A Criminal Defense Attorney vs. a Public Defender: What You Should Know

Posted on: July 1, 2015

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If you have been accused of a crime, we recommend that you hire a criminal defense attorney. It is important that regardless of what you have been accused of, you seek legal representation to ensure your rights are protected. Whether you are accused of assault or drinking and driving, a conviction will go on your record and can influence your future. A criminal record can make it difficult to rent an apartment, get hired for specific jobs, and win a custody battle. Taking steps to protect yourself and your family is not optional.

This leaves many people with a decision to make: hire a private attorney or work with a public defender. There are pros and cons to each.

The only real drawback of hiring a criminal defense attorney is that there will be fees associated with it. In our opinion, this is money well spent when you consider your entire future and freedom are at stake.

Legally, you have the right to work with a public defender to ensure you are not unrepresented in court. This is both necessary and important for those who cannot afford to hire an attorney. However, there are some drawbacks. Typically, the lawyers at the public defender's office take far more cases than we would ever consider taking on at our law firm. This is problematic because the law is complex and each case needs to have attention dedicated to it. When lawyers are overworked, it is easier to miss things that could be useful in a trial for creating reasonable doubt or for getting the potential conviction reduced. Hours of research and prep work need to go into preparing for trial, making it critical that you ask any attorney (public or private) how much time they have to dedicate to your case.

A few years ago, the Dallas Chronicle reported on problems with the public defender's office, namely that they were plea bargaining too many cases instead of properly representing clients in court. While this is a good option for saving time, it means people who potentially could have received a not guilty verdict were serving time for the crime. There is no way to predict what a jury will do, and while you can make an educated guess, juries are unpredictable. This is partially why the trial process is so important to our justice system. It gives the opportunity for the defense to build and make a case and for a jury to make a determination. As a criminal defense attorney office, we recommend that you do not rush into making a plea deal, but that you seek legal guidance and advice from a private firm first.

If you have been accused of a crime, it is important to receive the best possible legal representation and guidance. If you are convicted of a crime, your entire future will be influenced by it. While we cannot guarantee you will be found innocent, we can guarantee that we will fight to protect your rights and your freedom. Call today to speak with a criminal defense attorney.