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Getting Help From A Public Defender In A DWI Case

Can Someone Choose To Go With A Public Defender In New Jersey For DWI?

There is a public defender who is assigned to each municipal court. A defendant in New Jersey has the right to a public defender when charged with any offense that has consequences of magnitude. Consequences of magnitude is the legal term used to define when a defendant is entitled to get an attorney for a particular charge. The DWI charge is one of the most severe charges that can be issued against someone in the municipal court in New Jersey. In order to get a public defender, the defendant has to fill out an application and pay an application fee which can be up to $200.

What Other Fees Are Involved Other Than The Application Fee?

Other than the $200 application fee, there is no other fee that a person has to pay for the services of a public defender. There is an indigent guideline that the judge uses to determine if the person qualifies for the public defender’s services.

Do Public Defenders With High Case Loads Tend To Give Much Personal Attention To Clients? Are They Good Attorneys?

Generally, the public defenders assigned to a New Jersey municipal court are familiar with the types of cases that are heard in municipal courts. They should have the requisite knowledge to defend someone charged with a DWI. However, they often have private practices in addition to the public defender job that they are paid to do. They get a modest salary for their work as a public defender. Depending on the court where they’re doing their work, their case loads can be extremely high. Often times, clients won’t hear from a public defender until they get into court and have to address the charges that day. Some public defenders do take their job seriously, while others do not. It’s not unheard of for a defendant to not receive discovery before coming to court. If that’s the situation for a defendant, he or she is not going to know what the allegations are and what evidence is going to be used in the prosecution. That person is going to have a very difficult time assisting his public defender in putting on a proper defense.

How Much Assistance Is Needed By Clients To Help Defend A Case? Can Their Assistance Lead To Better Results?

In a New Jersey DWI case, a client’s assistance can be extremely helpful in preparing a defense. Attorneys will always require the clients’ assistance in getting medical records, if appropriate, for mounting a defense against the field sobriety testing, breath testing, blood testing, or urine testing. This all depends on the circumstances of the case.

If a person tells the attorney that he or she has a particular physical issue that may assist in defending against the field sobriety testing or the breath testing, then the attorney is going to ask him or her to go see a doctor to determine if this physical problem can be documented properly. The attorney would want to pass that information onto an expert witness who could address it via an expert witness’ report or testimony at trial, if the case goes that far. Without that type of assistance from the client, an attorney can’t possibly get the best results.

The other assistance that the attorney needs from a client would be information concerning any witnesses that may have been with him or her before the arrest or during the arrest. Often, witnesses will give information concerning that person’s level of sobriety, or how the police proceeded during the investigation. That information could be used to corroborate what a client has told the attorney, or refute what a police officer is alleging.

If you Are Facing A DWI Charge In New Jersey, Get Help From A Public Defender or call the office of Leckerman Law for a Consultation at (856) 429-2323 and get the information and legal answers you’re seeking.

Attorney Kevin Lekerman
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