When it comes to legal representation, there are two main options: a public defender or a private lawyer. Both have their advantages and disadvantages, and it is important to understand the differences between them before making a decision. The primary distinction between a public defender and a private lawyer is that the court appoints the public defender to represent you if you cannot afford to hire an attorney. On the other hand, a private lawyer is one that you personally pay to represent you in court.
Research has shown that people represented by a public defender are more likely to be sentenced to jail terms and that those who were represented by a private lawyer received, on average, a three-year sentence shorter than those represented by public defenders. This is likely due to the fact that public defenders are often overworked and have less time to devote to each case. Nevertheless, there are some benefits to having a public defender. For one, they are familiar with a wide range of cases due to their previous work, and they also have better relationships with prosecutors, allowing for a guilty plea to be negotiated.
One of the other major advantages of hiring a private defense attorney is the ability to choose your lawyer. With a private lawyer, you have the opportunity to interview several lawyers and select the one that you feel most comfortable with. This means that private lawyers have fewer cases and can concentrate more resources on your case. You can consult and meet with hundreds of private lawyers until you are absolutely sure that you have the best lawyer for your case. Private lawyers also specialize in criminal law, so if you need help with non-criminal matters, you'll need to hire a private lawyer.
On the other hand, when you choose to have a public defender, an attorney will be assigned to you regardless of what you think of that lawyer. Another important difference is that public defenders will represent, with little or no charge, a qualified person who meets low-income requirements (tax rules) and who is under arrest or accused of committing a serious crime. Finally, many private defense attorneys will give their clients their cell phone number so that they can text them with questions or concerns. In conclusion, when deciding between hiring a public defender or a private lawyer, it is essential to consider all of the pros and cons of each option. While public defenders may be more affordable, they may not be able to devote as much time and resources to your case as a private lawyer can. On the other hand, hiring a private lawyer gives you more control over who represents your case but may be more expensive.