Public Defenders vs. Private Criminal Defense Attorneys

The criminal justice system can be daunting, especially if you find yourself on the wrong side of the law. In such a situation, one of the first things you must do is figure out who will represent your interests. You have two main options: public defenders and private criminal defense attorneys. Both have pros and cons, and knowing which one to choose is critical. In this blog post, we'll explore the differences between the two so that you have a better understanding of what to expect.

1. Cost

The cost is the first noticeable difference between public defenders and private criminal defense attorneys. The government provides public defenders and does not require you to pay for their services. On the other hand, private attorneys work for a fee, which may vary depending on the complexity of your case. Some criminal defense attorneys charge a flat fee, while others charge by the hour. If your case is challenging, you may pay a substantial amount for a private attorney's services.

2. Workload

Public defenders are underfunded, and this often leads to a high caseload that they must handle. Because of this, they might not dedicate as much time and attention to your case as you'd like. In contrast, private criminal defense attorneys work for a smaller pool of clients and can allocate more time and resources to your case. However, be wary of lawyers who take on too many cases and might not dedicate enough attention to your case. It is your right to ask your prospective attorney how many pending cases they are currently handling.

3. Experience

Public defenders may be experienced in criminal law, but their caseload may restrict them from getting to know you and your case details on a personal level. Private criminal defense attorneys, on the other hand, work for a smaller number of clients and can dedicate their time to understanding your case intricacies. Lawyers with years of experience in criminal defense have a deep knowledge of the criminal justice system, which may work to their advantage.

4. Teamwork

Public defenders work for government agencies and will often work with other public defenders in the same agency or office. Private defense attorneys may have a team of legal professionals working with them on your case, including paralegals and investigators. With a team behind them, private criminal defense attorneys have more resources to allocate to your defense.

5. Communication

Communication is critical when dealing with legal proceedings, and public defenders and private criminal defense attorneys have different approaches. Communications with public defenders may be more formal and sometimes slow due to their workload. Private defense lawyers tend to have different communication styles, and choosing one whose style matches your preferences could ease the communication between you and the legal team.

Wisconsin's Specialized Defense Attorneys

Choosing between a public defender and a private criminal defense attorney requires careful consideration. If you need a team that will go above and beyond for your case, contact our Melowski & Singh, LLC at (920) 294-1414 today.