When to Hire Public Defenders and Private Criminal Defense Attorneys

There’s no doubt that help is needed once someone is arrested. While it’s possible to defend against the charges without a lawyer, it is not wise. Instead, it’s important to choose the right lawyer. For many people who have been arrested, there is an option of using a public defender or hiring a private criminal defense attorney. Both of these options provide representation for the accused, but defendants will need to decide which option is better for their situation. 

When to Call an Attorney for Help

The accused will want to start getting help as soon as possible after the arrest. If someone is arrested, they can talk to a lawyer about criminal defense strategies for their case. The accused can also get help convincing the judge to allow pre-trial release with or without bail, reduce the bail if needed, and help with any other situations that may arise before the trial is completed. The faster someone starts working with an attorney, the more help they can receive.  

Public Versus Private Defense Attorneys

The two main options someone has after being arrested is to work with a public defender or private defense attorney. Both have the same amount of education from a law school and both have passed the bar exam to be able to practice law. The difference is in how they are paid for the cases they handle. Public defenders are paid by the state on behalf of the clients while private defense attorneys are paid by the accused. According to the US Department of Justice, around two-thirds of all defendants will work with a public defender on the case. The remaining defendants will use a private attorney or other options. 

Which One is Better?

Though they have the same amount of education and all have passed the bar exam, most defendants will want to know which option is better. It is always wise to avoid defending against the charges pro se or without representation. When it comes to the type of lawyer to work with, it may depend on the defendant’s finances or their preferences. A defendant must qualify to have a public defender work with them on the case. If they make too much money, they will need to hire a private criminal defense attorney. If the accused has a low enough income, they’ll have the option of using a public defender or hiring an attorney.

The main reason to hire a private attorney over a public defender is the ability of the lawyer to spend more time on the case. Public defenders are often behind as there is a backlog of cases to get through the courts. This means they only have a minimal amount of time to spend on each case. It may not be possible for them to give the case the attention it deserves. A private criminal defense attorney, on the other hand, can limit the number of cases they accept at one time. This allows them to spend more time on each case, which can lead to a better outcome. 

If you’ve been arrested and charged with a crime, make sure you have the right help to defend yourself against these charges. To make sure the attorney has plenty of time to work on your case and can give it the focus it deserves, it may be a good idea to contact a private criminal defense lawyer today.