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Conway Criminal Law Blog

Criminal Defense Lawyer vs a Public Defender

If you’ve been arrested for any kind of criminal offense in South Carolina, you must make many life-changing decisions. These include how you’ll plead your case, your defense strategy, the possibility and consequences of accepting a plea deal, and whether you should settle for the public defender the court assigned to you or hire your own South Carolina criminal defense lawyer.

To help you decide between hiring a criminal defense lawyer or sticking it out with a public defender, here’s a look at the main differences between criminal defense lawyers and public defenders.


You will not have to pay anything if a public defender represents you because the government pays them. However, hiring a private criminal defense lawyer is not as costly as you may think. The cost will typically depend on the complexity and gravity of the case, the criminal charges you’re facing, and how much work is required to win your case, including working with expert witnesses and conducting independent investigations, among many others.


You can choose which South Carolina criminal defense lawyer to hire and represent you. On the other hand, you can’t pick which public defender to work with because the court will assign one for you. You want a criminal defense lawyer who’s fully invested in your case. Unfortunately, this is something that most public defenders just do not have the time and luxury to do so. They will work for a defendant simply because the court requires them to.


Unfortunately, public defenders don’t have the same resources that private South Carolina criminal defense lawyers have, and the best defense strategies require extensive and thorough research, time, and investigation. With a private lawyer, you can rest assured that they will devote all the time and resources needed to secure the best possible outcome for your case.


Because public defenders must take every case assigned to them or risk losing their jobs, they just do not have as much time, attention, and energy that private South Carolina criminal defense lawyers have to work on your case. While a public defender may want to use the time they have to work on your case, the government pays them the same amount regardless of how many criminal cases they are working on.

Unfortunately, an overworked and underpaid public defender might also overlook a crucial element in your case that can mean the difference between winning your case and going to jail.

Get In Touch With an Experienced South Carolina Criminal Defense Lawyer

Put simply, if you are facing any kind of criminal charge that can ruin your life, you will need a South Carolina criminal defense lawyer who will dedicate their time, resources, experience, and expertise to your case. Don’t make the mistake of settling for a random public defender.

To learn more about your case and what our South Carolina criminal defense lawyer can do for you, contact The Law Office of Brad C. Richardson, LLC, by phone or online, and arrange your case review today.