar that day. How much time can they devote to yours?

Self-Representation after a DUI in California

It is never a good idea to for you to respond to a criminal charge, DUI or otherwise, without a good, experienced lawyer, especially in such a specialized and technical area of law as a DUI.

A good Fresno DUI lawyer has the ability to:

  • discover and develop the favorable issues in your case,
  • assess the value of your DUI case in the particular court and community where it's being heard, and
  • negotiate the deal that will have the least harmful impact on your particular life situation.

No matter how bright a person is, or how much reading a person does, a lay person accused of DUI is never going to be able to do this as effectively as a skilled and competent DUI specialist.

California DUI Lawyers in Private Practice

Private attorneys who specialize in California DUI defense are your best option. They are aware of the latest changes to DUI laws, potential strategies and possible defenses. The issues involved in the defense of a DUI are scientific in nature and very technical. Thus, a substantial amount of time and effort is required just to remain current with changes to laws and strategies. A good, DUI lawyer in private practice will spend the necessary time and effort to do so. Please remember that a Fresno DUI charge has two completely different components: the court hearings and trials and the DMV hearings regarding your driver's license. Each component requires a different type of expertise that can only be provided by an experienced DUI lawyer.

You will find that the fees charged by lawyers in the Central Valley can range anywhere from $500 to $7,500 for misdemeanor, first-time DUI. There is an old saying, "you get what you pay for." It may be difficult for you to locate a DUI lawyer at the low end of the fee spectrum in Fresno or the surrounding areas who has the knowledge, experience and commitment to make a real difference in your case. Unlike the sales you find in stores and on the internet, there are no bargains to be had. BEWARE, the attorney's who charge discounted fees will simply show up to court and urge to to take a plea without cultivating the sort of defense strategies that have the potential to alter the outcome of your case. In short, a good private attorney, who devotes his practice to Fresno DUI's, is definitely your best option.

Contact an Attorney

If you are facing charges related to a first offense DUI, do not think that your only choice is to plead guilty. Take a moment to contact Terry A. Wapner and schedule a consultation in order to discuss the facts of your case and be advised of your options.

What Happens Now?

Roadside arrest

It’s a frightening situation. You are arrested for DUI after submitting to a breathalyzer and participating in a couple of field sobriety tests. The officer confiscated your driver’s license and provided you with a temporary license. You were given a notice to appear in court in a few weeks. Now what? Fresno DUI attorney, Terry A. Wapner, can help you make sense of this situation, guide you through the process, and might be able to provide the defense that results in finding you Not Guilty!

Myths & Truths About DUI Charges


Myth: “There is nothing that a Fresno DUI defense lawyer can do.” Truth: Absolutely not true. Over the past 7-10 years, the conviction rate in California for DUI's is only around 70 percent. That means that 30 percent of the charges are being reduced to charges that are less than a DUI charge or not guilty verdicts are being returned. I have the ability and have won Fresno DUI cases. Do not give in to despair and believe that you are destined to lose. Entering a guilty plea to a DUI charge when the evidence against you can be challenged may result in an expensive mistake that could haunt you in the long run.