If you are facing charges for drug possession, driving under the influence, or another type of criminal offense, you need a criminal defense attorney. You may know that the court system willappoint you a public defender, but is that really the best option? Which will give you the best representation, a public defender orprivate attorney? First, let us take a look at the nature of public defenders.
Court Appointed Public Defender
When someone facing criminal charges cannot afford to hire an attorney, he or she can request the court to appoint a public defender. However, since the defender is court appointed, the defendant has no choice over who it is. If the representation does not meet your satisfaction, it may be difficult for you to get a new court-appointed attorney. In addition to being paid by the government and likely earning less money per case than a private attorney, the following are some reasons why a court-appointed attorney may not be your best option.
Heavy Caseloads: Many people facing criminal charges are not able to hire their own attorneys to defend them. Consequently, public defenders often have a lot of clients and very heavy caseloads. Statistics from the U.S. Department of Justice show that 60 to 90% of defendants are unable to pay for their own attorneys. Because of this, a public defender may not have time to meet with the defendant or prepare the client’s case the way a private attorney could.
Overworked: Because public defenders often handle dozens of cases at one time, they may be more apt to make mistakes. These mistakes could cost the defendant dearly when it is time for trial. This busy schedule also means that a public defender is more likely to recommend that the defendant accept a plea bargain rather than going to trial. In some cases, a trial could be more beneficial for the defendant.
Underpaid: TheBureau of Justice Statistics shows that public defenders handle as many as 600 cases per year. However, the American Bar Association recommends that a defense attorney only handles 150 felony cases each year. In addition, public defenders also make roughly one-third of the money that a private attorney makes on a case.
Private Defense Attorneys
While many court-appointed attorneys at dedicated to the work they do, they are simply too busy to represent a defendant the way a private attorney can. By hiring a private attorney, you will be able to choose your own attorney. While there may be a fee involved in hiring a private attorney, his or her success record could make the difference between whether you go free or go to jail.
Private attorneys, unlike court-appointed attorneys, tend to have a caseload that is more focused, making them more able to spend time with each client. This allows them to build an effective defense for your case. Your private attorney will likely have more legal resources allowing them to better defend your rights. A private attorney is also typically much easier to contact than a public defender who has little time to answer phone calls due to his or her caseload.
Contact a Criminal Defense Attorney Today
If you are facing criminal charges and need representation to ensure your rights are protected, contact the attorneys atAbel Law Firm. We will assess your case and develop the best possible defense strategy to protect your rights. Contact us today to schedule a consultation.
(image courtesy of Emiliano Bar)