If you are charged with a crime, whether it’s a minor traffic offense or a major felony, you are tasked with deciding how you would like to be represented at court. You may be able to represent yourself if it’s a minor traffic citation, but for misdemeanors and above, it’s probably a good idea to get professional representation. But should you go with a free lawyer provided by the state, or should you hire your own lawyer? We look at the benefits and drawbacks between a public attorney and a private lawyer in today’s blog.
Hiring A Public Defender
The word “hiring” is a little bit of a misnomer, because you don’t have much say in who you’ll get if you decide to go with a public defender, because they are appointed by the state. Because of this, it’s impossible to know if you’re getting a lawyer who has a strong background in the type of crime you’re charged with, or if they simply have a little experience in a very broad range of criminal law. The lack of specific experience is one of the biggest disadvantages of going with a public defender.
Another issue facing public defenders is that they are often overburdened with cases, which means they often don’t get the necessary time to dive into your case, cultivate a strong defense, and formulate a winning argument. They can often secure a decent plea deal, but it’s a lot harder for public defenders to win a case outright simply because they don’t get enough time to thoroughly review your case and develop a strong defense.
However, there is one distinct advantage of going with a public defender – the price. Public defenders are made available to individuals who cannot afford a private lawyer. Up front, a public lawyer will be hundreds or even a couple thousand dollars cheaper than a private attorney. However, a private lawyer can often pay for themselves in terms of what they can do for you. We’ll explain more in the next section.
Hiring A Private Lawyer
Hiring a private lawyer has a number of advantages over being assigned a public defender. For starters, you get to choose your own lawyer. A number of criminal defense attorneys offer free initial strategy sessions where you can sit down with a lawyer and talk about your case before deciding if that lawyer is the right choice for you. You can sit down with a number of different lawyers until you meet the attorney you trust to represent you in the court of law.
Secondly, the private lawyer will have a lot more time to dedicate to your case. Since private lawyers can pick and choose the number of cases they handle, they can limit their new cases so they have enough time to devote to each client. Also, since you’ll be billed for time spent on your case, you’ll be able to see exactly how much time your lawyer spent reviewing evidence, interviewing witnesses and developing a defense. You’ll also find that your private defender is much easier to get a hold of and communicate with compared to a public defender.
Finally, as we alluded to above, a private defender can oftentimes pay for themselves many times over. Yes, you have to pay for their services up front, but if a private defender can craft a defense that gets your DUI case thrown out, that can save you $10,000 in fines, increased insurance costs and license reinstatement fees. It might cost $3,000 for your lawyer, but if they can save you $10,000 compared to a public lawyer, a private defender would pay for themselves many times over. The statistics show that a private lawyer is more likely to get criminal charges dropped or greatly reduced compared to a public defender, so while it may seem like a lot of money up front, they will oftentimes be well worth the cost.
For more information on why a private lawyer may be your best bet after an arrest, or to set up that free strategy session with Avery and his team, give us a call at (952) 224-2277 today.