top of page

Before You Call The California Public Defender's Office

Updated: Nov 26, 2020

A California Public Defender May Not Be The Best Choice For Your Criminal Case

If you have been charged with a misdemeanor of a felony in California, you may be wondering what is the best criminal defense to avoid going to jail. In this article, we will discuss why hiring a California public defender isn't always a good idea when you are facing serious jail time along with financial and emotional suffering for you and your family.

california public defender office

What Is A California Public Defender?

A California public defender is a court appointed government employee who works as a criminal defense lawyer with people who cannot afford to pay for private criminal legal defense.

Because the court appoints the public defender to each criminal case, you the defendant, have no say on who is best suited for your particular set of circumstances and criminal charges.

As government employees, California public defenders usually earn much less than a private criminal defense attorney. Since they earn a fixed salary, their case load can be huge thus they must allocate their attention to dozens, sometimes hundreds of criminal cases at the same time which makes public defenders impossible to provide adequate legal representation in a criminal case.

The scene in many California courtrooms is the same, public defenders meet a few minutes before going in front of the judge. The lucky ones get only 5 minutes of legal advice before they enter a plea that can have a tremendous impact in their lives.

Most local public defenders office don't have paralegals, investigators or the support of law clerks. Public defenders are expected to wear different hats and take on all the responsibilities associated with misdemeanor and felony cases from start to finish.

Actual time spent in a criminal defense case VS recommended time spent.

california criminal defense lawyers

According to the U.S. Department of Justice, approximately 80% of criminal defendants cannot afford to pay for a private California criminal defense attorney. Their heavy case loads inevitably have repercussions such as:

  • Poor and inadequate legal defense.

  • A public defender will only do whats required to close a criminal case file and move on to the next case.

  • Because the public defender is appointed by the court, very often there's a conflict of personalities or simply lack of communication with their clients.

  • Public defenders are very often over-worked and so they are more likely to overlook mistakes by the prosecutor.

  • According to the Bureau of Justice Statistics, public defenders average close to 600 criminal cases per year, that's approximately 50 cases a month (The American Bar Association recommends 10-12 cases per month for an effective defense)

  • A California public defender is more likely to seek a plea deal without pursuing the best legal strategy to minimize jail time and fines.

  • Limited resources and support.

  • Not enough time to prepare an effective defense due to heavy case loads.

  • The inability to pay attention to detail.

  • Since they must work with a lot of defendants, they lack the motivation for personalized attention and dedication to your case.

In most serious criminal defense cases, public defenders spend little time in most important tasks that can make a difference in a criminal defense outcome.

best california criminal defense lawyers

Hiring a California Criminal Defense Lawyer

There's no doubt that hiring your own California criminal defense lawyer is the best alternative to defend yourself in court. However, hiring a criminal defense lawyer also has its own set of challenges.

California has one of the highest occurrences of attorney misconduct that lead to suspensions and disbarments.

How do you know who is the best California criminal defense lawyer for your criminal defense case when all of them claim to be the best choice? Understandably, criminal defense lawyers want to earn your business and therefore they will sell themselves as the best alternative.

california public defenders office

It is up to you to make an informed decision, by conducting and extensive research on a criminal defense lawyer's background, experience, ethical standards, credentials, education, and past performance.

You can use the California State Bar's attorney search tool to get some information about the attorney you are considering hiring. However, it doesn't have any information about client reviews and past performance so you still need to dig a little deeper.

You can also request a recommendation to a pre-screened California criminal defense lawyer for a free consultation. If your freedom and financial stability are at stake, you cannot afford to make the wrong decision. Take your time, choosing the right criminal defense lawyer will have an impact on the outcome of your case.

Related articles:


Best Lawyers Near Los Angeles

California State Bar Certified Lawyer Referral And Information Service

Welcome to, a Lawyer Referral and Information Service certified and approved by the California State Bar.

"Our commitment is to provide you with unbiased and impartial lawyer referrals."


Unlike other services, we maintain complete independence from the lawyers receiving these referrals, ensuring transparency and fairness.

While we specialize in California employment law and personal injury claims, we offer our referral services for various other legal areas.


At, we aim to ensure you are connected with best California attorney near you who can provide comprehensive and exceptional representation for your specific legal needs.


We understand that every legal situation is unique and are dedicated to finding the best match for you.


With our extensive network of attorneys, we strive to deliver outstanding legal support and guidance tailored to your individual requirements.

At, we hold California attorneys to the highest standards of professional conduct.


Your satisfaction and confidence in the legal representation you receive are paramount to us.


Rest assured that when you engage in our services, you can expect nothing less than exceptional legal support and guidance.

Why Lawyer Referrals Matter


The California State Bar investigates on average 16,000 complaints of professional misconduct by attorneys annually.

We conduct due diligence by researching and recommending the best local attorney for your case. 


Our team of experts verifies that attorneys are in good standing and have the required experience in the type of law related to your legal issue. 

Learn more about attorney discipline here.


Our History 


Since 2005, we have been dedicated to helping individuals find reliable legal representation in California.


We understand the challenges people face when trying to locate reputable lawyers, especially when inundated with self-promoting advertisements and biased marketing from law firms.


At our service, we strive to cut through the noise and provide a trustworthy and unbiased platform for connecting individuals with reputable California lawyers.


Our clients receive quality legal representation without the frustration and uncertainty often associated with legal advertising.

How the LRS Works 

Anyone seeking competent and honest legal representation in California, can request a FREE lawyer referral. 

Once you submit your case details online, our legal 24-hour legal department will review your claim and reply via email. Most cases are reviewed and answered within 15 minutes. 


A free 30 minute consultation with the attorney will be offered to each referred client. 

A representative will follow up a few days later via email with the client after receiving a referral for quality management purposes, or to obtain the status of the case. 

About lawyers from our network

California lawyers in our network are insured, in good standing with the California State Bar, and have substantial experience in their practice area.


Attorneys are available in most areas of law throughout Southern California. Every lawyer in or network has been vetted for:

  • Credentials

  • Education

  • Communication skills

  • Performance

  • Client reviews

  • Fair legal fees

  • Continuing education

  • Professional affiliations

Additionally, we conduct criminal  background checks and attorneys are always monitored by our service.  

How to find the best lawyer for your legal case: 

1. The fastest way to have your legal issue reviewed by one of our attorneys is to send your details online.


Your information will go directly to our 24 hour legal department bypassing our call center. You will get a reply via email within 15 minutes. 

2. You may also inquire about your legal issue via email. We respond to email inquiries within 24 hours M-F. 

3. By calling our lawyer referral hotline 661-310-7999. However, our agents are not attorneys and cannot provide legal advice. Due to high call volumes, it's highly recommended that you use option # 1 above. 


Simple Retro Handyman Service Badge Logo-2.png
bottom of page