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Should you have a public defender represent you?

| Jan 28, 2021 | Criminal defense |

Criminal charges can put your nerves on end, and for good reason. The charges that you’re facing could threaten you with jail or prison time, financially ruinous fines, and damage to your reputation that can affect nearly every aspect of your life. With that in mind, you need to think carefully about how you want to approach your criminal defense. While you might qualify for the services of a public defender, is that really your best option?

The risks of public defender representation

It really depends on the circumstances. There are certainly competent, even great, public defenders out there, but there’s a lot at risk when choosing to be represented by one of these attorneys. Here are some of those risks:

  • Assignment: A public defender is assigned to you. You don’t get to pick which public defender you want to represent you. This means that there’s a lot left to luck. Do you want to risk that?
  • Caseloads: It’s no secret that public defenders have a lot of cases. This means that they often focus on managing their caseloads rather than each individual case. This can lead to pressure to settle cases with plea deals simply to clear the case. This might not be the right approach for you.
  • Limited time: Given their high caseloads, public defenders often don’t have a lot of time to give to each individual case. That means that your questions might go unanswered and you might be prevented from playing a role in the development of your defense.
  • Inexperience: Although a lot of public defenders have a lot of experience, there’s a lot of them who are fresh out of law school. While not necessarily a bad thing, it could mean that you wind up with an attorney who is unfamiliar with the intricacies of case law and the rules of evidence. That can have a profound impact on your case.

Obtain the representation you need to fight your charges

To mount the best criminal defense possible, you need someone who can give your case the time and attention it deserves, while being detail-oriented enough to develop strong legal strategies based on the laws and the facts. With that in mind, it might be time to consider whether a private criminal defense attorney is right for you.