Friday, November 4, 2011

Public Defender or a Private Attorney (Explained)

Don't get me wrong, public defenders play one of the most important roles in the the criminal justice system.  As a prosecutor, I worked with a number of public defenders who'd I put in the same league as the best (and most expensive) private Minnesota Criminal Defense Attorneys - and they often do their work with little to no budget. Time and time gain, I observed these public servants provide, to individuals who just cannot afford to hire a representative, the essential safety net that's guaranteed in the constitution.  However, as the illustration above points out there are common issues - like a lack of oversight, absence of specialized legal training, high turnover, and excessive case loads - that plague the public defender offices all over the country. This article points out some of the larger problems facing individuals in the State of Minnesota.

You will have almost no chance of winning your case if you choose the wrong attorney.

Understanding the current state of most people's pocketbooks, many individuals find themselves eligible for the services of a public defender.  These state-paid attorneys, sometimes called “public pretenders” can be unfairly branded as not-so-great lawyers. In reality, many of them provide outstanding services to the accused. But, consider some of the limitations listed-above when weighing whether or not you should hire private counsel - especially when you consider your future.  .

Time. Public defenders have increasing case loads, now more than ever. Due to the economy, defendants are turning to public service attorneys over private attorneys because they cannot afford the fees. As a result, public defenders get stuck with too many cases to handle, driving down the quality of their representation. Often a public defender will not even look at your case until you meet him for the 1st time right before court. The attorney may not want to fully explore your defenses or may simply convince you that the first offer is a “great deal” so he or she can tackle the dozens of other cases after yours.

Choice. You do not get to choose who your public defender is. A large part of hiring private counsel is the ability to screen for an attorney who makes you feel comfortable. Being charged with a criminal offense is never a pleasant experience. As such, you need an attorney who will put you at ease and make you feel comfortable in making the decisions affecting your future.

No Implied Consent Representation. If you are charged with Drunk Driving, a public defender cannot represent your implied consent challenge (also referred to as the “civil” side or the “license” portion of a DWI case). The only way to recover your suspended license is to hire a private attorney.

What's the Alternative?

I understand that anyone accused of a crime wants a skilled attorney to handle their case.  My client's (who've previously been appointed a public defender) tell me that they had no choice but go with that option first because they thought that my fees were simply too high.

Believe it or not, when you view these fees in the context of an "investment" in your future- understanding that you only get one chance to fight this thing that could impact you everyday for the rest of your life - I think you'll see that The Rolloff Law Office's reputation for providing exceptional legal defense at competitive rates is correct.  Plus, I also offer flexible payment plans to my valued clients.

Call me today to speak to an experienced Minnesota Criminal Defense Attorney directly at (612) 234-1165.  I have the time listen to what you want to happen with your case - and I'll work doggedly to make that a reality.

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