Whenever you are faced with legal charges, you want an attorney of your choice to advocate on your behalf.  This can be a challenge if you are on a fixed income and don’t have the funds to hire a private attorney.

In situations where an individual cannot afford to retain private counsel, the public defender’s office is an option. To qualify for their services, you must complete an affidavit of indigency. Qualification is based on your income and assets. If you qualify an Assistant Public Defender will be provided to you at no upfront cost until the end of your case.

Pros of Public Defender Offices

  • Equal Access:  The Public Defender’s office is designed to provide legal representation to individuals who cannot afford to retain private counsel. These individuals are facing criminal charge(s).
  • Experience: An attorney obtained through the Public Defender’s office may be recently licensed by the Florida bar or may have years practicing in criminal law handling a variety of cases, which could mean more experience.
  • Negotiations: Each Assistant Public Defender is well versed with courtroom personnel in their practicing jurisdiction, including each assigned assistant state attorney, and will know who to contact to negotiate the terms of your offer should you wish to resolve your case in lieu of a trial.
  • Cost Effective: An Assistant public defenders salary is paid by the government not you. You will be charged for services at the end of your case and the fee will be less than that of  private counsel.

Cons of Public Defender Offices

  • Lack of options: You don’t get to choose the Assistant Public Defender. Your Assistant Public Defender may not have any experiencing handling your legal matter. He/She may have just been hired from law school and may not have as much experience as a privately retained attorney.
  • Overworked: Unfortunately, Assistant Public Defenders are severely overworked by a never-ending caseload. That places a lot of demand on their time and resources, meaning you may not have as much access to them as you would like.
  • Limitations of Choice: Public defenders do not necessarily get to approve or deny what cases they work on. The court assigns these, so they may not be passionate about your particular legal situation.

Who to Choose?

Deciding between an Assistant Public Defender and a private attorney will depend on your personal situation. The amount of funds you have available can dictate your choices, but think about the long-term consequences of not obtaining the right counsel for your case. A private attorney can dedicate more time to your legal case and to develop strategies and defenses, which can help you avoid jail time, conviction and have the level of expertise you need to defend your case.

Our team at Dadan Law Firm is here to help. We offer free consultations to review your particular case and have the resources, expertise, and time to develop strategies for trial and/or the best outcome of your case.

Call us today at (772) 579-2771, for a free consultation.