Lawyer vs Public Defender: Why You Should Pay for Legal Counsel

Lawyer vs Public Defender: Why You Should Pay for Legal Counsel

Do you have an impending case or trial? Consider if you should have a lawyer vs public defender and why paying for a lawyer is worth it.

Keyword(s): lawyer vs public defender

If you are charged with a crime, even if you’re a hundred percent innocent, it can still permanently change your life. You could lose your job, your home, your savings – you may even lose friends and family who assume you are guilty.

Once you’re charged, the stakes are high. That’s why you should hire a lawyer over a public defender for your criminal case.

The divide between a lawyer vs public defender may seem small, but in reality, it’s vast. It can make or break your case. There’s simply too much at stake here for you to leave a better option on the table.

Keep reading to learn about the pros and cons of a lawyer over a public defender, and how to find the best criminal defense attorney for you.

The Public Defender Problem

With your freedom on the line, you must deal with the world as it exists right now instead of how you wish it could be. And the truth is that right now, Texas public defenders are severely underfunded and understaffed. The system is broken.

Texas does not have one central public defender’s office run by the state or local government. There are a few small, local programs that provide counsel to indigent defendants. When they are overextended, as is frequently the case, judges will order private practice attorneys to fill the public defender’s role.

Both options bode poorly for the defendant.

An attorney from the smaller offices will be overwhelmed by the sheer volume of cases they are juggling. They don’t have access to many of the resources private attorneys use in criminal defense cases, such as investigators, analysts, and social workers.

Due to the system placing a larger burden on them than they can bear, a public defender’s natural incentive is to burn through as many cases as possible, as quickly as possible. In this system, none of the clients receive the care, scrutiny, and attention that their case deserves.

And if you’re assigned to a private attorney, your odds may actually be worse. The system doesn’t take practice area into account, so it’s possible you could end up with a real estate lawyer who hasn’t so much as glanced at the criminal code since law school.

I’m Pleading With You – Don’t Take the Deal

Dealing with a criminal case quickly often means the defendant pleads out. If the public defender can negotiate a plea deal with the prosecution, and the defendant accepts, the case is done. The public defender can move on to the next.

However, pleading can backfire terribly.

A plea deal means that, under the law, you are guilty. Even if the deal reduces the seriousness of the charges – for example, bringing a felony charge down to a misdemeanor. It will still be on your record forever.

You may also be ordered to pay fines, volunteer, or attend certain counseling or classes in order to fulfill the terms of the plea deal. For many defendants, these requirements are burdensome.

You can’t move along with your life if you owe thousands. And it’s much harder to get a job if you have 20 hours of community service every week.

Beyond logistical issues, some court-manded classes are predicated upon the idea of taking responsibility for your crimes. While that’s nice in theory, what it means in practice is that you may feel pressured to admit to a crime you didn’t commit.

For example, if you’re ordered to take a class on sex offender rehabilitation, you may have to admit to committing sexual assault or anything else you were charged with. If you refuse to do so, you will of course look guilty and non-cooperative. But if you fail the class, you’ll have to re-take it or face further consequences.

That’s why you should think long and hard about taking a plea deal, even if your public defender strongly urges you to do so. It’s possible that part of their reason for making the deal is that they don’t have enough time or resources to go to trial.

Private Lawyers vs. Public Defenders

Private criminal defense lawyers face almost none of the issues described above. For one, they control their own workload. Their success isn’t measured by the number of cases they take, but by the quality of their work on their cases.

There’s also a whole world of resources available to lawyers that public defenders can’t use. Attorneys can use private investigators, expensive experts, private labs, and more to make sure you’re receiving the best and most robust defense possible.

Because private defense attorneys devote more time to each case, they can build up their expertise in different areas of criminal law. Some will choose to specialize, such as in violent crimes or sex-based crimes, but whatever they choose, they’ll have the time and space to dig deep into their practice.

Expertise and experience are exactly what Matt Alford Law brings to the table. Matt has been in private criminal defense practice for over 20 years and has used that time to refine and hone his practice. There’s no substitute for real-life experience, and it’s here in spades.

Don’t Hesitate to Hire a Lawyer Today

Based on the evidence, there’s no question that in the battle of lawyers vs public defenders, private attorneys come out on top. Now that you’ve learned this, there should be nothing stopping you from hiring a lawyer over a public defender.

If you have been charged with a crime, even if you’re sure that the evidence is in your favor, you should reach out to us today to schedule a consultation. Matt Alford Law looks forward to clearing your name.

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