Public Defender or Private Attorney for Criminal Charges in TN?

An enormous number of people don’t hire a private attorney when facing criminal charges in Tennessee. This could be for a variety of different reasons.

Perhaps they truly believe they can’t afford an attorney, and that they must settle for a public defender. Perhaps they have the money, but think it would be a waste to pay for a private lawyer. They might even underestimate the seriousness of their charges and don’t believe it’s even necessary to hire a defense attorney.

Whatever the reasoning, it’s probably wrong. Private attorneys will often work with your budget, so chances are you can afford one. You should never underestimate the seriousness of your charges; even misdemeanor charges can change your life forever.

Not using a private attorney is usually not a good idea. It’s your future we’re talking about here. Nothing is worth more than that. Let’s look at how public defenders and private attorneys are different.

What’s the Difference Between Private Counsel and a Public Defender?

There is nothing wrong with public defenders. Many of them went to the same law schools that private defense attorneys go to, so how do they differ?

  • Public defenders aren’t specialized. They receive cases in all different areas of criminal law, which means they are learning every time they get a case. They don’t have the knowledge needed to truly win your case because they have a more broad understanding of criminal law, and not a specialized understanding of, say, drunk driving laws.
  • Public defenders have high case numbers—you’re just a number to them. It’s not that they don’t want to help you—it’s just that they don’t really have time. Many people who have a public defender don’t even meet their attorney face-to-face until their court date. This isn’t much better than representing yourself.
  • Sometimes public defenders work closely with the prosecution. They know them well and work in the same offices. This can help you if you’re looking to get a good plea deal, but it doesn’t help if you want to avoid a conviction. The public defender will often recommend plea deals to you because they don’t want to go up against their “friends” in court.
  • Public defenders don’t care whether they win or lose your case. They don’t have as much vested in it as a private criminal defense attorney does. Your private defense attorney cares about you and about winning your case. They care because their reputation is on the line. They care because they see you as more than just a number.

Don’t Know Whom to Call to Help with Your Criminal Matter?

If you need help with a criminal matter you don’t have to just assume that you can’t afford a private attorney. You should contact experienced Nashville attorneys to get an idea of your options. More than likely you can afford an attorney and it’s also very probable that you will need one to win your case

Public defense attorneys aren’t bad attorneys. They’re just overwhelmed by a system that is constantly handing them cases, whether they feel confident that they can handle that case or not. Criminal defense attorneys can be selective and choose cases they feel confident they can win. That makes them fight harder for you.

Dec 12, 2018 | Posted by in Blog | 0 comments

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