If you’re facing the prospect of needing to defend yourself against criminal charges, there are a whole slew of tough decisions that need to be made. Probably the most important choice though is deciding who you can trust to represent you and mount an effective defense.

Quite a few people out there might immediately start thinking of defending themselves. While it is certainly within your rights to do this, it is far from being as easy as it sounds, and we certainly don’t recommend trying. If you have committed to working with a professional to represent your case though, there are still two major pathways to choose from. You can either hire a private attorney, or you can allow a public defender to be assigned to your case.

For some, the answer to this complicated question is clear right from the start either way. The harsh reality is that the services of a private attorney can get expensive quickly, and without enough financial support, many people decide to go with the public defender. While there are some obvious reasons to hire a private attorney, the final cost can be even more expensive than most people realize.

To help people make an informed decision in this stressful and frustrating situation, our team here at DDD Bail Bonds has brought together some important information that everyone should consider before choosing to work with a private attorney or a public defender.

There Are Advantages Either Way

The Public Defender

The most immediate reason for most people to work with a public defender is cost. As a court-appointed attorney, defendants are not expected to cover the cost involved in working with a public defender, and in many cases, this can be all the reason someone needs to choose this option over a private attorney. That doesn’t mean that this is the only reason people should choose a public defender though.

A public defender should not be immediately associated with low-quality. The truth is that quite a few talented lawyers have chosen to enter into public service. This means that many public defenders are passionate about their job, and committed to helping their clients within the constraints of the system they are a part of. Also, public defenders are more likely to have a strong familiarity with a range of different criminal cases, and may even have a positive working relationship with other members of the system including prosecutors and judges which could facilitate successful plea deals.

The Private Attorney

If a person chooses to work with a private attorney, there are some advantages available to them that make this choice seem ideal. Without the caseload that is typically assigned to a public defender, private attorneys are much more likely to have the time and mental energy needed to get a full understanding of the situation. This means that a private attorney will be able to focus more clearly on a case, and on the challenge of finding a way to reduce or dismiss the charges.

Another powerful advantage of a private attorney is that the resources of the firm they are a part of are available to them during their representation of a client. From expert witness testimony to private lab tests, the capabilities of a law firm to support their attorneys is often only limited by the money their clients can invest to protect themselves. There is also the advantage of additional staff, such as associates and paralegals who can all contribute to the case to reach an ideal outcome.

There are Also Drawbacks on Both Sides

The Public Defender

The first real problem when choosing to work with a public defender is that there is no opportunity to choose which public defender will be assigned to a case. This means that a public defender will be determined based on the current workload of the office, not based on experience, personality, or other factors that may influence the relationship between a defendant and the attorney.

Another big obstacle when working with a public defender is their caseload. Because each attorney is assigned cases to work with, there are only limited opportunities to interact with them while planning your defense. This means that in addition to being constantly busy, and having their attention split over multiple cases, a public defender may miss important details due to time constraints when talking to a client.

The Private Attorney

In most situations, the only real disadvantage of choosing to hire a private lawyer is the cost. It is important to remember though, that the final price tag that comes with a private attorney can often be a much higher amount than people originally expected. While the overall cost is largely determined by the individual firm and its overall prestige, there are a few common factors that can help a prospective client get a general idea such as initial retainer charges and quoted costs per hour. 

The Final Decision

The truth is that in practically all situations, a person will be able to get a better outcome for their case when working with a private attorney than with a public defender. This does not mean that the public defender is a less skilled or less capable attorney, but that the public defender’s time and resources are far more limited in scope.When it comes to your defense in a court of law, it is sometimes best to take on a higher cost for an attorney to be sure that your situation doesn’t reach the worst possible outcome down the road. 

At the same time, it is a highly personal decision that has quite a bit to do with a person’s circumstances and financial situation. If you or a person you love is facing a situation like this, then it is always best to be armed with all the facts before making the call. At DDD Bail Bonds, we hope that by giving you a little more insight, you can make an informed decision on the situation without feeling trapped in between two impossible choices.