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.