Should I Use a Public Defender Instead of Hiring a Criminal Defense Lawyer?

Accused of criminal charges? Get professional advice from a former Colorado Springs prosecutor. Call local criminal defense attorney James Newby.
Wednesday, 13 April 2016

The reality is that relying on a public defender if there is any chance you could hire a committed private Colorado Springs defense lawyer is a risky proposition. 

Not because the attorneys who work at the public defender’s office are bad lawyers, don’t have your best interests at heart, or won’t work hard to protect your rights – they aren’t, they do, and they will. But the reality is you may not qualify for a public defender due to your income, and even if you do, they simply may not be able to adequately protect you from the consequences of a conviction.

Here are three reasons not to use a public defender if at all possible:

1. Your public defender may have only minutes to devote to your defense.

In Colorado and across the country, public defenders are overwhelmed with cases. Too many criminal defendants need to rely on too few public defenders in offices which can’t get the money to hire additional lawyers. There are simply not enough attorneys in the public defenders’ office to properly handle all of the cases they are assigned. Each public defender may have hundreds of cases to defend on any given time. With that kind of overwhelming caseload, there just aren’t enough hours or days to give each defendant the effort and attention they need to mount a thorough or effective defense. How confident would you feel about your future with a criminal defense lawyer who only was able to devote a few minutes to your criminal case?

2. Your public defender may lack the resources necessary for a good defense.

A lot goes in to putting together a defense that can defeat the charges against you -  interviewing witnesses, hiring investigators, gathering and analyzing evidence, and retaining experts who can testify as to critical issues. Just like public defenders lack the time to devote to such efforts, they may lack the money and resources to engage in these activities that are essential to defending you, leaving you with significantly greater risk of being convicted.

3. Your public defender may push you to enter a guilty plea.

With so many cases to defend, public defenders can be under a great deal of pressure to get as many matters resolved as quickly as possible. What’s the quickest way to resolve a criminal case? Enter a guilty plea. While there are certainly situations in which entering into a plea agreement is the smart strategic decision, it is a choice that should be based on the merits of the case, not because the attorney is too busy and needs to move on to their next case.

Whether it is years behind bars, thousands of dollars in fines, or a criminal record that will follow you for decades, the consequences of a criminal conviction will have a huge impact on your life going forward. Don’t shortchange your chances of avoiding these results by relying on an overworked and understaffed public defender’s office. If you can, hire an experienced Colorado Springs criminal defense lawyer who can devote the necessary time and attention to you and your case.

Colorado Springs Criminal Defense Attorney James NewbyCall us (719) 247-2700

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James Newby Law
128 S Tejon St #402
Colorado Springs, CO 80903
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