Does hiring a private attorney for a criminal case vs using a public defender do more things for the case?

Asked almost 2 years ago - Okeechobee, FL

can a private attorney get a lower sentence for someone than a public defender can?

Attorney answers (6)

  1. Colleen M. Glenn

    Pro

    Contributor Level 17

    22

    Lawyers agree

    Answered . No one can guarantee what the outcome of a case will be however when you hire a private attorney typically they can devote much more time to you and your case because their caseloads are significantly smaller then a public defender. Just like everything else they are good and bad PDs and good and bad private attorneys. You should invest some time in consulting with numerous attorneys and choose someone you feel comfortable with.
    www.colleenglenn.com

  2. Eric J Trabin

    Contributor Level 19

    22

    Lawyers agree

    Answered . It doesn't quite work like that. There are some good public defenders and bad public defenders. There are some good private attorneys and some bad private attorneys. Public defenders are actual attorneys.

    The problem one faces with having a public defender is that a PD's caseload is huge. While you might have a great PD, they don't really have the time to give you and your case the attention you feel you deserve. Private attorneys do have a lot more time to devote to your case and so it is reasonable that may spot issues in your case a PD wouldn't. But the hiring of a private attorney is no guarantee of an outcome. The nice thing is that unlike a PD you get to choose your private attorney. I suggest you meet with several different lawyers and decide for yourself which is the best fit.

    This is not to be considered legal advice nor does an attorney-client relationship exist.
  3. Deanna Elaine Ebanks

    Contributor Level 9

    19

    Lawyers agree

    Answered . Hiring a lawyer versus "using a public defender" has its pros and cons. One of the most significant pros of hiring a private attorney is that their caseload is usually significantly less than that of a public defender. This usually means that a private attorney can personally spend more time on your case and that may positively affect the outcome of your case. One con of hiring a private attorney is that many private attorneys, without previously working for the Public Defender's Office or State Attorney's Office, lack the trial experience that a Public Defender may have and that may not be as beneficial for your case. So, in deciding whether to hire a private attorney or not, your decision should be based on a variety of things. However, since no lawyer can guarantee the outcome of a case, your decision should probably be based more upon the background and experience of the lawyer than any promises made to you by him or her.

  4. Amber Hill

    Pro

    Contributor Level 14

    17

    Lawyers agree

    Answered . As Ms. Glenn said it depends on the attorney. The public defender's office is swamped with cases and are funded by the State. So, a private attorney typically has more time to give each case individual attention and has more resources available. However, there are excellent PDs out there. If you can afford to retain private counsel, you should do so, as the Public Defender's office is for people who absolutely can't afford a lawyer.

  5. Frank Mascagni III

    Contributor Level 20

    17

    Lawyers agree

    Answered . I agree with my fellow avvo criminal defense counsel. There are many qualified lawyers in the public and private sector. Interview some private attorneys in your area and draw your own conclusions if they can "do more things" vs. each other vs. the public defender. Good luck.

    I am trying to give you a general answer to your question. We do not have an attorney-client relationship by this... more
  6. William A. Jones Jr.

    Pro

    Contributor Level 20

    16

    Lawyers agree

    Answered . I have high respect for the attorneys who struggle in Public Defender Offices across the country. That said, if you can afford to hire a qualified private criminal lawyer, I believe you will be better off, if for no other reason you will have an attorney with the time and inclination to thoroughly advise you and keep you informed. Interview two of more (most provide limited free consultations) and see if you can locate one that has the requisite experience and skill and with whom you are comfortable.

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