Public Defenders Vs. Private Experienced Attorneys
One of the great advantages about the United States Constitution is that it guarantees fair representation for anyone accused of a serious crime. If you have determined that you qualify for the services of a public defender, you may be wondering if this is in your best interest. After all, you don’t get to choose your public defender so how will you know you can trust this person to protect your best interests in court? The truth is, it’s always a wise decision to speak with a private attorney to get a second opinion. You will want to be comfortable working with your attorney and it’s important that you “interview” a few private attorneys to ask them about their plans for your defense. Many offer free consultations and you should seek their advice for a second opinion. Here are some other important facts you should know before making a decision.
Are Public Defenders as Experienced as Private Attorneys?
This all depends on the individual. Many public defenders take on misdemeanor cases before working their way up to defending more serious crimes, such as sexual assault and murder. In terms of education, there is no difference. Public defenders are required to pass the state bar and/or earn a J.D. degree just like private attorneys.
Since Public Defenders Typically Get Paid Less, Does This Mean I Won’t Get a Quality Defense?
Many public defenders are committed to helping those who cannot afford legal representation and take great pride in their work. However, they may lack access to important resources, like private investigators, which may be important to your defense plan. Public defenders are also given many cases whereas private attorneys are able to spend more time on each individual case.
Should I Consider My Charge Before Making a Decision?
Yes. If you are facing a serious crime that may affect your liberty (such as jail time), you’ll want to hire an experienced attorney. If you are concerned about cost, ask your attorney if they offer a flexible payment option or a credit program.
Whether you hire a private attorney or are appointed a public defender, remember that you are innocent until proven guilty. You can inspire your attorney by offering helpful facts regarding your case, acting polite and dressing conservatively. This will make your attorney consider putting you on the stand if it would be in your best interest.