If you’ve been arrested, you’ve heard the following:
- You have the right to remain silent.
- Anything you say can and will be used against you in a court of law.
- You have the right to an attorney.
- If you cannot afford an attorney, one will be provided for you.
If you never expected to need an attorney, getting one for free may sound great; but is a public defender your best option?
Let’s look at why a government-provided defender isn’t your best defense.
And first, you need to understand what a public defender does.
What is A Public Defender?
Do you remember that last line that the police read to you about being provided a lawyer if you can’t afford one?
That lawyer is a public defender.
In order to comply with their constitutional requirement, the State of Alabama and its counties and cities have set up public defender offices.
In fact, just this month, the Mobile County Public Defender’s Office started accepting clients. Mobile County has a state-level public defender’s office. Baldwin County operates on a contract basis with specific attorneys to represent indigent defendants, rather than a public defenders’ office or a court appointment system.
Usually, each public defender’s office has a chief public defender and assistant public defenders who work under the chief public defender. A public defender’s office has fully licensed lawyers whose purpose is to represent defendants who can’t afford an attorney in criminal cases.
Will A Public Defender Be Able to Get My Case Dismissed or The Charges Dropped?
In some cases, a public defender will be able to get your charges dropped or dismissed, but it is much less likely with a public defender than a private attorney. Studies going back decades show that a private law firm is much more likely to get your case dismissed or dropped. Why? There are many factors involved, but the most common are:
- Public Defenders are overworked and underpaid, which leads to fatigue and burnout.
- Public Defenders don’t have the same resources as a private attorney.
- Some attorneys are public defenders because they could not get hired by a law firm; they lack the skill and drive.
- Some public defenders are unhappy with their working situation and don’t put in the full effort on a case.
You can see from these factors alone that you are taking a risk when you chose a public defender over a private attorney. While many public defenders start out with noble aspirations, they end up being discouraged by lack of support and a meager salary. Most attorneys don’t stay long term at a public defender’s office, meaning that the attorney you get will likely have little experience.
Can A Public Defender Refuse My Case?
A public defender can refuse to take a case for any number of reasons, including:
- Conflict of Interest
- Family Emergency
There are also circumstances where a judge refuse the public defender if they are overloaded with cases. In this event, they will appoint another attorney to represent the defendant, putting you/your defesne back at square one.
Let Tim Fleming Law Represent You
While accepting the representation of a public defender is an easy choice, it’s best not to take chances. At Tim W. Fleming, Attorney at Law, we make your case a priority. We will use all the resources at our disposal so that we may get your case the best possible outcome. Don’t make the mistake of using a public defender. Call us or fill out our online contact form and a member of our team will be in contact to discuss your case.
Get in touch today!