If you have no money to hire an attorney, you may qualify for a court-appointed attorney (public defender). You are eligible for a public defender only if you are considered indigent. Indigent means your and your spouse’s combined income and assets are below a certain level. In Los Angeles County you have to pay some money if you use the public defender, but the court retains some discretion to assess fees.
One thing to keep in mind is that the court-appointed attorneys will not be able to assist you with what many consider the most daunting aspect of a DUI arrest – the DMV-generated driving privilege suspension. Since the DMV action against your driving privilege is civil rather than criminal in nature, the public defenders are not able to assist you with the DMV (APS) hearing.