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Is a private criminal defense attorney better than a public defender?

On Behalf of | Jan 21, 2024 | Uncategorized

Getting arrested is a very stressful experience. Many people find the intake process at the local jail very dehumanizing. It can also be incredibly stressful to lose one’s freedom and have no certainty about what happens next.

Anyone accused of significant criminal offenses in Minnesota potentially has the right to an attorney. The state can even provide someone with representation from a public defender if they cannot afford a lawyer. While the right to representation is important, defendants cannot necessarily trust that a public defender can provide them with the support they need to properly respond to their charges.

There is a saying that people get what they pay for, and that may unfortunately prove to be true for those facing criminal charges in Minnesota. The decision to pay for representation can make a major difference for someone facing criminal accusations.

Public defenders are spread thin

There is usually far more demand for the assistance of public defenders than there are professionals offering such services. Although there have been improvements in funding recently, Minnesota public defenders don’t have the time to give each of their clients the attention they deserve.

In fact, many of them carry an impossible caseload where they can barely keep the details straight for each separate defendant. Minnesota public defenders self-report as being unable to provide a reasonable and ethical standard of representation to their clients because of their workloads.

Individuals facing life-altering consequences usually do not receive the best representation from a lawyer unfamiliar with their case and unable to devote the research and contemplation necessary to develop a viable defense strategy. Although there are many dedicated and intelligent lawyers serving as public defenders in Minnesota, they simply cannot commit as much to someone’s case as a private defense attorney can.

Lawyers hired for their services can choose how many clients they represent. They have manageable caseloads and usually prioritize cases where their prior experience works in their favor. An attorney hired by a defendant can devote their energy, time and focus to the client in a way that a public defender simply cannot due to the nature of their job.

The right response to criminal charges can make all the difference for someone worried about job loss, incarceration or a criminal record. Retaining a defense attorney can help someone explore all of their options for minimizing the consequences of their charges.