Public Defender Vs. Criminal Defense Attorney

What's the difference between a public defender and a criminal defense lawyer?

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American Association for Justice

When someone is arrested the arresting police officer will read the accused their Miranda Rights.

Miranda Rights are typically read by police officers in the following way:

"You have the right to remain silent. Anything you say can and will be held against you in a court of law. You have the right to speak to an attorney. You have the right to have an attorney present during questioning. If you cannot afford an attorney, one will be appointed for you. Do you understand these rights?"

An important side note here is that you have the right to remain silent! Do not speak or answer any questions from the police without a lawyer present.

When the officer says "If you cannot afford an attorney, one will be appointed for you." Police officers are referring to Public Defenders.

Before you decide to let a public defender represent you know there are many disadvantages. If you have been charged with a crime it is very important you have the strongest defense possible on your side. It is to your benefit to hire a criminal defense lawyer that dedicate the time and resources to your case.

Below we will go into the advantages and disadvantages of public defenders and criminal defense lawyers.

What does a public defender do?

A public defender acts as legal representation appointed by the court. the public defender represents indigent people that have been charged with a crime but cannot afford a private criminal defense lawyer. If you can afford a private criminal defense lawyer we explain what's makes a great criminal defense lawyer at the bottom of this page. The Sixth Amendment of the Constitution guarantees free legal help for people who are charged with a crime that might lead to imprisonment and who cannot afford a criminal defense lawyer.

The Sixth Amendment of the Constitution states:

"In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial, by an impartial jury of the State and district wherein the crime shall have been committed, which district shall have been previously ascertained by law, and to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation; to be confronted with the witnesses against him; to have compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his favor, and to have the Assistance of Counsel for his defense."

One of the biggest problems with public defenders is their caseload. Many of them have hundreds of cases at any time. According to stltoday.com judges have said the long waitlist keeps people imprisoned for an inordinate amount of time. Because of this judges call the current system Unconstitutional.

Dozens and dozens of articles have been written by the press about public defenders in Missouri. Many articles report an overload of work and at the same time cuts to the budget for public defenders.

Overworked public defender with lots of cases

Disadvantages of a public defender

Unfortunately, there are many disadvantages when letting a public defender represent you or a loved one in court.

Public defenders work for the government. A public defender is someone whom the court appoints to the case. When defendants cannot afford to hire a private lawyer and who requests one to be appointed, a public defender will be provided. Therefore, the defendant does not have to pay for his or her public defender.

The number one difference most people notice between a public defender and a private criminal defense attorney is you most likely will not be able to communicate with your public defender until the day of the trial. This puts you at a massive disadvantage. If you have been charged with a crime you need to prepare the best defense possible. Your lawyer should be trying everything possible to get your charges lowered or dismissed.

Public defenders typically have hundreds of cases at any one time. Defendants are treated like a cattle calls and encouraged to take a plea bargain. Public defenders will most likely not put up any fight with the prosecutor by giving your case any extra attention. Public defenders simply do not have the time or incentive to give your case the attention it deserves.

With a Public Defender, you do not get to choose who represents you. You may not be able to qualify for a public defender if you make too much money.

Krupp Law Firm working on the clients case at a desk

Advantages of a public defender

The only advantage to a public defender is you do not have to pay.

Advantages of a criminal defense lawyer

Not all private attorneys are the same. Keep in mind you need the best private attorney to defend you. A great private attorney will offer what's listed and more.

You Choose Your Lawyer

With a private attorney you choose and control who represents you in court and trial. it is very important that you connect and feel at ease with your attorney. A professional attorney can take away a lot of stress during the entire process.

They have experience and training.

Great private attorneys go above and beyond basic education and law school. They continue their education for their entire career. This helps them stay up to date on new laws and laws that have been modified by the government. They also train in labs to have a better understanding of law enforcement procedures and equipment.

Great private attorneys like The Krupp Law Firm also involve themselves in the legal community by offering training and guidance to students and new lawyers.

They understand the ins and outs of the legal system.

Great private attorneys practice every day and are involved in many trials. Cheaper attorneys may only be working part-time or taking cases they can churn and burn. Cheap attorneys often have to take on many cases to be able to stay in business. Most of these cases result in sub-par outcomes even though the consequences are serious for their clients.

They understand the charges and consequences.

Great private attorneys are tough trial attorneys who understand the loopholes and pitfalls of the justice system. They know the law to the letter. They have extensive education on prior cases that they can use to help you during a trial. They have a better understanding and deeper library of prior cases that may affect the outcome of your case.

They have connections to expert witnesses.

Great attorneys have connections to many expert witnesses. Expert witnesses play an important role in the judicial process. The main purpose of an expert witness is to provide their independent opinion within the area of their expertise based on the information that is provided. There are many types of expert witnesses such as:

  • Medical
  • Vocational
  • Forensic
  • Securties
  • Mental health
  • Family relationships
  • Parenting
and many more. Expert witnesses may have the knowledge needed for your case to prove your innocence during trial.

Disadvantages of a criminal defense lawyer

The only real disadvantage to hiring a private criminal defense lawyer over a public defender is the cost. When you hire a private criminal defense attorney compensation allows them to build the strongest defense possible. It gives the appropriate amount of time to focus on your case.

Hiring The Best Criminal Defense Lawyer In St. Louis Missouri

Private attorneys are not all alike. Keep in mind with a private attorney you get what you pay for. If a private attorney offers their services for cheap they probably take on many more cases or offer lackluster service. When you are charged with a crime you want the best attorney you can possibly get. If a private attorney is cheap that also takes away from the resources the attorney has to work on the case. If you have been charged with a crime you need an attorney that takes your case seriously by putting in the hours necessary to provide you with the best criminal defense possible. Attorneys invest heavily into extra training to understand police and the equipment the police use.

Krupp Law Firm is not a cheap law firm. They provide top-of-the-line service to a select number of clients. They work extremely hard for you and have over 200+ 5 star reviews on Google to back up their claims.  It is critically important to work with a law firm that is knowledgeable, trustworthy, experienced, and whose approach to representation suits your case and personality. If you have been charged with a crime there can be serious repercussions, don't waste precious time, call us today!

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