New Jersey Criminal Defense Lawyer Eric Mark Discusses the difference between a Private Lawyer and a Public Defender.
Public defenders are lawyers who get paid by the state to provide defense for
defendants who cannot afford a lawyer.
The three most important differences are:
1. You get to choose your private lawyer. If you get a public defender you
don’t like for whatever reason, you are stuck with him or her. Not all
public defenders are bad. Not all private attorneys are good. Your
ability to interview and select your lawyer is critical.
2. Attention: public defenders have huge case loads and limited time.
Generally, you will meet your public defender the first time you go to
court and only see your public defender on court dates for a few
minutes as they handle 15- 50 clients. They are not going to
investigate or look in to your case until months into the court process,
by which time valuable information, witnesses and evidence could be
lost. I start investigating and preparing a case at our first meeting,
which can change the way the case is resolved.
3. Accessibility: You will have many questions and concerns as the case
progresses. When you want to ask questions, you will have a very
difficult time getting in touch with a public defender. I generally
return phone calls and emails the same day I receive them and I am
happy to meet in my office as long as I am not in court. You’ll find
getting answers to your questions during the court process will
alleviate a lot of your stress, concern and confusion.
Realistically, there is no comparison. You are much better off with a private attorney
to defend you. If you are trying to decide between a private lawyer or a public
defender, or which lawyer to hire, give me a call; I’m happy to discuss it with you.
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