Public Defender or a Private Practitioner: Understanding Whom to Select

When it comes to legal issues and when a person is faced with a criminal charge there are some important decisions he or she has to make. That person has to decide if pleading guilty will get a shorter sentence or fight the case by going ahead with a no guilty plea. In either situation, the most important decision he or she has to make is to decide whether to hire a private lawyer or go ahead with a public defender. Let’s look at some factors to consider before going ahead with either option.

The public defender

A public defender is a lawyer appointed by the court for the purpose of the case. Such a person is appointed usually on request or in situations where the person being charged cannot afford to pay for a private lawyer. A public defender is considered a very experienced person being able to handle various criminal and legal cases and have better relationships with other persecutors which can help the defendant in getting plea agreements.

However since they are appointed by the government they are likely to have a lot of cases and be overworked. Sometimes they are underpaid and stressed out which can mean they can make mistakes and not have sufficient time to devote completely to your case, which can be a disadvantage for the defendant. Since the client does not have a say in the lawyer appointed, chances are that they can get stuck with an undesirable lawyer which will not help the case. There are also little or no chances of changing them once appointed.

The private lawyer

This is a private practitioner that the defendant selects or hires personally. Often times the biggest problem in selecting a private person is the cost you have to incur as they can charge heavily if the charges are serious. However depending on the case, the services they provide can outweigh this disadvantage greatly.

Since they work freelance or work for a private firm, they usually do not have a multitude of cases to work on, which leaves them with more time to attend to your needs. They usually have more resources and time on hand to understand the client and the charges far better and do additional researches if required. The additional time spent on the case allows them to see weaknesses in the prosecution’s case if there are and also build better and convincing arguments on behalf of the client. A private lawyer charges for the services rendered which means additions resources such as expert witnesses, private investigators & forensic examinations can be used as required which would benefit the case.

Both options have their own pros and cons and should be weighed carefully by the defendant.


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