Being arrested and charged with a crime can be a terrifying experience. You may be thinking about legal representation and wondering what the differences are with a public defender vs private attorney.
There are pros and cons to each, which is why it’s imperative to weigh your options carefully. In most cases, hiring a private attorney is better, especially if you are facing serious charges.
What You Get With a Public Defender
One of the most common things people ask at their initial consultation is, Is it better to have a public defender or a private lawyer?
With a public defender, you are represented by someone who is paid by the government. You cannot choose who your public defender is.
The upside with a public defender versus private attorney is you are not paying out of pocket for legal fees. Public defenders also work with the same prosecutors regularly, so they may be well-positioned to negotiate favorable plea agreements.
Unfortunately, public defenders are almost always overworked and underpaid. With a heavy caseload, you aren’t likely to get a lot of time with your attorney.
You may find yourself feeling like you have not had enough time to discuss your case with your lawyer. And not everyone is eligible for a public defender.
You must fill out an application asking for a public defender to represent you. A judge will review your personal financial circumstances and determine whether you qualify for a public defender.
What You Get With a Private Attorney
When you hire a private defense attorney over a public defender, you can choose your own lawyer. That means you can interview multiple attorneys and find the one you connect with most. You can also choose someone with experience defending clients with charges similar to yours. With a public defender, you have no idea what types of cases they’ve handled in the past.
A private attorney may have a lower caseload, and they can devote the time necessary to get a favorable outcome in your case. Usually, you will have an easier time contacting a private attorney than a public defender.
The only real downside with a private attorney is the cost. You will be paying for legal fees and expenses, whereas a public defender is assigned to those who can’t afford to hire their own counsel.
Why a Private Criminal Defense Attorney May Be Your Best Choice
In almost every criminal matter, hiring a Minnesota criminal defense attorney is the better option. You have the benefit of an attorney who has the necessary skills and experience, and they aren’t struggling with unmanageable caseloads like most public defenders are.
Your private attorney should have more time to investigate your case. Most public defenders are rushing from case to case, and may not have the time to carefully consult with each client.
Serious criminal offenses require serious choices to be made during the course of the case. It’s important that you have time to talk through options with your lawyer before making impactful decisions.
We have over a decade of experience helping clients just like you. Let us put our knowledge and expertise to work for you and build the best defense possible.
Attorney John Arechigo has a passion for criminal defense in St. Paul, MN. John received his J.D., from Hamline University School of Law and also carries a Bachelor of Arts from, The University of Minnesota. John was named Attorney of the Year for 2019 by Minnesota Lawyer. Additionally, John was also named as a 2019 Rising Star and was selected to Minnesota Super Lawyers in 2021. He devotes nearly 100% of his practice to defending individuals charged with a crime.