Interviewer: How would you compare the representation of a public defender with that of a private attorney?
Brian Frees: When representing yourself, you’re running a risk of just being a number within the system, and being told that you don’t have a whole lot of options that if you’re pleading guilty, it will be much better for you. For the most part, you’ll get the maximum, that is the typical sentence for somebody, everything would be about the higher level of grammars and then if there is any stake in the way you were treated, by the way of law enforcement interacted with you, how you became suspicious to them, that they need to investigate you for DUI, if any of your constitutional liberties were violated at that time. It would just go on, unresolved and you would just ah, give up your rights, to releasing that because you will probably plead guilty to a crime.
The Case Volume of a Public Defender Far Exceeds that of a Private Attorney
If you go with the public defender, there are a lot of very great attorneys that are public defenders, it’s just that their case volume exceeds a private attorney’s case volume. They just do not have the time, to provide the individual attention that a private attorney can. When, when I focus my practice on criminal defense and DUI, it allows me to develop more expertise and more knowledge, that I can use to better defend my client. If you are a public defender, you may be defending a very serious murder case, on one day, and then the next day you’re in the DUI court, representing DUI. You may not have that focus, that a private attorney can meditate towards.
In Utah there is a Two-Tiered Response to the Issue of Driving Under the Influence
Interviewer: Is there a criminal portion, and then a non-criminal administrative driver’s license portion in a DUI case?
Brian Frees: In Utah we have got, a kind of a 2 tiered, response to the, to the issue of driving under the influence of alcohol. There is a civil context which is the driver’s license division, and they are the ones that grant you the privilege of driving a vehicle in the state of Utah. Then there is the other side of it, which is the criminal side of committing the violation of driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
If a DUI Defendant Doesn’t Request a Driver’s License Hearing Within 30 Days of the Citation, they May Lose the Hearing Altogether
Interviewer: Do people realize the severity of civil and criminal ramifications involved in a DUI charge? Are they confused about what’s happening?
Brian Frees: I think they get confused by it. Usually they learn of this at the moment when they have been arrested at the time of getting the DUI. So it may have not sunken in, they may have not understood it. As a matter of fact, they may have been under the influence of alcohol at the time they were told that they have this right to a driver’s license hearing. So I think a lot of times people don’t understand that it is written on their citation that they have 10 days, from the day of the citation, to request a driver’s license hearing. That driver’s license hearing will be conducted within 30 days, of the date of the citation. If they don’t request that hearing, barring some really good excuses as to why, maybe a language barrier, or person being unconscious at the time, that they were given the information, is very hard to get your hearing back, if you missed that 10 day deadline.