Why Getting Your Own Criminal Defense Attorney Is Important

Updated: Nov 6, 2020

If you are facing serious criminal charges in Los Angeles, you should consider getting your own criminal defense attorney.


A defense attorney acts as the defendant's guide, defender, and confidant within the dynamic criminal justice system. (At least that's how it is meant to be.) Defense lawyers are typically divided into two camps: government-paid court-appointed attorneys and defendant-paid private criminal defense attorneys.



California Public Defender vs. Private Criminal Defense Attorney


We have all seen a TV show in which a cop reads their Miranda Rights to a defendant. The cop claims the accused has the right to an attorney, and the state will pay for one for them if they can not afford one. Did you know, though, that the risk of spending prison time increases with a public defender vs. a private attorney? You want to mount the best possible defense, I'm sure. You would need a personal criminal defense attorney to do that. Let's analyze the pros and cons of a private attorney vs. a public defender.


A Public Defender's Pros and Cons


Next, we'll start with the most apparent pro; it's free for a public defender. The principle behind a public defender is to provide those who can not afford it with legal advice. The court will recommend a government salaried lawyer for your case if you are facing serious criminal charges. If you do have enough money, though, the state wants you to pay for your lawyer. Secondly, every day, public defenders consult with the same judges and prosecutors. When it is time for a plea bargain, the relationships public defenders have with judges and prosecutors may go against your defense.


For a public defender, their caseload is the greatest challenge. This is not their fault now. Our system of justice doesn't always work as expected. Therefore, the number of public defenders is much lower than it should be, forcing each prosecutor to take on a massive load of cases. On average, a public defender has 25 percent less time to commit to a criminal case than a thorough job is required. And when you go to trial, it is hard to get in contact with your court-appointed attorney.


Private Attorney's Pros and Disadvantages


Price is the only con to hiring a private attorney. You always get what you pay for in life, though. A personal criminal defense lawyer vs. a public defender varies wildly when it comes to cost. Your private attorney's expenses will depend on the kind of fees and the amount of work he/she plans to do.


The first prospect of employing a private criminal defense lawyer is their availability. Not only will a successful criminal defense attorney be available to you anytime you need them, but they will also have a team that will support you if they can not do it at any given time themselves. In your situation, having more tools at their disposal would also mean a better results.


Second, there is a much lower caseload for a private attorney. Lawyers are not going to take on more cases than they believe their workers can manage. It is their company that is, after all, on the line. A major difference between a California public defense attorney and a private attorney is reputation on their performance. No matter the results, a public defender gets more cases than they can handle.


Entry to more defense possibilities is another advantage of a private criminal defense lawyer. Because the defendant pays for the legal fees, a private criminal defense attorney may use trained witnesses or private labs to support their case. In a courtroom, these tools could make all the difference.


Statistics, Public Defender vs. Private California Criminal Defense Attorneys


There have been many studies devoted to identifying the difference between a public defender and a private lawyer. We focus on a report conducted on the state justice system in Ohio. This report, conducted by Morriss Hoffman, collected data from more than 5,200 Ohio cases.


Hoffman found that when you have a public defender, you are not only more likely to go to prison, but you are also more likely to complete a longer-term. Everyone who employs a private criminal defense attorney seeks a reduced term of three years on average. When choosing an attorney, don't put your rights at risk.


What's Does A Private California Criminal Defense Lawyer Do?


Private criminal defense attorneys investigate the evidence, investigate the case against their clients, and attempt to make agreements with their rivals (prosecutors). Such agreements may include reduced bail, lower fines, and reduced sentences. Deal-making has increased in significance and has become an essential element in unclogging the criminal justice system due to different factors, such as political and public pressure, overcrowded jails, and bloated court schedules.


Criminal defense lawyers also interview witnesses, help prepare a plea, assess the prosecution's argument, determine the possible penalties (and the possibility of a specific judge granting such a sentence), study protocols for search and capture, question witnesses, and collect evidence. Defense counsel may also advise on the effects of immigration or other consequences of a plea, prosecution, or criminal record.


Defense lawyers also offer more personal assistance by providing a reality check to the defendant about the potential consequences and by encouraging the defendant to cope with the frustrations and concerns arising from being thrown into the criminal justice system. And if no plea bargain can be made, of course, the prosecuting counsel represents the defendant at trial.


Legal Representation Cost


Private criminal defense lawyers charge either an hourly rate (expect to pay $150 an hour or more depending on your case) or a set or fixed fee. If your freedom is at risk, it's better to request a payment plan if you are short in funds. You will have better chances of staying out of jail when working with an attorney who will spend more time and resources on your defense.


When you select your own criminal defense attorney, you can interview many and select the one you are comfortable with. The right to free representation does not imply a right to preference on the lawyer's part. Usually, a defendant who has been assigned public defender does not get to pick and choose.


Is a private counsel better than a court-appointed lawyer?


Defendants often assume that private lawyers have a distinct advantage over the overworked office or jury attorneys of the public defender paying a minimum fee. But can private lawyers have more robust services than government-paid legal counsel appointed by the court?


Data appears to suggest that the outcomes for offenders are better when working with a private criminal defense attorney, based on research comparing the effects of hiring a personal or court-appointed attorney. For instance, one study found that in conviction rates and sentencing, defendants represented by private criminal defense attorney and public defenders were better worse when working with a court appointed attorney.


Ultimately, regardless of whether he or she is a public defender, or private criminal defense lawyer, the experience, expertise, and dedication of the individual attorney at hand are the best measure of the representation's consistency.


(Pro se) Self-Representation


What is apparent is that it is almost always the safest choice to be represented by a lawyer—nonetheless, several criminal suspects self-represent. Ultimately, the judge, not the defendant, decides as to whether a defendant should represent himself. The judge is expected to determine the competency of the defendant.


That is because, even though the defendant has the right to refuse the services of a court-appointed counsel, a defendant who does not offer a professional defense can not get a fair trial. A judge will weigh factors such as: when deciding whether a defendant should go pro se,

  • The severity of the offense.

  • The language skills of the defendant and schooling.

  • Whether the defendant knows the essence of the proceedings and whether

  • If the defendant gives up his/her right to counsel knowingly.

Find Pre-Screened Criminal Defense Attorneys.


Look for a pre-screened and reputable attorney who works exclusively with criminal defense cases and is familiar with the jurisdiction (city or county) where charges are pending. The judges and attorneys in that field would be acquainted with a local attorney.


How To Find a How A Criminal Defense Attorney in Los Angeles?

  1. You can submit a request online 24 hours a day. Free case review within 15 minutes.

  2. By chat, you'll be connected with a Los Angeles criminal defense attorney within 5 minutes.

  3. By calling the 24-hour lawyer referral hotline at 1-661-310-7999

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