What can I do to save myself? How helpful are public defenders?
8 attorney answers
If your financial situation does not allow you to retain private counsel, then simply show up at your first appearance and request the appointment of counsel.
I would recommend contacting several local criminal defense attorneys about representing you in the matter. Many attorneys, myself included, offer payment plans and other ways to insure you get the representation you need in this matter. We routinely handle these matters and offer free case consultations. Have a good evening.
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In addition to the comments of my colleagues, I would add that public defenders vary in experience and skill. Some are dedicated; some are new. Talent levels vary, of course. If it's the best that you are able to afford, there isn't much of a decision involved.
Although they generally cannot afford to offer up the time and personalized attention that a private lawyer brings to the table (albeit at a price), PD's are almost all excellent attorneys, generally being extremely well-versed in both the law and their courtrooms.
Contrary to popular belief, it is not easy to either get hired as, or to remain employed as, a PD. It takes brains, ethics, effort and commitment. It is an often times thankless job and attorney's who are not committed to it simply do not last. For those who do, however, their client's benefit not only from the day-to-day knowledge of their individual courtrooms (including but not limited to knowing the tendencies of their Judge, their prosecutors and the other instrumental court personnel) but also from the vast resources that the PD brings to the table (investigators, experts, etcetera) without further expense to the client.
I hope that this has been helpful.
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Public defenders are very helpful, but also very busy. In addition to that, contrary to popular belief, they are not free. You might want to consider if there is a private attorney in your area that fits your price range. Some attorneys offer a variety of payment plans and affordable prices. If ultimately you cannot make that work, you can get quality representation from the public defenders office, however they are often very busy. You may not get a great deal of personal attention, but you will get a decent lawyer.
This time you will most likely be convicted. You can get the public defender if you are indigent, and they are very helpful.
R. Jason de Groot, Esq. We do not have an attorney-client relationship. I am not your lawyer. The statements I make do not constitute legal advice. Any statements made by me are based upon the limited facts you have presented, and under the premise that you will consult with a local attorney. This is not an attempt to solicit business. This disclaimer is in addition to any disclaimers that this website has made. I am only licensed in Florida.
Consultations are generally free. Worst case scenario, you could get your options from a private attorney and then make sure your fresh out of law school public defender is on top of the legal issues and defenses in your case. The best thing a private attorney can do for you that a public defender is generally not allowed to do is waive your appearance in court. If you have to take off a few days of work to show up in court, depending on how much you make, the private attorney will have paid for itself when all is said and done. Good luck to you.
You probably won't qualify for the public defender unless the state seeks a definite jail term, so you should find yourself a lawyer. This is your second offense and your driver's license is on the line, not to mention a $500 fine plus $300-400 in court costs, probation and schools.
Don't you think you could afford a lawyer's help? I think it would make sense. Even the pubic defender, if one were appointed would cost you, it's not free. $50 application fee plus attorney's fees in the way of a PD Costs will be assessed at the end of the case.
Before deciding you "can't afford" your own private criminal defense lawyers, interview a couple of us, then decide. Good Luck to you.
The information provided is not legal advice from Criminal Defense Lawyer Albert Quirantes, or the Ticket Law Center in Miami, Florida. There is no attorney client privilege created in this communication. Do not send questions which are confidential in nature by either this venue or via email. Personal questions should be asked in person or via telephonic conference only. You should only ask theoretical questions of a general nature.