Two Former Prosecutors On Your Side.
More than 60 Years of Combined Experience in Serving the Legal Needs of People throughout Northern California.

Should you let a public defender represent you?

On Behalf of | Mar 15, 2021 | Criminal Defense |

A criminal conviction can cause a lot of damage to your life. It can threaten you with fines, jail or prison time, and damage to your reputation and career. In other words, your freedom and your finances can be drastically impacted. That’s why it’s crucial that you do what you can to protect your interests, which means fully understanding your legal rights, crafting the best defense arguments you can muster, and aggressively advocating whether at the negotiation table or in court.

Many people who are charged with criminal offenses qualify for the assistance of a public defender. This appointment is income based, but a lot of people feel like they’re getting skilled representation when they are given one of these attorneys at low or no cost. But is that your best option?

Is a public defender right for you?

There can be a lot of differences between defense attorneys. But with public defenders there may be some risks that you’re not aware of. Let’s look at some of them so that you know exactly what you could be getting into by going this route.

  • High caseloads: Public defenders have a lot of cases to deal with. As a result, they oftentimes focus on managing their cases rather than building the strongest case possible. In their effort to move cases along and dispose of them, they may look to plea deals more often, which may or may not be in your best interests.
  • Limited attention: Given their focus on managing their caseloads, many public defenders are simply unable to give their clients the individualized attention they deserve. This means that you might have a limited say in your criminal defense, and you might have trouble reaching your attorney when you have questions that need answering.
  • Inexperience: There are a fair number of experienced public defenders out there, but there are also a lot them who are fresh out of law school. That’s not a bad thing, everyone has to start somewhere after all, but that can mean that you might not have the best responses to objections or the best legal strategy possible under the circumstances.

With all of that being said, we do want to recognize the hard work that public defenders put in. There are a lot of strong public defenders out there, but they may or may not give you the representation that you want.

What about a private attorney?

Only you can decide what kind of criminal defense attorney is right for you, but there are some advantages to going with a private attorney. Private attorneys often only take on the number of clients that they can handle. That means that they have the time to devote to each individual client to help them craft a custom-tailored defense that meets their needs. Additionally, many private attorneys have extensive experience in their field, and may, like those at our firm, were previous prosecutors. This gives them a unique perspective and can help you spot prosecutorial strategies can come up with arguments that combat them.

Be fully informed before you choose your representation

Your criminal case is too important to leave to chance. Therefore, you need to make the decision that is best for you and maximizes your chances of success. We know that that’s no easy task, which is why you’re encouraged to research your representation options before settling on one. You may want to consider experience, individualized attention, and track record of success. Hopefully after doing so you can rest assured that your case is in competent hands.