It's a good question to ask after getting charged with a criminal offense: should I get a public defender? After all, it's a constitutional right and it is a "free" lawyer. A public lawyer does have advantages that a private attorney may not, but you don't have the option to pick who acts as your legal mouthpiece when going the public route. Ultimately, it is up to you to make the decision on what is best for you and your defense.
The biggest drawback about going with a public defender is the caseload issue. The public attorney's office is funded by the state, which means it is usually underfunded, and there are not enough lawyers to go around for those who need them. This means that the state lawyer may not have enough time to dedicate to your case. Add into the fact that the lawyer you get is randomly picked through some type of lottery system, and it makes the kind of defense you are going to get more uncertain.
This is not to say that a public defender is a bad lawyer, or not a "real" lawyer. He or she has gone through years of law school to get their juries doctor degree in order to work as an attorney. In this situation, the lawyer decided to take the route of defending those who are in need of help, but can't afford it. Thus, going the public route and working for people who have no other way of paying for legal representation.
There are some very good lawyers working for the public, but you can't walk up to one and retain their services. Instead, you have to rely on luck when it comes to getting an attorney that is capable of maintaining a case load while providing excellent services. If you are not willing to take this risk, then you need to be open to the thought of working with a private attorney.
Private lawyers do charge a fee for their services, but then again, you may have to pay a fee for the use of a public lawyer. It may wind up that you can get representation that offers more in the way of accessibility and focus on your case for not much more money with a private lawyer. In fact, many private lawyers who work on criminal cases once worked for the public, and have intimate knowledge of how the local court system works. All of this can be used to your advantage when it comes to mitigating the charges brought against you.
Still not sure about what to do? Schedule consultations with different lawyers to learn more about what they can offer versus a public attorney.
Contact Your Local Criminal Defense Attorney Today.