Public Defender vs. Private Attorney

Apr 25, 2018


There are many circumstances under which you might need a criminal attorney. Whether you were arrested for drunk driving, domestic violence, or under some other criminal charge.  The decision to hire a private criminal defense attorney is often a difficult one for many people.  Let's face it, lawyers aren’t cheap, and if they are, well that, usually, means they’re not very good at what they do. Most lawyers who are successful and get good results, generally, have a large pool of potential clients to choose from, which means they’re prices are going to be higher.  

The court will appoint an attorney for you if you can’t afford one. That may be true, but it's always better to go with a lawyer whom you know and trust—a lawyer who has a good reputation and one who has a proven track record. In addition, public defenders, often have very heavy caseloads and may not have the time to devote sufficient attention to your particular case.  In addition, there is an accountability factor- private attorney’s are concerned about your perception of the experience and want you to have a favorable opinion of how they handled the case.  A 2002 study of public defender vs. private attorney results in Denver, Colorado, also showed that private attorneys often get more favorable outcomes for their clients.  Other studies have from Yale and the University of Chicago have made similar findings: (

In fairness to public defenders, the 2002 study in Denver, pointed out that defendants who have solid defenses or who are innocent often hire private attorneys and somehow, even if marginally indigent, find the money to hire private attorneys in those situations.  That’s why when people say they can’t afford a private attorney, they should, instead, be saying “how can I afford a private attorney” or “how can I get the money to hire a private attorney.”  If you’d borrow money to go to college, maybe you should think about borrowing money to hire a private attorney who’s going to have the experience and knowledge to protect your criminal record.  Certain criminal convictions may ruin your chances to use that degree or public license you’ve acquired. 

There are several ways that you can locate a competent and experienced Fresno Criminal Lawyer.  These ways include: 

Reviews and Reputation

Most lawyers will be happy to list their accomplishments on their websites. You can also go to a neutral, third-party website and check how many good reviews they have. Additionally, there might be lawyers whom you have heard of because they have been around for a long time. These are all things to take into consideration when hiring a lawyer.

Take the Advice of a Trusted Friend 

Most people are in a heightened state of emotion when they're arrested. So they may not be thinking very clearly. If this is the case, then you can leave it up to a trusted friend or family member to find the right lawyer for you. They're not in the same situation as you, so they'll be able to be objective.

We handle all major areas of criminal defense, both at the State and Federal level, including the appellate level. We offer aggressive drunk driving defense to local residents and those charged with DUI/DWI while visiting our area. We have extensive experience in defending all levels of cases. Contact us for more tips to find the right criminal attorney for your needs.

Category: Criminal Defense

Michael Mitchell

Michael Mitchell is a Fresno attorney who practices in the areas of DUI, personal injury & criminal law. Visit his Google+ profile.

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Mitchell Law Group, Inc.
334 W. Shaw Avenue, Suite A Fresno, CA 93704
Phone: 559-222-2424

Fresno Criminal and DUI Attorney
The information you obtain at this site is not, nor is it intended to be, legal advice. You should consult an attorney for individual advice regarding your own situation.  Testimonials displayed on this website do not constitute a guarantee, warranty, or prediction regarding the outcome of your legal matter

Michael E. Mitchell, at the Mitchell Law Group, Inc., is one of the top DUI defense attorneys in Fresno, California. He has over a decade of experience handling DUI cases throughout the Central Valley, including in Clovis, Madera, Tulare, Visalia. He is a certified field sobriety instructor and practitioner under the standards of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and is a member of the California DUI Lawyers Association. His advice and knowledge is, routinely, sought after by other attorneys practicing in the area of DUI defense. He is an expert in the area of DUI defense in both Federal, State, and on the Appellate level. If you're looking for the best DUI Lawyer in Fresno to handle your case, give us a call today to see how we can put our knowledge to work for you.