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Your Defense: Using a Private Attorney, a Public Defender or Self-Representation

Interviewer: When people are facing these charges, some of them probably think, “I’ll just get a pubic defender or maybe I’ll defend it myself.” What would you say is the good and the bad of having a public defender versus defending yourself versus having a private attorney?

Adam: If you hire a private attorney, I’m not going to say that will guarantee you a better outcome. However, typically they will get you a better outcome. A public defender is not going to put enough time or effort into it as would retained counsel.

Interviewer: I’ve heard that public defenders can have a big caseload and they can be overwhelmed.

Adam: Right. They could be busy. Most of the time you’re going to meet with a public defender maybe once, and they’re going to try to get you to plea into something. I’m not going to say they’re going to commit malpractice if you have a legitimate winnable case, but they’re just not going to put the effort in.

A Public Defender May Not be Able to Restore Your Driver’s License

Interviewer: When you’re facing a DUI, you’re facing not only the possibility of losing your driver’s license with the DMV, but you’re also facing the criminal side of the case. From what I’ve heard, public defenders aren’t allowed to address the driver’s license issue. Is that true?

Adam: It depends which court you’re in, to a degree, but they really won’t be able to address that. They probably won’t address it quickly. It may be difficult to even get be able to meet with them to try to get your license reinstated or at least get you limited privileges.

You’re only one of numerous clients that they’re handling. They probably have a several other clients that are in the same predicament and they might not devote the time to your individual case.
By Adam Hunt

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