Being charged with a crime can be scary given the implications involved with a criminal conviction. If you want to protect your freedom and your future as fully as possible, then you need to figure out the best way to defend yourself in your criminal proceedings. Depending on your income, you may qualify for the services of a public defender at little or no cost. This can be an easy way for you to obtain representation, but before accepting the appointment of one of these attorneys, you should really ask yourself if they’re your best criminal defense option.
The risks of being represented by a public defender
The truth of the matter is that there are some very skilled and experienced public defenders out there. But not all public defenders are created equally. Therefore, it’s important that you know the risks associated with being represented by one of these attorneys so that you can make the criminal defense choice that are right for you. So, let’s look at some of those risks:
- Lack of experience: As we mentioned, there are a fair number of public defenders who have a lot of experience. However, there’s also a significant number of them who are new law school graduates trying to get a foothold in the profession. These attorneys may not have the knowledgebase, then, to give you the most aggressive representation possible. They may be unfamiliar with some aspects of the law, and they may struggle to make proper objections and respond appropriately to the prosecution’s objections. This can leave your case at both the trial and appellate levels in jeopardy.
- High caseload: Most public defenders have a massive caseload, which leaves them stressed and overworked. As a result, they oftentimes focus on managing their caseload rather than assessing the best legal strategy for each individual case. As a result, many people who are represented by a public defender find themselves pushed toward a plea bargain, even if they feel like such a resolution wouldn’t necessarily be in their best interests.
- Limited time: On account of their high caseloads, public defenders tend to the lack the time necessary to devote to their cases. You therefore might be left uninformed about developments in your case, and it might be hard for you to get your questions answered.
- Lack of resources: Public defender agencies are notoriously under-funded. This means that they may lack the resources needed to ensure that you have the best criminal defense possible. This could include securing expert testimony or having a private investigator delve into the alleged crime further.
- Lack of choice: When you’re appointed a public defender, you don’t get to choose which attorney is assigned to you. This means that you’re stuck with your attorney without being able to research his or her skill or rate of success. This could leave you and your case with a criminal defense that is far less than you deserve.
Choosing the criminal defense representation that is right for you
We know that you’re stressed and anxious about the criminal charges that have been levied against you. But you can’t rush your decision regarding legal representation. Doing so could put you at a greater risk of conviction and facing the harshest penalties allowable under the law. Therefore, we encourage you to fully research your representation options. That way you can choose the criminal defense team that will help you develop the persuasive legal arguments that you need on your side to give you the best chance possible of achieving a favorable outcome.