I want to start this post with a caveat: there are outstanding attorneys who practice criminal law, working in both private and public sectors. I am not going to criticize public defenders in this post. I will, however, highlight differences between court-appointed and private attorneys, and explain important nuances.
I believe that there are 5 significant advantages to securing a private attorney for a criminal case:
5. Immediately after you are accused of a crime, a private attorney can aggressively represent your interests and protect your rights and privileges. For example, if you have been arrested for an alcohol offense, you may have a pending DMV Hearing. This hearing can be handled by your privately retained attorney. Court appointed attorneys do not typically handle civil or administrative matters, including DMV Hearings.
4. Your attorney can take early intervention with the prosecutor's office, and request Office Hearings and D.A. Diversion. A court appointed attorney begins representation after a case is set in court, after charges are filed.
3. Generally a private defense attorney will be able to place more time and energy on your case, at many different stages of the proceedings (pre-court, arraignment, pre-trial). Private attorneys can limit their caseload to a lower and more manageable number than court appointed attorneys typically can.
2. You can seek representation from a private attorney who emphasizes your type of case, possibly opening up the door for your attorney to present "cutting edge" defenses on your behalf, in the attorney's area of expertise.
1. You can select an attorney who will work effectively with you, who is on the same page as you are in terms of goals for your case. You can speak with many attorneys until you are comfortable with one whom you believe is right for you, and secure representation from that attorney.
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