Will I pay an attorney and end up losing or paying anyway?
You shouldn't believe that a conviction will always happen, because you can win. Drunk driving cases are complicated, but not impossible to win. Because DUI cases are criminal defense matters, you need an attorney familiar with criminal law, and your rights under the Constitution. First, an attorney must review whether the police had a right to stop you under the Fourth Amendment to the US Constitution, and California Law. Next, the police must prove that they had probable cause to believe that you were operating under the influence of alcohol, or drugs. Finally, they have to prove that the breathalyzer was in proper working order, maintained and calibrated according to law, that the test was given by a properly trained officer, and that you took two tests within 15 minutes of each other, that were within .01 of each other, and were within 3 hours of your driving. As you can see, this is complicated - which means that you can win. A DUI defense attorney with experience will leave no stone unturned and do a full factual and legal review of each of your defenses. Contrast that to just pleading guilty, which can happen very quickly, the effects on your life from having a criminal conviction, having your license suspended, and suffering classes, insurance increases, and other costs, will continue for years, sometimes for life, and you will always wonder what would have happened had you hired a good attorney to protect you.