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Private Criminal Defense Attorney or Public Defender?

Posted by attorney Justin Strassburg

In these tough economic times many people choose the services of a Public Defender. While Public Defenders are certainly qualified to defend your case, there are several advantages to hiring private counsel:

-You Won't Need to Go to Court: Private lawyers can appear for you on misdemeanor cases- there is no need to go to court until a settelment has been reached or the case goes to trial. This is authorized by California Penal Code Section 977. If you use the service of the Public Defender you usually must appear at each and every court appearance. Because a large number of people use the services of the Public Defender's office the clients must wait their turn, often this takes all morning, or even all day. Private Criminal Defense Attorneys are given priority (i.e. called at the begining of the court's calendar) so even if you do need to come to court with your privately retained counsel, you will be in and out of the courthouse fairly quickly.

-A Continuous Defense: Your attorney from the Public Defender's Office may change from court date to court date By using a Private Criminal Defense Attorney you know who is representing you on each court appearance.

-Personalized Attention: In general a Private Criminal Defense Attorney is more than happy to discuss your case with you as often as you like. Most private lawyers welcome their clients at anytime to come into the office or call them at anytime.

-The Public Defender is Not Always Free: In California some cases clients who use a Public Defender are suprised to learn at the end of the case that the Judge may order them to pay all- or a portion of- the costs of the Public Defender, depending on their ability to pay.

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