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What Makes a Private Attorney Better Than a Public Attorney?
By Colin Daives
Mar 4, 2010
Many people are unaware of what the difference between a private criminal lawyer and a public defender is. The explanation is rather straightforward. A public defender is the legal representation that is provided to a person who is unable to afford one. The public defender is thus charged to protect the interests of the clients whilst being paid by the government. But before a public defender is awarded to the affected individual, an eligibility test is carried out involving an assessment of a person’s assets and income. Although public defenders come freely many people question the devotion and dedication that a client will get from such representation.
Public defenders are very efficient criminal lawyers, as they handle many cases every day. Many have an area of specialty; in this area, they will be one of the most highly qualified attorneys around. For example, there are public defenders who work specifically as DUI lawyers. Additionally, many public defenders develop good rapport with judges. As a result, your representation by a public defender may be very effective.
Of course, if you’ve got the cash to hire yourself legal representation, it’s recommended that you do so. Why? It’s thought that private attorneys will put in the hours needed to make a case strong. While you may need to talk with family and friends for help in retaining a private lawyer, studies show it’s the best investment you can make. Returns with these lawyers generally yield you a lesser charge and/or sentence.
A better way to see the difference between being represented by a private lawyer and one provided by the government is to take a look at statistics that have been accumulated over the years. These results clearly show that amongst people being tried for similar crimes, the majority of those who were represented by public defenders ended up serving longer jail terms. For people who plan on pleading guilty and wish to receive a shorter or softer sentence, hiring a private attorney will provide a better guarantee of this.
Public defenders in most jurisdictions have a case load several times that of private lawyers. Because public defenders may be overworked, they may simply not have the necessary time to devote to your case. If you go with the public defender, you may have little or no access to your lawyer except during the court hearings themselves because they simply don’t have the time to meet with you outside of these scheduled appearances.
It’s been said that public defenders will press their clients into accepting plea bargains because it takes less time than going through a trial process. However, a private attorney will take on your case and devote his/her time to it, making sure you get the best outcome possible. They’ll research your case entirely, which is the biggest reason they have stronger defenses than public defenders. Of course, you’re paying for your attorney where the government is paying the public defender.
Legal representation is extremely important if a person requires legal assistance or is being charged with a crime. For people who are unable to afford an attorney, seeking the counsel of a public defender creates a welcomed and effective idea. Such people will however be required to first qualify by passing a strict screening process. However, for those who are able to afford hiring a private attorney, resorting to this option will prove a far more effective choice.