Are you in a situation that calls for criminal defense? Perhaps you were caught in the wrong place at the wrong time or pulled over for DUI after having a little too much to drink. Whatever the case, a private attorney may be able to help you navigate the legal system.
In a criminal case, you have two options for legal representation: a private lawyer or a public defender. Private attorneys are hired by the client, and public defenders are court-appointed. If you’re facing charges and need legal advice and representation, which type of legal representation is best?
We’ll cover some information on both public defenders and private attorneys. Then we’ll cover a few reasons you may want to choose a private attorney over a public defender. If you choose to work with a private attorney, our professionals are skilled, knowledgeable, and ready to discuss your case.
If you can’t afford private legal representation, the court will select a public defender for you. As a defendant, you may request that the court appoints a public defender for your case, but you won’t have to pay for their assistance. To qualify for this type of legal help, you must prove that you don’t have the resources necessary to hire a private attorney.
Public defenders are a good option for people who wouldn’t otherwise be able to hire legal help. However, they do come with some disadvantages, such as time. Often, public defenders are well-versed in the law and great at what they do, but they’re assigned too many cases at once. For this reason, they don’t always have the time or energy to fully focus on each client they represent.
This could be an issue when you need to speak with or meet them. Some clients don’t even get a chance to meet with their public defender until they’re just about to enter a plea in court. Another drawback to working with a public defender is that you aren’t the one choosing them. You may get lucky and end up with a professional who makes you comfortable, or you may get stuck with the complete opposite.
Your second option for legal representation is choosing a private attorney. If you do this, there’s the obvious disadvantage of having to pay for their services. Attorney fees vary widely depending on the case, the professional’s level of experience, and more. If you’re facing severe charges, you may be facing especially high prices. However, if you go this route, you can choose your own attorney and even visit multiple professionals before selecting your favorite.
A private attorney works for (and is paid by) you. They’re working for the benefit of their clients, so they’re often more dedicated to getting you the outcome you want. In addition, private lawyers tend to be more accessible, meaning you can easily call or email them when you have a question. Having this option can do a lot to ease your mind when you’re facing criminal charges.
As you can see, you’re better off working with a private attorney if you’ve been charged with a criminal offense. Let’s look closer at a few reasons why:
Private attorneys simply have more resources available to build you a good defense. They will know exactly how to identify witnesses, pick apart evidence, and find strategies to help you with your case. Public defenders are often overwhelmed with work and simply don’t have as many options to build you a defense as a private attorney.
Time and Attention
Since public defenders aren’t paid very much for their services, they may try to resolve their cases as soon as they can. And, as mentioned, they probably won’t be as available to answer your questions. Many times, this leads to cases getting far less attention than they require or deserve. If you hire a private lawyer, however, they’ll have much more time to dedicate to you.
What you decide to do before seeing a judge often has a major effect on how your case turns out. For instance, if you were caught with drugs, signing up for substance abuse counseling can help you receive lesser penalties. An experienced private lawyer will know what you can do to improve your odds of a more favorable case outcome. A public defender, however, might not have the time or energy to give you similar instructions.
Facing criminal charges may be one of the most stressful experiences you encounter in life. One effective way to ease your mind is to work with a skilled private attorney. Knowing that they will build you a solid defense based on their expertise, and that you can choose them yourself, will help you immensely.
Now that you’re aware of the factors involved with choosing a public defender versus a private attorney, you probably have a clearer idea of what you want. While a public defender gives you the distinct advantage of free services, they’re far less likely to have the flexibility or time that a private lawyer has. And, although you must pay for a private attorney’s services, making such an investment could save you money in the long run.
The harsher your conviction, the higher related expenses are likely to be. A private legal professional can help you pursue a lessened sentence, which often translates to lower fees for the crime. If you’re ready to speak to someone who has the time, expertise, and resources necessary to dedicate to your case, speak with our criminal defense team today.