Private Attorney Vs. Public Defender: Pros & Cons

When your freedom is on the line, you want the most experienced professional managing your criminal case.  The most important decision you will make in your own criminal defense is knowing who to hire. 

The Statistics in Criminal Defense: Public Defender vs Private Attorney

A study on private attorneys vs public defenders by Judge Morris B. Hoffman, a Colorado trial judge, concluded that defendants who went with a public defender, were not only more likely to go to jail but are also more likely to serve a longer sentence. Defendants that hired a private attorney received on average a three year shorter sentence. 

Pros of a Public Defender

  1. Free – if you cannot afford an attorney, the court will appoint one to your case.
    * the State will expect you to pay for an attorney, if you can afford one.
  2. Relationships – public defenders work with the same judges/prosecutors on a daily basis.

Cons of a Public Defender

  1. Lack of Communication  – public defenders are hard to get a hold of.
  2. Unconcerned – due to caseload, public defenders have less time to devote to on cases, making it hard to do a through job.
  3. Unconcerned – public defenders are likely to push a plea deal and not willing to put up a strong fight, if needed.

Public defenders can be great attorneys. However, to no fault of their own, their biggest downfall is their caseload. It is not uncommon for a public defender to see 25-50 cases per day.  

Pros of a Private Attorney

  1. Availability  – a private attorney will always be available to you. A great attorney will also have staff that can assist you. More resources, usually means better outcomes.
  2.  Empathetic – a private attorney will take the time to understand your side and navigate a plan accordingly. 
  3.  Network – a private attorney works in all different courtrooms in different cities and counties.  They will have access to unique resources that can be an asset to you.
  4. Best Service – a private attorney is only as great as their last client.  Unlike a public defender, if they are not providing positive outcomes for their clients, they may not retain another client.  
  5. Possibilities – a private attorney can provide expert witnesses, private laboratories and private investigators allowing for stronger defenses.  

The Right Counsel 

Your freedom is priceless and by no means should you gamble with it.  Retaining the right counsel can make all the difference. If you are facing serious incarceration, fines or are falsely accused, a private attorney would be your best choice. 

While upfront costs may initially deter your decision in hiring a private attorney, the benefits should outweigh this. No one enjoys spending time being locked up.   

At Solution Law, APC, we have presented and provided positive outcomes on hundreds of criminal defense cases.  From capital crimes to misdemeanors and infractions, there is not a case too complex for us not to find a solution for. 

If you are in need of a strong criminal defense attorney,
contact us today for a FREE CONSULTATION. 




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