Should I hire a private criminal defense lawyer or use a public defender?

Lawyer Shaking the Hand of a Potential ClientIf you are arrested for a crime, you have many difficult decisions to make, such as how to plead to the charges, what defenses you should raise, and whether to accept a plea agreement. You should not make these decisions without the advice of an attorney. Should you use a public defender or hire an experienced criminal defense lawyer?

Drawbacks of Using a Public Defender

If a defendant cannot afford to hire a criminal defense attorney, the court will appoint a public defender to represent him. The benefit of this is that the lawyer is free. Many are also hardworking, experienced attorneys. However, there are major disadvantages to using a public defender:

  • High caseloads. Public defenders are assigned very high caseloads, which means that they would have less time and attention to devote to their clients’ cases.
  • Overworked. Public defenders are overworked and often must handle too many cases at one time. As a result, they can make mistakes or be more likely to recommend a client accept a plea agreement to get the case resolved.

Advantages of Retaining Your Own Criminal Defense Attorney

There are many advantages to retaining a skilled criminal defense attorney. Here are a few of the benefits:

  • Choice. You have the right to choose the right lawyer for your case when you hire one on your own. You do not have any choice if a public defender is appointed to represent you.
  • Smaller caseload. A lawyer in private practice will have a much smaller caseload than a public defender. He will have more time to devote to building a strong defense strategy for you and will be more available when you need him.
  • More resources. In addition to having more time to devote to your case, a private criminal defense attorney will also have staff working on your case.
  • Better outcome. The likelihood that you will achieve the best possible outcome given your circumstances is greater if you hire your own attorney since he will often work harder to achieve this goal for you.

Are you facing criminal charges in Charlotte? Call our office to schedule a free consultation to discuss your situation and how we can fight to get the charges dismissed or reduced to a less serious offense.