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Public Defender vs Hire a Lawyer

Austin, TX |

My adult son has felony charges. He has got a public defender. Will it be better for us to hire/pay a lawyer?

A local lawyer says he will try to get a deferred adjudication for my son since this is his first felony charges. Won't the public defender also do this though?

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Attorney answers 2


can speak from my own experience as a court-appointed attorney and from the many public defenders and court-appointed counsel that I personally know. I'm not sure how they court-appointed system works in your state, but there is a good chance that the court-appointed attorneys or public defenders are probably the same ones that either currently are or were previously in the private sector. Even some of the biggest name and well known criminal defense attorneys in my area still remain active on the court-appointed roster. So you really should have nothing to fear in that regard. Not only do they work just as hard and are just as competent as privately retained counsel, but as I previously said, they are often one-in-the-same.

Does that mean that there are no lazy, incompetent public defenders out there? No it doesn't. But they are no more prevalent in that arena than in the ones you walk into their office and pay them a retainer fee. In that regard, public defenders really get a bad rap. They work just as hard and often for a fraction of the pay. So you should not worry about having a public defender for your case. Public defenders are also known for having a lot of courtroom experience in criminal matters so that should help put your mind at ease a little more. Trust your attorney. I hope everything works out.


I'm an attorney in Austin. I think that the public defender will probably get it deferred. However, if your son can afford a lawyer he needs to pay the attorney fees as the public defender program is for indigent defendants who cannot afford a lawyer. I would be happy to speak with about this. My number is 512-472-8318.