If you have been charged of a crime, only an experienced criminal defence lawyer can help you manage the case and get the best results possible. The problem is many defendants cannot afford the services a private lawyer so that the court appoints a public defender for no-cost representation. Other defendants do not qualify for free legal representation based on their current financial status.
Will a public defender fight for you?
Public defenders, judges, prosecutors, police officers and court personnel get their salaries from the government. This is the reason why many defendants assume that the public defender is on the same camp, loyalty-wise. It is very rare for the fears to be justified because the public defender does not need to curry favour from the judge or prosecutor. Public defenders are hired by the state or federal government. The public defender can work hard to win your case even if he has cordial relationships with the judge and prosecutor or even the police officers. Relatively new public defenders can work on your bail motions and arraignment but the more senior and experienced lawyers will represent you during trials and sentence hearings.
Advantages of having a private criminal defence lawyer
It is for your own peace of mind to hire a private lawyer for legal representation but your best option is a lawyer who has specialized in criminal law and with experience in the courthouse where your case will be tried. Although there are laws that are similar to other states, procedures in the courthouse may vary. For example, one county may not have plea bargaining policy with respect to certain offenses but the neighbouring county may allow a guilty plea before trial. Local lawyers have good relationships with prosecutors and know how certain police officers perform in court.
Modern criminal law is so complex that there are certain lawyers with specializations in certain offenses like drunk driving, money-related offenses, tax fraud, embezzlement or drug crimes. It is perfectly appropriate to opt for a criminal defence lawyer who has represented other defendants on the same offenses. For example, if you have been charged with drunk driving, the lawyer must have dealt with a high percentage of cases that involve people charged with drunk driving. Since more private criminal lawyers have extensive experience as prosecutor or public defender before going to private practice, it is very likely that they have local experience.
Since lawyer-client relationship is very important, choose someone that you will be comfortable to talk openly with. There are lawyers who treat their clients as their equal partners in the decision-making process. They explain everything in a way that a client will understand. They have personal concern over their client’s situation with a genuine desire to help.
All persons who are accused of a crime are presumed innocent until convicted. Criminal defence lawyers will present their own witnesses to impress upon the juries that the defendant does not have to face prison time and has not committed the crime as alleged. The prosecutor tries to convince the jury of the defendant’s guilt while the defence lawyer proves his client’s innocence.