A public defender or court appointed attorney, as they are often called, is someone who works for the government. They provide free services for those who meet certain financial criteria. Some believe that a public defender has a great deal of time and resources to fiercely fight their case. Actually, in most cases, public defenders have massive caseloads. They do not have time to properly work each case as it should be. Their goal is to get the case resolved as quick as possible, and they quickly move on to the next client. The time restraints of the overburdened court appointed attorney, can have a direct impact on a case.

The War On Crime Comes With A Cost

Many state and federal agencies have suffered from major budget deficits. Though the country has experienced the lowest crime ratings since 1966, the prisons are overcrowded. America has become tough on crime and has raged a war on drugs. With strict mandatory sentencing laws, more people are spending time behind bars. Processing so many people takes both time and resources, two things most agencies do not have.

Private Attorneys Don’t Work Alone

Most private attorneys work as part of a team of criminal defense lawyers. These lawyers have the time and resources to dedicate to the case. They have a full staff that is able to communicate with their clients, and they keep them abreast of the case standing. The goal of all attorneys, both public and private, is to provide their clients with the best service possible. However, governmental budgeting limitations and an overly burdened judicial system, has caused many problems for the public defenders. The decision between a court-appointed lawyer and a private attorney is vast.

An Inexperienced Attorney Can Equal A Bad Outcome

A public defender may not have the expertise needed for a case. They may also not have the experience for the type of case they are handed. These public defenders are the “new kids on the block” in many cases. They have not built up a rapport with members in the legal community, which is another disadvantage of their clients. Keep in mind, many law students fresh out of school, work in the public defender’s office. It has become increasingly hard to get a job in today’s legal world. They join the public defender’s team to apply their classroom skills to the courtroom. A brand new attorney may be more frightened of the courtroom than their client. They can be intimidated by the prosecutor, who has years of criminal law experience. Consequently, they may not really understand the trial and plea bargain process either. If a person is faced with jail time and there is a threat of having their life stripped away, they should not put themselves in such a precarious situation.

Worth Every Penny

An experienced criminal attorney adds an extreme value to the case. In most instances, they have handled hundreds of clients, and there is no price tag that can be attached to their expertise. When it comes down to dollars and cents, there is no price that can be put on one’s freedom. Yes, a private attorney will require payment. A public defender works for free and is paid through a government contract. As the old saying goes, “you get what you pay for.” Don’t expect miracles from a person who has 100 other cases they are actively working. A criminal defense attorney has a whole team backing them up. They understand the process from beginning to end. They know tricks and other methods to stall the prosecution or to have the case thrown out of court. When it comes to a serious legal battle, the strategy is everything.

Playing The Legal Game

Those who do not have the financial resources, and must go utilize the services of a public defender, should not allow their case to fall by the way. If a court appointed attorney is not answering calls, not keeping their clients updated on the case, or is not fighting the case as they should; the client has the right to request a substitution of counsel. If at all possible, hiring a private attorney is always the best course of action. Get someone who has ample experience and can really fight. Right or wrong, it is all about how the battle goes down in court. Some call it a legal game because it is very much a game. You just need to make sure to have the right players on your team.

This article is by Michael Kotik, a top rated Philadelphia criminal attorney.