Why you need a criminal defense lawyer instead of a public defender

A public defender is someone who provides defense counsel when someone is facing criminal charges. In the 1963 Supreme Court case of Gideon v. Wainwright, the Supreme Court recognized that some defendants cannot afford their own lawyer. Because of this, people are provided with a lawyer if they cannot afford one.

This rule does not technically kick in unless the defendant is facing a misdemeanor or a felony that could be punished by imprisonment. If the crime is only punished with a fine, the defendant does not have a right to a public defender. Even if you are eligible for a public defender, there are still a number of reasons why you may want a criminal defense lawyer instead.

The Benefits of a Criminal Defense Lawyer 

Sometimes, people choose to use a public defender because they lack the money to hire a private lawyer. While money is certainly a factor, many defendants will receive better representation through a criminal defense lawyer. Hiring a lawyer also allows you to pick someone with the right experience and a lighter workload.

A Criminal Defense Lawyer Can Focus on You

Unfortunately, many public defenders are burdened with hundreds of cases per year. On average, a public defender spends less than six minutes on a case at arraignment. Because of their huge caseload, they cannot devote all of their skills and resources to your case.

Unlike a public defender, a private defense lawyer only has to take on the number of cases that they can actually handle. They can be selective about who they work with and devote more time to each client. If a criminal defense lawyer is unable to spend adequate time on each case, their reputation and their business will suffer. As a result, they only take on the number of cases that they can successfully manage.

You Can Pick Your Criminal Defense Attorney

When you decide to use a public defender, you are appointed a lawyer by the court. The court does not let you choose your representation. While you might be lucky enough to get an experienced attorney who cares about your case, you also might find someone who just passed their bar exam.

A criminal case is extremely stressful. If you lose the case, years of your life could be spent in prison. Because of this, it is important to have someone who is experienced with your type of case. In addition, you need a lawyer that you have a good rapport with.

You want a defense lawyer who has the time, resources and skills to support your defense. A private lawyer will only get new clients if they achieve the right results. They have a vested interest in helping you to succeed because a favorable outcome attracts new clients. As a result, your case gets the attention it deserves.

While there are many talented public defenders, the main problem is that most of them are burdened with a huge caseload. It is simply impossible for them to devote enough time and resources to each individual client. They might have a dozen other cases to handle when you appear in court, so your case may not receive the attention it deserves. Even if you are already working with a public defender, it is never too late to hire a criminal defense lawyer to represent you.