If you are charged with a DWI, drug possession, sexual assault or any other type of criminal charge, you might be asking yourself whether you want to hire a public defender or a private attorney. Knowing the difference between a public defender and a private attorney can help you make the right decision in regards to who will represent you in court. A public defender is free and is someone who is appointed by the court when you cannot afford an attorney. A private attorney is someone who you pay to represent you in court. There are pros and cons to both types of attorneys.

Pros of a Public Defender

– Free
– Work with the same judges and prosecutors every day. This allows a relationship to form between the public defender, judge, and prosecutors which can be useful when it comes time for a plea deal. However, if you are innocent and do not want to plea, it could be a con.

Cons of a Public Defender

– Since the court appoints the lawyer, the defendant has no choice in who will represent them. If the lawyer proves to be inadequate, it may be hard to get a different court-appointed lawyer.
– They have a massive case load. About 60-90 percent of defendants can’t afford to hire an attorney. The number of public defenders is smaller than it should be, so each attorney has to take on many clients. On average, a public defender has 25% less time to spend on a case than is necessary to do a thorough job. It is usually hard to get a hold of your public attorney prior to the day of your trial due to how many clients they have.
– May be more likely to make mistakes due to the high number of caseloads. Mistakes could cost a defendant when they go to trial.
– Heavy caseloads can also mean that the attorney is more likely to recommend a plea bargain agreement. A plea bargain agreement, or a plea deal, avoids a trial because the defendant pleads guilty before a trial in exchange for certain considerations, such as a reduced sentence.

Pros of a Private Attorney

– Defendant is able to choose their attorney based on their success record and other factors.
– They are available whenever you need them, and when they are not, they have staff that can help you.
– Private attorneys do not take on more cases than they think their staff can handle; therefore, they have smaller caseloads than a public defender. Their business is on the line so if they do a poor job, then their business will suffer.
– Have more time to gain information and to build an effective defense.
– More access to defense possibilities which can make all the difference in a trial. Since the defendant is paying for legal services, the lawyer can use expert witnesses or private laboratories to help the case.

Cons of a Private Attorney

– The cost of the attorney, which can depend on the type of charges and the amount of work that the private attorney expects he or she will have to do.

Choosing a public defender or a private attorney can make all the difference when it comes to the outcome of your trial. You want to be able to sit down with your family and write down your own pros and cons to help make your decision. Sitting in jail makes that impossible, so call AAAA Bail Bonds at (936) 539-4444 today so we can help you get home to make that all important decision.