If you have recently been accused of a crime and have been looking for representation, you have likely come across the terms “public defender” and “private attorney.” It is important to understand the difference between these two types of legal representation. Continue reading to learn more about public defenders vs. private attorneys.
Public Defenders Vs. Private Attorneys
A public defender is a court-appointed professional attorney that is assigned to individuals who cannot afford private counsel and are at risk of their freedom being taken away if they are convicted. A private attorney is what most people think of when they think of a lawyer. Private attorneys are contacted directly by the client and retained for their services. Both public defenders and private attorneys are accredited by law schools and can have specific areas of expertise.
Qualifications For A Public Defender To Represent You
It is important to understand that there are certain qualifications that an individual must have in order to be represented by a public defender. If you have the means to pay for a private attorney, then you will most likely not be appointed a public defender. If you are employed, then there is a possibility your income will be too high to have a public defender represent you. If you would like the services of a public defender, then you will need to fill out a form that explains your financial situation. If the judge signs off on it, then a public defender will be assigned to your case.
Communication With Your Attorney
Due to being appointed many cases and being overworked, public defenders are quite difficult to get a hold of. A lot of their time is spent in court, meaning that there is very little time for communication with clients. Private attorneys have much more flexible schedules because they are able to choose which cases they will take. That means that private attorneys will be more available for appointments and will be quicker to respond to calls and emails. If you value more consistent communication, then private attorneys are the better option.
Private Attorneys Have More Time
Public defenders strive to represent their clients to the very best of their ability. However, due to their high workload, it can be difficult for them to allocate the amount of time needed for their cases. By having more flexibility with their workload, private attorneys are able to dedicate more time to do an in-depth review of the evidence to prepare for a defense.
More Choices With A Private Attorney
When you use the legal services of a public defender, you will be appointed a certain attorney. You will likely have very little choice as to which attorney will be defending you. But with a private law firm, you will be able to meet the different lawyers that work at the firm and request certain people to represent you. You will also be able to ask more questions about how each person would handle your case, whether they will be assisted by other attorneys, and if there are legal assistants or paralegals working on your case.
Do You Need Legal Representation?
If you are living in Utah and are looking for legal representation, I, Zachary Holbrook, am at your service. I will assist you with all your legal needs, including reviewing your case, offering legal advice, and representing you in court. I have extensive experience with criminal defense cases that revolve around many different types of crime. For more information about my legal services or to set up an appointment, feel free to reach out to me today.