Thursday, May 9, 2013

Public Defender v. Private Attorney?

Should I hire a private lawyer or just go with a public defender?  What's the difference between the two?  What advantage would a private attorney give me over a public defender?   These are important questions to ask yourself when charged with a crime.  Naturally you would want the best representation possible.  But is it worth paying thousands of dollars to a private attorney when a public defender is free?

To begin with, let's define the two.  In Utah, counties and cities open a bidding process to fill the position of Public Defender.  Bids come in from various attorneys with different levels of experience and expertise.  The Public Defender contract is often given to the lowest bidder, sometimes resulting in an attorney with less experience as compared to the higher bidders.  Once the public defender is selected he or she is inundated with cases, appointed by the court, for defendants who qualify for free representation.  The case load is always very large, and very limited of time is given to each case because of the volume of cases.

Public defenders work with the city and county prosecutors to resolve each case as quickly as possible.  Because of the huge demand on the public defenders, defendants do not always get the best representation or defense in their cases.  I have heard many defendants upset and frustrated that their public defender has no time to return phone calls, refuse to prepare a suppression  motion, do a preliminary hearing, or take their case to trial, because they don' have the time.

A Private Attorney is a lawyer who is hired by a defendant to represent them in court.  Private attorney's have much smaller case loads, thus they have more time to work on a case, interview witnesses, investigate and meet with the client, even return phone calls.

Hiring a private attorney allows you to shop around, get referrals, research which lawyer has experience in criminal law, and which one is a general attorney, knowing a little bit about a lot of different areas.  Most private attorneys will allow you to come into their office for a free initial consultation.  This way, you can find out how experienced the attorney is, his or her feelings about your case, and the fee you would be charged.

The saying "You get what you pay for" is often very true when hiring an attorney.  The more experience, the better the representation and defense.  If you are charged with a crime, give me a call.  You don't want to chance your future with anyone else.



60 comments:

  1. I was trying to find someone for my brother. He got into a car accident. I don't think it is his fault.

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  3. Theres a lot of opinions and speculation with how much better a Minneapolis, MN criminal defense attorney is compared to a regular public defender. This is very interesting; as the public defender has no time, the representation for the defendant is often not as pure as an attorney hired for the job to try anything in his power to get the best possible outcome for you. For people who cant afford an attorney who will do anything they can for you, I don't know how you will be represented in a satisfying manner.

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  5. ‘You get what you pay for’ is a very true statement when being represented by a public defender – no fault of his/hers. Hiring a private attorney is a better choice since you will be able to spend quality time with the person to review your case. Having an attorney who is not overloaded with other cases is definitely to your benefit.

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  14. Having the right lawyer is very important. The difference between having a public and a private lawyer is that the public one does not know you more personally. A private lawyer is going to know you more on a personal level and can help you do things more for you.
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  15. Criminal law is important for the justice system. It is not only important for criminals to be properly prosecuted, but also that they can be deemed not-guilty in the event that there was a mistake in the persecution of a criminal. The person accused may not always be the criminal. Fortunately we have a just and fair law system that convicts the correct criminal most of the time... Well sometimes.
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  22. A Private Attorney is a lawyer who is hired by a defendant to represent them in court. Private attorney's have much smaller case loads, thus they have more time to work on a case, interview witnesses, investigate and meet with the client, even return phone calls.

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  25. A private attorney is more likely than a public defender to have a feared reputation at the prosecutor’s office, because have probably taken previous cases to trial and won. If they haven’t, you may want to look for another lawyer. This reputation alone may encourage the prosecutor to offer a more favorable plea-deal, as it is against the prosecutor’s protocol to take a case to trial that they don’t think they can win.

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