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Hiring a Criminal Lawyer vs. a Public Defender

September 24, 2016 Our Blog

Let’s face it. We all face challenges, and all of us have done something wrong at some point in our lives. If you’re facing criminal charges, you’re facing a number of intimidating moments in the days, months, and sometimes even years ahead. Unless you have a background in law, you likely aren’t sure what to do next. In the meantime, your mailbox is continually being stuffed with official court documents with confusing language.

Early on during the course of your case, you’ll receive the option to hire a public defender as your attorney. While this certainly is the less expensive option, you must consider that you get what you pay for. Your criminal record is at stake during this trying time, and it can be well worth the investment to hire your own criminal lawyer.

Considering Time Constraints

There are only so many hours in a typical working day. For the public defender, these hours can easily fly by as they often have many clients they represent at any given time. Because of this, it’s not uncommon for your file to get caught up in the mix and not receive the full attention it deserves.

You also have to accept that fact that your public defender will prioritize their cases based on severity. For example, if you’re facing charges of theft and the public defender assigned to your case is also representing a felony DUI case, they will likely put precedence on the latter.

Short Notice on First Day of Court

It’s not at all unusual for a public defender to become introduced to a file on the first day of court. After all, with so many open files to manage, it can be difficult to come completely prepared. When this happens, you don’t get the chance to delve deep into the case to reveal facts, data, and evidence that can work in your favor. You may even find that, on your second court date, you’ll have a completely different public defender working on your case.

When you work with a criminal lawyer, you can rest assured that you have an entire legal team dedicated to working your case from start to finish. They have the tools, manpower, and other resources to give you case the attention it deserves to provide you with the best possible outcome.

Lack of Experience

While not always the case, many public defenders are fresh out of law school, and much of what they learn is done on the job. We have to start somewhere, but do you really want someone to use your case as a guinea pig as someone begins their new career? We learn from our mistakes, and you could end up suffering when these mistakes are made on your case number.

If the charges you are facing are misdemeanors, these are often given to the newbies on the team since there will be no significant punishment such as jail time. Your case could very well serve as a training tool. While this can prove very helpful for the attorney, it doesn’t do much to help you.

Qualifications Required

The option to retain a public defender is not granted simply because you want to get around paying for the cost of a private attorney. The Judge will appoint a public defender for one of the following two reasons:

The client applying is incarcerated.
The client applying has filled out a financial and asset disclosure and has been qualified based on income.

When you hire a private attorney, you can rest assured you won’t have trouble getting them to represent your case. Money talks, and this is an investment that can speed up the process and get the type of qualified services you so desperately need. Time is of essence, and every day counts when you have impending trials on the calendar. The last thing you need is to have to wait to find out whether or not you are even approved for the limited services the public defender can provide.

Building the Best Case for an Optimal Outcome

Throughout the course of your life, your criminal history will provide a snapshot into your past, and this could have a negative impact on a number of aspects from getting a job to applying for school and so much more. While a public defender will offer you assistance, you only get what you pay for. If you’re ready to begin building the best case for an optimal outcome, hiring a criminal lawyer is most often your best bet.

This is only a temporary time in your life, and we all make mistakes. However, you shouldn’t have these mistakes follow you everywhere you go. By making the investment in a seasoned attorney now, you can save yourself frustration in the future.

This article is by Michael Kotik, a top rated Philadelphia Criminal Defense Attorney.



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