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Why You Should Not Rely on a Public Defender


When you are arrested, you are told by law enforcement that an attorney can be provided for you. It is your right. However, there is a downside to relying on a public defender to fight for your future and it generally outweighs the cost of hiring a private attorney. The fact is that not all criminal defense attorneys are created equal and some are better prepared and less overworked than others, making them more capable of providing you with the representation you need to ensure the most positive results for your situation.

What is a public defender? It is an attorney who is government paid and court-appointed. These lawyers are often limited in time, resources, choices, and even in their authority, whereas private attorneys are not bound by the same restrictions.

Below are some of the major reasons why you should consider hiring a private attorney for your defense rather than relying on a public defender:

  • Heavy caseloads: One of the biggest downsides to working with a public defender is that they are typically overworked and burdened with immense caseloads. In fact, it is not uncommon for a public defender to handle 100 to 200 cases at a time and, oftentimes, they might not even be able to review your case until a day before you appear in court. Ask yourself if you are comfortable with your attorney having no more than a day to examine the details of your case.
  • They are usually not specialized: Although public defenders are licensed attorneys, they are generally not specialized due to the high turnover of clients they have, which does not provide the opportunity for them to develop the solid field experience you might receive from a private attorney. Having a public defender represent you is akin to visiting a family physician when what you really need is a heart surgeon.
  • They lack the proper resources: To investigate and prepare a case requires experts, money, and manpower. Unfortunately, public defenders lack these resources. Instead of having the kind of access private attorneys tend to have at their disposal, public defenders have to request funds to cover the costs associated with a defense. With their hands tied, providing anyone with a strong defense can be near impossible.

It is also important to remember that a public defender is not always necessarily free. They are appointed to defendants who cannot afford an attorney. You must first apply for a public defender and wait for a judge to approve your application he or she appoints one to you. In some cases, you might actually be required to reimburse some of your court costs and attorney fees based on the charges, the verdict you receive, your ability to pay, and possibly as a condition of your parole.

Instead of having to deal with paying for unreliable legal services, it would be in your best interests to avoid cutting corners on your defense. Much more is at risk here than money. Depending on the severity of your charges, your freedom could be at stake, so treat it with the seriousness it deserves and look into hiring a private attorney. If you lose your case, you might end up facing greater costs than what you might spend on an attorney, especially since your chances at securing gainful employment with a criminal record will significantly decrease.

Criminal Defense Attorney in Chicago

If you are facing criminal charges, the most important thing you can do at this moment is to hire an experienced criminal defense attorney to represent you and protect your rights. At the Law Office of Steven H. Fine, we are prepared to come to your aid at any time and provide the thorough and aggressive legal representation you need to safeguard your future at this time.

Backed by over 20 years of experience, you can be confident in our ability to get the best possible result for your case.

Contact our firm today at (312) 436-0638 to schedule a free case evaluation with a knowledgeable member of our legal team. We are available 24/7 to take your call!