The right to an attorney is one of the most basic rights for criminal defendants. This right is protected by the Sixth Amendment and is one of the most important rights criminal defendants can have. In most criminal cases, a criminal defendant can seek legal counsel.
This is where the right to an attorney is less well understood. Many people believe that the court will give you an attorney free of charge because you have the right to one. Free counsel can only be granted to indigent defendants. When the indigent cannot afford a regular private attorney, a public defender serves as the attorney. A public defender is often the only way for defendants to get counsel.
This may be the only way to go if you cannot afford a private lawyer. If you cannot borrow or find the money to pay for a private attorney, you might have to entrust your case to a public defender. Public defenders can be considered attorneys, but there are key differences that criminal defendants should understand.
Before you decide, contact the criminal defense attorneys at Wolfe & Stec for a free consultation.
What to look for in an attorney
You need to be able to trust your attorney when you are looking for someone to represent you in a criminal case. You must ensure that anyone you are working with is committed to your case and willing to fight for your rights.
Consider these other factors when selecting a criminal defense lawyer for your case.
- Knowledge: Make sure that they are familiar with the relevant law in your case. There are many nuances to the justice system that differ from one discipline. They should be trained in the discipline that applies to your crime.
- Relevant experience from the past: A lawyer should have recent trial experience and experience with the law in question.
- Reviews: An attorney should have an excellent reputation in the area. Look for attorneys with high ratings and many reviews in your area.
- Trustworthiness: Personal connections are key. They should be likable and trustworthy to provide the best advice.
What is a public defender?
Public defenders can be described as court-appointed lawyers. A trained and experienced prosecutor will represent you if you are charged with a crime.
How are public defenders appointed?
If you feel you can’t afford a private lawyer to represent your case, you can apply for a court-appointed public defender.
You will have the opportunity to ask for a court-appointed attorney when you first appear in court. The court will require you to prove that you cannot afford an attorney. You may be required to sign a questionnaire.
If you are eligible, the judge will assign a public defense attorney paid for by public money to you.
After you have been assigned a court-appointed lawyer, it is your responsibility to maintain contact with him or her. Some people will still have to pay court fees and attorney costs. It will depend on the facts of your case and your financial ability. Even if you are not convicted, this is true.
The advantages and disadvantages of a public defender?
A public defender is an affordable option for those who are eligible. For some defendants, the only way to defend themselves is through a public defense attorney. This is a wonderful resource that our country offers and a blessing for those who can’t afford representation. They can be a great option for people in need.
The greatest disadvantage of having a public defender is that they are often overworked. Although the system works in principle, it is expensive, and many people need a public defender. Even the most experienced criminal defense attorney may have trouble balancing all the nuances and needs of their case portfolio.
Another disadvantage is that you lose the option of choosing. It doesn’t matter if you like your public defender.
What is a criminal defense lawyer?
Private attorneys who are trained in criminal defense law often work at large multi-lawyer firms or small 1 or 2-lawyer practices. They can handle all types of cases, even those that involve charges related to:
- DUII, DUII, and other impaired driving offenses
- Drogues and narcotics
Benefits of hiring a criminal attorney
There are many benefits for those who can afford a private criminal defense lawyer.
- You have the option to choose one that suits your case and personality. A criminal defense attorney is not like a public defender. You can choose someone who is a specialist in the area of law that your case requires.
- They take on a smaller case load: Private criminal defense lawyers have complete control over how many cases they handle and will almost always have fewer clients than public defenders.
- They can leverage resources better: Private lawyers can use resources such as expert witnesses and private investigators. This will give you an advantage and allow you to build a stronger defense.
- Communication is easier: A lighter case load means better communication with your attorney. Reputable private criminal defense lawyers will answer your calls promptly and respond to your emails.
- More experience: While this is not always true, many criminal defense lawyers will have more specialized knowledge. This is especially important if your intention is not to plead out and you will be fighting for innocence.
Do I need a criminal defense attorney?
Private criminal defense attorneys are generally the best option for those who have the means to afford one. Because they have a lighter workload and can leverage more resources, they can focus on your case and deliver the results you want.
Even if you already have a public defender, it’s worth speaking with a criminal defense lawyer if you face charges. A private attorney can help you understand your options and give you a better understanding of how to fight the charges. An attorney can help you understand your rights and determine if your public defender is acting in your best interest. Even if you don’t hire an attorney for your case, it can help you approach your case more confidently.