13 Feb Is it bad to have a public defender versus a private attorney?
In the instance you or someone you know is in need of a defense attorney, the options are having a public defender or a private attorney. Here’s what to expect from each:
Public defenders are assigned to clients, so you will not get to choose your public defender. They work on multiple cases at the same time because of the overload of individuals who need them. And because they have a heavy load, they will work as fast as they can. Thus, you will not receive as personal assistance as you might like and it often gives public defenders the reputation of not caring about their clients. But, they do. You probably won’t see it, but they do care about their clients. They just do not have as much time to display it because they must move on to take care of their next case. In a way, public defenders have more experience than private attorneys because of their caseload.
Private attorneys have more time to process your case and dig deep into the matters and their arguments. You can search for and select your own attorney, as long as you are able to pay the cost they ask. It will be easier to see private attorneys caring about their clients – there is more “handholding” through the case, if you will. Private attorneys also often get priority over public defenders in the courtroom, meaning they can get their client in front of a judge quicker than public defenders who would have to ask their clients to wait. Private attorneys are protective of their reputations – they will go over risks and benefits of a trial before actually going to trial.
Sit and speak with some attorneys to get more of an idea of what you might expect from them, their quality of service, and ultimately, if you want them to take care of you. You need to find someone competent enough who will not make matters worse for you.