Choosing Between A Public Defender And A Private Lawyer

Many important decisions have to be made by a person who is being accused of a criminal offense. First, he has to choose between pleading guilty or not guilty. He has to decide whether to plead guilty to a lesser charge for a more lenient sentence or for an agreement to drop all the charges. He has to choose between a public defender and hiring a criminal defence lawyer to help him with the case.  

What is a public defender? 

A public defender is a fully licensed lawyer who is appointed by the court to defend indigent defendants in criminal cases. The Sixth Amendment of the United States Constitution provides that a state cannot legally prosecute an indigent defendant unless they are provided with a lawyer. 

Since public defenders are paid by the government, people usually doubt their loyalty. Since many accused individuals cannot afford to hire their own lawyer, public defenders frequently have large caseloads making them underpaid and overworked. As a result, there is a perception that they can mistakes because do not have ample to prepare for a case. 

Anyone who juggles hundreds of cases will only have limited time to communicate with clients. It is common for a public defender to confer with a client for a few minutes before entering a plea. Public defenders usually prefer plea bargains to reduce the number of cases that they handle. 

The defendant is not given the option to choose a public defender because it is the court that appoints them. If the client thinks that the public defender is not performing well, he may find it difficult to get someone new. However, most public defenders are dedicated and hardworking with lots of experience in criminal cases. The client’s fears of disloyalty are usually unjustified. 

Advantages of hiring a private lawyer

Having a private lawyer is more beneficial for a defendant particularly if he can find someone who has the expertise and skills of obtaining the best possible results. Private lawyers are not encumbered by large caseloads so that they usually have adequate time to confer with the clients and prepare for a defence. Private lawyers are better acquainted with their clients which makes it easy to discover information that will help the case. 

Private lawyers have more sources that they can use to unearth evidence that will aid defence. It is also easier for private lawyers to discover weaknesses in the prosecutor’s case to get the charges reduced or dismissed. Law firms have staff, associates, and paralegals to do bail motions and arraignments while the lawyer prepares for trials and hearings. 

However, there is a general perception that private lawyers charge exorbitant fees, particularly in serious felony cases. Defendants who cannot afford the services of a private lawyer usually opt for a court-appointed lawyer even if they doubt his expertise and loyalty. 

Meanwhile, you can always visit if you are accused of a crime and you are afraid that you might be arrested any time soon. Having a private lawyer by your side when you are being interrogated will greatly reduce your fears and stress.