What Is the Difference Between a Private Attorney and a Public Defender?

To learn more about the differences between a private attorney and a public defender, read on and give our skilled Bergen County criminal defense attorney today. We are on your side.

Public Defender v. Private Attorney

Selecting the right attorney to defend your case should be taken seriously. If you are facing criminal charges, your initial determination may be whether to hire a private attorney or go with a court-appointed public defender. New Jersey criminal courts will assign a public defender to provide legal counsel for free or at a lower rate. Representation is limited to individuals who are indigent, indicating that they are unable to retain a private lawyer because their income is below the state guideline.

Public defenders are appointed, and private attorneys are selected. When you apply for a public defender you simply fill out a financial eligibility form. You do not get to expressly choose the lawyer who is appointed. This means you must stay with the court-appointed attorney even if you personally dislike or doubt his legal skills. Proceeding with a private attorney gives you more freedom to choose a lawyer you like. You can confer and meet with hundreds of private attorneys until you are sure you have the best lawyer for your case. Also, you may for any reason dismiss your private attorney at any time and substitute a new lawyer to represent your case. Choosing a private attorney, thus, offers you the most freedom to guide the path of your case.

It will likely be difficult to set a meeting and discuss your case with an overworked and underpaid public defender. You may get as little as a few minutes before a court appearance to meet with the public defender. Private attorneys have much fewer cases and therefore more time to explore the particulars of your case. Every case is different and any subtle detail can change its route. Private attorneys have a lot of resources available to help. They can provide you with in-person meetings and communicate with you about every element of your defense. They have the support to hire expert witnesses, access lab and testing facilities, and draft a legal memorandum to strengthen your defense.

Contact our Firm

If you are facing criminal charges in New Jersey, you need strong legal defense. Contact the Law Office of Carl Spector for dedicated representation. With over 30 years of experience as both a prosecutor and criminal defense attorney, he offers a unique perspective on how both sides think, and how to best approach each aspect of the case. When your future is on the line, don’t settle for less than the best possible legal representation. Contact an experienced New Jersey criminal defense attorney who will aggressively fight for you. Call today for a free confidential consultation. Let our experience work for you.