Why it Makes Sense to Pay for an Attorney even if You are Entitled to a Public Defender

Why it makes sense to pay for an attorney even if you are entitled to a public defender, Carosella & Associates

When facing criminal charges, there are many important decisions you will need to make regarding the charges that have been filed against you. Hiring a skilled private criminal defense attorney can alleviate stress and lead to a more positive outcome for your case.


What is a Public Defender?

A public defender is an attorney who is appointed by the court for defendants who cannot afford a lawyer. Because the court appoints your lawyer, you do not have a choice on who is selected to plead your case, and while public defenders are typically “free”, courts often tack on hefty fees that can add up to be as much as hiring a private attorney.


Disadvantages with a Public Defender

Our court system is overloaded with people who are unable to afford lawyers for their criminal defense, and public defenders often have large and overwhelming caseloads. It is very common for public defenders to be inexperienced, overworked and underpaid, which can lead to lack of time for preparation and making mistakes that could negatively affect the outcome of your case.


Most public defenders juggle hundreds of cases at once, and have extremely limited time to meet or speak with clients. Due to large caseloads, they often attempt to plead out as many cases as possible. Some are so busy that it is not uncommon for them to meet with a defendant just minutes before entering a plea. This can keep a public defender from taking the time, energy and attention necessary to prepare a legal defense that may prevent or minimize the impact of a conviction.


Advantages of Hiring a Private Criminal Defense Lawyer

In a revealing study published by the New York Times, it was found that the average sentence for clients of public defenders was almost three years longer than the sentences of clients represented by private lawyers. Private defense lawyers typically specialize in criminal law and usually have a much smaller caseload than public defenders. This gives them more one-on-one time with clients, and allows them to take the time to become better acquainted with you and the details of your case.


Defense attorneys often hire expert witnesses to explain key aspects of a case, and may hire a private laboratory to test evidence that will be used against a defendant. A criminal defense lawyer may also hire private investigators who can help to unearth important evidence that can make or break your case. With more information, a criminal defense attorney may be able to find weaknesses in the prosecution’s case that can help you get the case dismissed or charges reduced.


Simply put, a private criminal defense lawyer has the time and motivation to be readily available and to fight for the best possible outcome for your case. Satisfied clients help attorneys to develop and maintain a good reputation, so your criminal defense attorney will want to do his or her best to keep that reputation alive.


If you are considering hiring a private criminal defense attorney, our experienced attorneys in West Chester, Chester County and Delaware County can provide you with the personal attention you need and fight for your rights in court.

How to Make Sure your Bankruptcy Lawyer is Looking Out for Your Best Interest

When you feel like you’re drowning in debt you may be vulnerable and looking for a quick way to resolve your financial issues. Enlisting the counsel of an experienced bankruptcy lawyer can help you sort it out. Finding the right attorney for you and your situation is vital to understanding which type of bankruptcy you should file. If you are searching for an attorney or aren’t sure if your current bankruptcy lawyer is looking out for your best interest, there are a few steps you can take to make sure your bankruptcy is handled competently and in a timely manner.


Make Sure your bankruptcy Lawyer is Looking Out for Your Best Interest, Carosella & Associates


Filing for Bankruptcy

There are several types of bankruptcy, but Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 are the most popular for individuals. Chapter 11 is often an appropriate type for small businesses. Before you jump into determining which type of debt relief will work best for you, make sure you do thorough research on the options that may be available to you.

There are many misconceptions about filing bankruptcy. Some people think it’s difficult to qualify for bankruptcy, that it will destroy their credit, or believe that they may lose everything they own. Do not assume that advice from friends and family or what you read online about filing bankruptcy is accurate. There are state-specific laws and issues surrounding bankruptcy, every case is different, and many issues will be unique to your situation. Consulting with a lawyer who knows the ins and outs of the process is essential.

Is Your Lawyer Looking Out for You?

The quickest path to debt relief is not always the most effective. Unless you are in a dire financial emergency, you likely have time to consider all options to get your finances back on track. A good attorney will present all options to you at the outset, and explain the benefits and pitfalls of each one.


There are a few important things to look for to ensure your lawyer is looking out for your best interest. Does your lawyer:

  • Present you with all options available to you?
  • Ask about your goals in regard to filing bankruptcy?
  • Treat you with respect and listen to your concerns?
  • Provide direct, honest answers and solutions that meet your needs?
  • Keep you informed about the progress of your case?


While many of the questions your bankruptcy lawyer asks will involve your finances and assets, he or she should ask some personal questions as well, such as:


Are you experiencing any immediate medical issues or needs? If your health is not stable it may be best to wait to file for bankruptcy, but if your financial hardship is due to exorbitant medical bills it may be the best option.


At Carosella & Associates’, our clients’ best interest is a top priority in each and every case. Our knowledgeable bankruptcy lawyers can determine the best option for your situation and help you achieve financial stability again.  

How to file for a Divorce in PA

Divorce can be a complicated and difficult process, and many people don’t know where to begin. A supportive, experienced and understanding divorce lawyer can advise you on what to expect and help you take the first steps to file for divorce.


How to File for Divorce in PA blog by Carosella & Associates


How to File


To file for divorce in Pennsylvania, you or your spouse must have been living in Pennsylvania for at least six months prior to filing for divorce.


When filing for a divorce, certain documents must be filed as required by the court. Filing a divorce complaint with the Court of Common Pleas in the county where you or your spouse resides will start the divorce action. Your complaint must detail your eligibility for divorce in Pennsylvania and the reason for divorce, along with any other matters you want the court to decide. The spouse who files for divorce is known as the “Plaintiff” and the other spouse as the “Defendant”.


There are various time periods in which documents must be filed with the court. An attorney who is well-versed in the law will make sure they are filed in a timely manner and ensure that the process run smoothly.


No-Fault Divorce


If you and your spouse agree to proceed with a divorce, you can file for an uncontested divorce by mutual consent, which means that you both agree that the marriage is irretrievably broken. An uncontested divorce is faster and allows the parties to avoid going to court.


If both parties agree on the terms of their divorce they should also have an attorney draft a Divorce Settlement Agreement, which outlines the terms of the rights and responsibilities of each party and division of property, assets and debts.  Having a skilled attorney write this document is critical, as this important contract outlines the terms of your divorce.


Fault-Based Divorce


You also may also file for a fault-based divorce by proving one of the following grounds:

  • Your spouse has acted in a way that made your life unbearable or extremely difficult.
  • Abandonment without a reasonable cause for a period of one or more years
  • Adultery
  • Cruel and barbarous treatment, such as domestic violence
  • Bigamy
  • Imprisonment for two or more years


At-fault divorces can be extremely contentious. Consulting with an experienced divorce lawyer is essential to determine the best course of action to take.


Whether you wish to file for no-fault divorce or are facing an uphill battle in court, our knowledgeable and skilled lawyers in West Chester, Chester County and Delaware County can assess your situation, make sure your rights are protected and help you through the process.