It's not the law, it's the money. Very few criminal defendants get really first rate representation because they can't afford it. Legal Aid is under funded everywhere and overwhelmed with work. Legal Aid lawyers can't devote the amount of time to cases that privately retained lawyers do.
Any opinions stated in response to Avvo questions are based upon the facts stated in the question. Responses to Avvo questions are for general information purposes only, and should not be construed or relied upon as legal advice.
The law does not "forbid" it. You may hire an attorney if you can afford to do so. Some public defenders are great, some private criminal defense attorneys are so-so.
The above is general legal and business analysis. It is not "legal advice" but analysis, and different lawyers may analyse this matter differently, especially if there are additional facts not reflected in the question. I am not your attorney until retained by a written retainer agreement signed by both of us. I am only licensed in California. See also avvo.com terms and conditions item 9, incorporated as if it was reprinted here.
No one works for free.
Most lawyers will give you a free consultation if you ask for one. We do this all the time, but remember that our time is valuable and you should stay with the people who help you the most.
The public defender assigned to your case will be in the best position to advise you of your options. The PD office is staffed with good attorneys who practice in the criminal court day in, day out. True, they are busy and may not have the luxury of providing a lot of undivided attention to a particular client. But if there is a defense to a case that merits attention, then it's been my experience that it will be developed. Due to the variety of cases they see, it may not be possible for the particular PD assigned to represent you to be an expert in that area. If you disagree with the advice and recommendations of the PD, then you could always seek a second opinion from a member of the private criminal defense bar who might specialize more in the practice area.
In order to be able to take the bar in probably any state, a person first has to get a doctorate degree. It costs a ton of money to get that. It also costs a ton of money to operate a business. We are in business to make money to pay our own bills. The law does not forbid you from paying a private attorney for representation, but it does provide an avenue for your defense through the public defender's office, in the event you cannot afford to hire an attorney, pursuant to Gideon v Wainwright. If you are not satisfied with the legal representation that you get from them, you always have the option of hiring any attorney of your choosing., and then of course complaining about the services you received. We know nothing of your case or circumstances, and you basically want us to defend ourselves for needing money to live. Do you work for free? Why should you ask us to do the same? Do you expect to get a free TV from Wal-Mart? Do you expect to go to a furniture store and have them hand over the furniture you need at the moment? Most of us now offer free consultations, but you want all of our collective experience in your case, for free or for a reduced charge, a full blown felony trial with days of testimony and arguments, for free? When people learn the term "pro bono" they simply have to find one. The fact is that we defend freedom throughout the USA, and without the criminal defense bar, the cops would just go wild. We expect payment for our services, but you expect legal advice and representation to be paid by someone else? Your question itself projects your attitude and disgruntlement with the system:"why is it that the law forbids people from receiving help from legal advice?" It does not, you have to pay for it.
R. Jason de Groot, Esq.,
No such law exists. There are restrictions on WHO can give legal advice. Only lawyers can give specific legal advice. Non/lawyers cannot legally do so. Clerks at the courthouse cannot give legal advice either. A citizen may defend themselves, hire an attorney, lit convince an attorney to take a case for free, or I n the case of criminal charges, accept a PD. No other options.
NOT LEGAL ADVICE. FOR EDUCATION AND INFORMATION ONLY. DO NOT RELY ON ANY ADVICE YOU RECEIVE FROM ME OR ANY OTHER ATTORNEY IN THIS FORUM. Legal advice comes after a complete review of the facts and relevant documents and an expressed (written) agreement of representation that forms attorney-client confidentiality. Neither of these two events can occur in this forum. Mr. Rafter is licensed to practice in the Commonwealth of Virginia and the US Federal Courts in Virginia. His answers to any Avvo question are rooted in general legal principles--NOT your specific state laws. There is no implied or actual attorney-client relationship arising from this education exchange. You should speak with an attorney licensed in your state, to whom you have provided all the facts before you take steps that may impact your legal rights. Mr. Rafter is under no obligation to answer subsequent emails or phone calls related to this or any other matter.
I don't understand your premise. If you have a public defender, then you have not been denied legal advice.
Requesting, receiving, or accessing general information on Avvo or other web sites does not create an attorney-client relationship. If you wish to have Paul Stanko review specific questions on which you need legal advice, you may contact him by telephone (888-778-2656), email (firstname.lastname@example.org), or you may go to his web site: http://www.paulstanko.com/. Unless Paul Stanko reviews your specific situation and takes you on as a client, no attorney-client relationship is created. Paul Stanko is licensed to practice in Indiana only.