Public defenders are lawyers employed at the public expense in a criminal trial to represent a defendant who is unable to afford legal assistance. For a person to become a public defender, they must pass the State Bar examination. Then, candidates are interviewed, and they take an oral exam that demonstrates their knowledge and their skills in defending the criminally accused.
Who Can Get a Public Defender?
Public defenders don’t represent every person facing criminal charges. They only represent defendants who can’t afford to pay for a private criminal defense lawyer. If you face criminal charges and you have a stable income, you might not be eligible for free legal services. The Public Defender’s Office will know your income status when you attend the arraignment, they will have you fill out a financial statement to determine if you can afford a private attorney. In some cases, criminal courts and judges will examine the defendant’s personal finances. They will also use that information to determine if they are eligible for a private attorney.
Should You Get Representation for a Public Defender?
One of the main disadvantages of hiring a public defender is that they often have large caseloads. Since public defenders are government employees, they usually make less money than private attorneys. For that reason, they need to take more cases to make more money. Unfortunately, these dynamics make it easy for public defenders to make mistakes with cases because they don’t have as much time to spend on people’s cases.
Public defenders don’t have the time to actually meet with their clients, and in some cases, they only meet with their clients once before they enter plea. Resulting in a public defender taking time, energy, and attention needed to develop a strong case on behalf of their clients. Public defenders are also appointed to clients—they don’t have the option to choose an attorney that they believe will best protect their rights.
Get Strong Legal Representation! Call Our Tampa Criminal Defense Lawyers Today.
If you’ve been arrested and you’re facing criminal charges, your freedom, future, and reputation are at stake. You need strong legal representation to protect your rights and secure your future. At Thomas & Paulk, P.A., we are here to help you during this challenging time. We have handled thousands of criminal cases, and we are known for the personalized attention we give to every one of our clients. Don’t put the future in the hands of an attorney who doesn’t have time to ensure you receive the best possible results for your case.
Contact our Tampa criminal defense attorneys today at (813) 321-7323 for a free consultation!