The Downside of Using Public Defenders

Arrested in Miami? Who will serve as defense lawyer to represent you throughout your case? Many people are concerned about the costs associated with retaining legal representation after their arrest. While a public defender may seem like the best alternative if money is an issue, there may be certain disadvantages when using these attorneys.

Qualifying for a Public Defender

Not all individuals qualify for a public defender. Depending on how much money you make, you may be required to hire a private attorney or pay a portion of the public defender’s fee. To determine your eligibility for government-provided legal representation, the court will ask you to provide a list of your assets and income. Please note that lying to the court about your finances to avoid being forced to retain your own private attorney is a crime. If you do this, you could face an additional charge for falsifying information.

Disadvantages of Using a Public Defender

Although you may be entitled to utilize the services of a public defender for free or at a low cost to you, this isn’t always the best option. It isn’t that public defenders are bad lawyers; in fact, some of them enter this field in order to help individuals who otherwise cannot afford private representation. However, public defenders might face certain limitations that private defense lawyers do not.

A major disadvantage of using public defenders is that they are often overworked and have a large number of cases they must handle at any given time. If the public defender has a large case load, he or she may not be able to devote much time to your particular case. As a result, your case may suffer. Private attorneys may be able to provide your case with more attention.

It’s also worth noting that public defenders may have limited means in some cases and may not be able to utilize certain resources for your case. Some services, such as interpreters or expert witnesses, may be provided, though, as long as those services are considered reasonable to your defense.

Public defenders only can represent clients in criminal cases, especially when there is the threat of jail time. If you are arrested for a crime such as driving under the influence, your public defender cannot represent you at the administrative license suspension hearing conducted by the Department of Motor Vehicles.

Contact a Defense Attorney

Don’t let something as important as your freedom and future rest in the hands of a public defender who may not have the time necessary to dedicate to preparing your defense. The Falk & Ross Law Firm is dedicated to helping Florida residents who have been accused of committing a crime. To learn more about how legal representation can help you at this critical time, please call us at 1-305-741-6997 or 877-663-5110 today to schedule an appointment for a free consultation with a defense lawyer at our Miami office.