As most people know, those who are charged with a crime in the US have the right to an attorney, even when they cannot afford to hire one themselves. But what does this mean exactly, and if the state provides an attorney, why pay out of pocket for the counsel of a private attorney? For this post, we’re exploring this very issue in order to highlight why you should do everything in your power to hire your own private counsel. Criminal charges in CA are a serious affair, and as this post explains, you should never roll the dice on a public defender when the stakes are this high.
A Private Attorney Works On Your Behalf, not the Court’s
Many people assume that the state provides a criminal defense attorney to those who can’t afford their own counsel, but there’s an important distinction to be aware of: courts appoint public defenders, not attorneys.
A public defender is certainly a lawyer in their own right, but they work for the state rather than the client. Their priority is in resolving and closing cases quickly in order to lessen the court’s caseload. They do take the time to provide their clients with key information such as the charges that they are facing and the potential consequences/outcomes of the case, but their investment in each case is minimal. They are simply unable to spend enough time or effort with each client and their priority does not lie in helping clients get a better or more ideal outcome.
Private Attorneys Can Give Your Case the Time it Deserves
On the other hand, a private attorney is a lawyer who you personally pay for. In this sense, they work for you and not the state. You are the client, and their goal is in helping you fight your charges or help you achieve a “better” resolution for your case. While the costs for private attorneys varies, their ability to protect you from criminal convictions and help you avoid jail time or other legal punishments is worth its weight in gold.
Not all private attorneys are made equal, however, which is why you should always sit down with a prospective attorney and prepare a list of questions to better grasp whether he/she is a good match for your case. This is why we at the Jacot Law Firm offer free initial consultations, where we take time to learn more about each client’s individual needs before we move towards an overview of the legal options that are available to them.
If you’re facing criminal charges in CA, we highly advise that you take whatever measures necessary so that you can hire your own private counsel rather than rely on the state-assigned public defender. For a no-commitment consultation where you can learn more about what we do, feel free to call us a the Jacot Law Firm directly at 209-463-1800.