Should I Hire a Public Defender or a Criminal Defense Attorney?
The criminal defense lawyers at Pak and McRae Law, LLC are used to fielding questions, and one of the most common questions we receive is whether it is better to go with a public defender or pay for criminal defense lawyer fees. Unfortunately, there is a lot of confusion and misunderstanding about the topic of public defenders in Georgia, and the rules can vary whether you’re in Atlanta, DeKalb County, or another state entirely, to say nothing of the differences between traffic court, criminal cases, or federal courts.
To be blunt, in Decatur, Georgia, many people don’t have a choice in the matter at all. Whether it was during an arrest or on television, most people have heard the phrase, “If you cannot afford an attorney, one will be appointed for you before any questioning if you wish.”
The hard truth is that only people who meet certain income criteria are actually eligible to be represented by a Georgia public defender. In fact, some states even charge those defendants for attorney fees or application charges even if they do qualify for public defender representation.
So the question of whether you should go with a public defender and whether you can go with a public defender are actually two very different questions.
Should I go with the public defender?
By the nature of the job, public defenders deal with a very high volume of cases and defendants. For this reason, most people prefer to hire criminal defense lawyers instead.
How do I know if I qualify for a public defender?
Here in DeKalb County, contact the Public Defender’s office directly online, or call (404) 371-2222.
How do I receive a public defender for my case?
Defendants who have been charged with a crime will have to submit financial information to receive a determination (to learn more about the public defender qualification guidelines, visit the Georgia Public Defender Council website). The court will consider your net income, any financial support received from other sources, as well as assets that could be used to raise equity.
Do juveniles receive public defenders?
Not automatically. In juvenile cases, the income of the family is considered.
Why should I hire criminal defense attorneys?
Experienced criminal defense lawyers will usually be able to offer your case far more personal attention, and the best defense lawyers will keep you informed about the progress of your case. For instance, Pak & McRae Law, LLC’s Gunner Pak is a former Assistant District Attorney, with extensive experience in the court system. Criminal defense lawyers can also draw on the resources of their criminal defense law firm as well.
Georgia defense attorneys can guide you through every step of the process, helping you receive the representation you deserve when facing criminal charges.
How much are criminal defense lawyer fees? Can my lawyer guarantee an outcome?
There are no guarantees, and the fees will depend on the type of charges and amount of time necessary for your case. To find out how much a criminal defense lawyer would cost, request a consultation to get started.