Has your loved one been charged with a criminal offense? If so, you’re probably worried about the implications, especially if your loved one ends up convicted. The penalties associated with a serious criminal offense can be scary, after all, including years in prison, haunting fines, and a criminal record that follows your loved one wherever they go, making it difficult to secure meaningful employment and stable housing.
With so much on the line, your loved one needs to put forth the strongest criminal defense possible. An attorney may be able to help them do that, but the choice of attorney is an important one. Even if your loved one qualifies for the services of a public defender at little or no cost, there are some risks with going for that option.
What are the risks associated with a public defender?
There are a lot of strong public defenders out there. But there are also some situations that could put your loved one’s defense at risk. Let’s look at some of the difficulties that public defenders face that may impact the way that your loved one’s case is handled:
- High caseloads: Public defenders often carry a lot of cases. In order to ensure they can get their work done, they manage their caseload rather than individual cases. This means that your loved one may be steered toward an unfavorable or an unwanted plea deal as the public defender tries to clear the case.
- Overworked: Because they have so many cases, public defenders have very little time. This means that they may not give your loved one’s case the thorough analysis it needs, and as a result, they may overlook some key arguments that could be made to protect your loved one’s interests.
- Lack of attention: Given the limited amount of time they have, public defenders tend to lose contact with their clients. This means that your loved ones might be left in the dark about developments in their case, and they might not play an active role in building the criminal defense strategy that they think is right for them.
- Inexperience: Although there are a fair number of experienced public defenders out there, there are also many who are fresh out of law school. That isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but it means that they may not know how to raise certain objections or make certain arguments that could further your loved one’s defense.
- Lack of resources: Since public defenders are overworked and often underpaid, they usually don’t have the resources needed to present a robust criminal defense. A private attorney, on the other hand, may be able to hire experts and conduct additional investigation that could help clear your loved one’s name.
- Limited bargaining power: Even if the evidence against your loved one seems insurmountable, they may be able to negotiate a favorable plea deal that limits the penalties that they may receive. But, as mentioned above, public defenders are often overworked, meaning that they may not negotiate as aggressively as they should in these matters.
Are you ready to find the appropriate legal advocate for your loved one?
As you can see, there’s a lot to take into consideration when choosing an attorney. That’s why it’s critical that you and your loved one carefully think through your options and choose a criminal defense attorney who you think will aggressively fight to protect your loved one’s interests and their future. But the best time to start building a criminal defense is now, so don’t wait to pick an attorney until it’s too late.