If you’ve been charged with a crime and are needing some type of legal counsel, you might be tempted to save yourself some money by simply using a public defender. However, if you’re wanting the absolute best representation for you in a court of law, getting a public defender may not be the ideal choice.
To help you see why this is, here are three reasons why a public defender may not be the best legal counsel for you in a criminal case.
You Have No Choice In Who You Work With
When you have a public defender as your legal counsel, you aren’t actually able to choose what public defender you wind up working with or who exactly will represent you. And because your best chance of beating your charges is by having someone with case-specific experience representing you, this could be a big negative for you.
According to Paul Bergman and Sara J. Bergman, contributors to Nolo.com, when you’re being given a public defender, it’s often just the person who’s assigned to that courtroom for the day or who’s taking on those types of cases at that time. And once the judge appoints a public defender to you, if can often be hard to get a new one if you decide that you don’t particularly like how things are going with the one you’ve been given.
You Won’t Get Much Time Spent With You Or On Your Case
Public defenders are notoriously overworked. Because that have so many cases that they need to get through on any given day, they simply can’t afford to spend a lot of time on any one case, which means your case likely won’t be given a lot of time and thought before you’re in court.
Additionally, HG.org shares that many people who use public defenders only see them for a few minutes before they enter a plea. So if you were thinking that you and your public defender would meet and strategize together before your court date, you’re likely going to be very disappointed.
You Might End Up In Jail For Longer Periods Of Time
Because public defenders have large caseloads, Alexa Van Brunt, a contributor to The Guardian, shares that continuances are often used if and when the public defender does need more time to look at your case. And while this might seem like a good thing that your case is getting a little more attention, it could also mean that you spend more time in jail while you wait for your case to be heard.
If you’re needing someone to defend you in a court of law, you might want to seriously consider hiring your own counsel rather than relying on a public defender.