By: Frances Prizzia | Criminal & DUI Defense

Being arrested can be one of the most frightening experiences of your life. If you have been charged with a crime, you will be given two options for your defense: a court-appointed public defender or a private attorney. While public defenders are provided to criminal defendants at no cost, defendants who opt for a public defender when they can afford a private attorney oftentimes end up putting themselves at a disadvantage in court – a dangerous proposition when considering that their future and freedom may be on the line. If you are on the fence regarding whether to retain the services of a criminal defense lawyer for your case, it is important you consider the following factors to ensure your best interests are guarded during this difficult time.

  1. Experience: While some public defenders are highly knowledgeable professionals with years of experience, many are fresh out of law school and are looking to gain experience before joining a private form or starting their own practice. Private attorneys, on the other hand, are often specialized in handling criminal cases and have practiced for several years, allowing them to provide the invaluable insight needed to maximize your chances of securing a favorable outcome for your case.
  2. Caseloads: Since many people are unable to afford to hire a lawyer for their criminal cases, public defenders are often saddled with massive caseloads and can potentially be juggling hundreds of cases at once. Because of this, public defenders are often more prone to making mistakes, have less time to prepare, and may not have a personal investment in the outcome of your case. Private attorneys often intentionally limit their caseload in order to dedicate the necessary time and attention to each case, allowing them to pursue the best possible results for their clients.
  3. Consistency: While a defendant may be paired with a fantastic public defender at the onset, the chances that they will represent their case throughout its entirety are slim. It is not uncommon for public defenders to be bounced around and be reassigned from case to case, causing a defendant to have multiple lawyers represent them throughout different stages of their trial. Choosing a private attorney will ensure that you have a single advocate by your side throughout your entire case, allowing your lawyer to become better acquainted with your situation and find weaknesses in the prosecution's claims.
  4. Resources: Since defendants who retain private representation are paying for legal services and related legal costs, they often have more resources available to them than they would with a public defender. Private attorneys often utilize expert witnesses, private laboratories, and private investigators to uncover important evidence that will aid the defense. Similarly, private lawyers also have additional staff, associates and paralegals that can help with your case.

Since the quality of your legal representation can potentially be the deciding factor between a guilty and not-guilty verdict, when the stakes are high and your freedom is on the line, you cannot afford to go with a less qualified attorney. At the Law Office of Frances Prizzia, our award-winning Orange County criminal defense lawyers have more than a decade's worth of experience defending the rights of accused clients and can provide the aggressive representation you need to help you pursue a favorable outcome for your case. With honest and straightforward guidance backed by numerous trial victories, we have what it takes to help you get through this difficult time.

Call (888) 392-8114 or schedule a free case review online today to get started.

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