Criminal charges can upend nearly every aspect of your life, especially if those charges lead to a conviction. That’s why you need to be prepared to mount the most aggressive criminal defense possible given your circumstances. If your income is under a certain level, then you have the option to have a public defender appointed to help you craft this criminal defense. You don’t have to accept the appointment of a public defender, though, so you have to ask yourself if taking one is really in your best interests.
The risks of going with a public defender
Don’t get us wrong, there are a fair number of experienced and competent public defenders. However, there are some risks to being represented by a public defender. Here are just a few of them:
- High caseloads: It’s no secret that public defenders have a lot of cases, which means that they’re overworked and underpaid. As a result, oftentimes public defenders are more focused on clearing cases and managing their caseloads than they are on giving each case the individualized attention it deserves. This means your public defender may be more likely to consider a plea agreement and be less willing to take the time to go to trial.
- Inexperience: As we mentioned, there are a lot of experienced public defenders, but there are also a lot of them that are fresh out of law school. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, but it does mean that your attorney might not know the best strategies to represent your case. He or she may not know how to aggressively make and meet objections, too, which could affect your case on appeal if it ends up going that direction.
- Lack of personal attention: As mentioned above, public defenders have too many cases to truly devote the personal attention needed to each one. They can also be difficult to get ahold of, which can affect preparation of your case.
Is a private criminal defense attorney right for you?
No two lawyers are the same. However, a private criminal defense attorney might be better suited to provide you with the custom-tailored, personalized attention your case needs. Also, many private attorneys have years, sometimes even decades, of experience to draw on when representing you. This increases the chances that your criminal defense will be robust and well developed. If that’s something that you’re looking for in your criminal defense, then we encourage you to fully research your representation options.