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Should I be represented by a public defender?

On Behalf of | Jan 8, 2021 | Criminal Defense |

Regardless of the underlying allegations, felony criminal charges are serious. A conviction on any of these charges can result in jail or prison time that can be quite extensive, and you might be hit with a fine that devastates your finances. As if that’s not enough, your reputation and your ability to secure employment and housing may be jeopardized. While you might be able to qualify for a public defender at no or low cost, you really need to consider if that is your best criminal defense option before agreeing to proceed that way.

Is a public defender right for you?

It really depends on the circumstances at hand and what you hope to get from your representation. While public defenders are noble people who have their clients’ best interests at heart, they do face a number of challenges that could affect your criminal defense and your future.

  • Caseload: Public defenders are notorious for carrying heavy caseloads. This means that much of their focus is on managing their workload rather than focusing on each individual case. This might lead to a rushed criminal defense that might pressure you into a plea bargain that isn’t right for you.
  • Lack of attention: Because they are overworked and underpaid, public defenders often don’t have much time to devote to their individual clients. This means that your questions might go unanswered and you might take a backseat in the development of your own criminal defense.
  • Inexperience: A lot of public defenders are new to the legal professional. Not all, but a lot. This means that you might not have the best advocate on your side who knows the ins and outs of case law and the rules of evidence, both of which could form the foundation of arguments that change the outcome of your case.

Don’t risk your future if you can avoid it

There’s no doubt that there are a significant number of strong public defenders out there. But do you really want to roll the dice to see if you are appointed one of them? After all, you don’t have a say in who your public defender will be. Or would you rather have legal representation that gives you and your case the attention it deserves and the advocacy that is necessary to increase your chances of reaching the best outcome possible? If you prefer the latter, then you might want to consider reaching out to a private criminal defense attorney with a track record of success.