There’s a lot at stake when you’re accused of criminal wrongdoing. You may be threatened with jail or prison time, fines, and a haunting criminal record that could impact multiple areas of your life. That’s why you have to know how to effectively defend yourself against the allegations that have been thrown at you.
Although you may qualify for the assistance of a public defender in your case, you have to carefully consider whether accepting representation from one of these attorneys is really in your best interests. Making the wrong decision about your legal representation can leave you at risk of being convicted and facing harsh penalties that otherwise may be avoidable. Here’s why a public defender may not be right for you:
- Lack of choice: When you’re assigned a public defender, you don’t have a say in which attorney is appointed to you. That means the type of representation you receive is left to chance. Considering the penalties that you could be facing, you may want to avoid that risk.
- Lack of experience: Some public defenders carry an enormous amount of experience. Others are new to the law or don’t have as much exposure to criminal law as you’d like. If you get stuck with a less-experienced attorney, you might be left in a position where your legal advocate doesn’t know how to make proper objections and adequately respond to those made by the prosecution. You don’t want to end up being hurt by evidence that was otherwise inadmissible.
- Limited attention: Public defenders carry a lot of cases, and sometimes they even have their own practices that they’re trying to run. This means that your case might be at the bottom of the stack, or your attorney may be so overworked that they don’t have the time needed to regularly contact you to keep you informed about your case. This might prevent you from playing a role in developing your criminal defense. It can also impact the amount of effort that goes into preparing and litigating your case.
- Limited resources: If your case is complex, you may need to take a deeper dive into the evidence to better determine its credibility and what you can do to minimize its impact on your case. A public defender probably isn’t going to have the resources needed to call expert witnesses or seek additional investigation into the matter, which can really leave you sitting behind the eight-ball.
There are strong public defenders out there, of course. We don’t want to portray them as incapable or incompetent. But you really don’t know what you’re going to get when you agree to be represented by appointed counsel. If you want to take the risk out of your representation, you might want to consider discussing your case with a private attorney who you feel will give you and your case the strong advocacy that’s needed to aggressively fight back against the prosecution.
Research your options before choosing the attorney who’s right for you
There are a lot of attorneys out there who are ready to represent you in your case. But you need a strong legal advocate on your side who has a track record of success and competency in handling the kinds of case that you’re facing.
It can be difficult to wade through your choices, but we think that once you start researching them, you’ll be able to narrow the field and find the one that’s right for you. Hopefully, you can focus on obtaining the best possible outcome in your case and getting back to your life.