When you are arrested, the police should inform you that you have the right to an attorney. Officers should add that if you cannot afford to hire an attorney, one will be provided for you if you so choose. Some people might qualify for representation by a public defender, and it can be tempting because they do not have to pay the fees of a private criminal defense attorney. However, in many situations, going with the public defender to save money can cost you – in many ways – in the long run. Remember the old adage: You get what you pay for.
If you have been arrested or already charged with a crime, learn more about the services of a Dallas criminal defense attorney before you make your decision.
Public Defenders in Dallas
The Dallas County Public Defender’s Office is there for indigent defendants who do not have other options. While this office has some dedicated attorneys on board, there are reasons why it might not be the best choice for you.
The Court Appoints Your Attorney
It is critical that you trust and feel comfortable with your defense attorney. You want to be honest with your lawyer and not feel judged, and choosing the right representation is a personal matter. When it comes to a public defender, the court will appoint someone, and you will have no options to make this important decision. Should you be unhappy with the appointed attorney, it can be difficult to change it.
There is a definite need for public defenders, and this is demonstrated by the excessive caseloads that each attorney in the office has at any given moment. Public defenders are notoriously overworked, and they often have to fit all of this work into government work hours. A public defender likely will not have a lot of time to meet with you, get to know you, hear your side of the case, or be able to fully investigate the matter.
Another consequence of overworked lawyers is that they might make mistakes that impact your case and lead to a conviction. They also might push you into accepting a plea bargain to resolve the matter when, in reality, you should have taken your case to trial.
Texas does not provide most of the funding for public defense, as this is the responsibility of the individual counties at this time. Counties already have over-stretched budgets, and this does not leave a lot of room for proper funding of the public defender’s offices. This means that these attorneys are underpaid and do not have the resources that a private criminal defense law firm might have.
Seek Assistance from a Dallas Criminal Defense Lawyer
In general, if you have the ability to hire a private defense attorney, you should. Public defender representation can often lead to harsher outcomes due to their huge caseloads and lack of resources. After an arrest in the Dallas area, consult with the law office of J. Michael Price. We are ready to help, so please contact us online or call 214-765-8000 today.