Hiring a Criminal Defense Attorney is an Investment

Should I retain a private, retained criminal defense lawyer or use a court-appointed attorney? How important is this case to me?

Michigan Criminal Defense Attorneys - Group

Do I qualify for a court-appointed attorney?

It is essential to understand that while you are entitled to an attorney when facing criminal charges, you are not always entitled to a court-appointed lawyer. Most people facing felony or misdemeanor criminal charges struggle to decide whether to go with a retained or court-appointed attorney. The court is only required to appoint an attorney at public expense if both the following are true:

  1. You face the possibility of going to jail if convicted, and
  2. You are indigent (without the necessary resources to hire a privately retained criminal defense lawyer).

It is also important to know that just because an attorney is court-appointed does not mean the attorney’s services are free. Most courts use a sliding scale to determine the amount to be repaid for the attorney’s services.

Also, attorneys are appointed in different ways in various jurisdictions. For instance, Washtenaw County has a public defender office, and Oakland County has a public defender office and a list of rotating appointed attorneys. In the more severe offenses, each judge can appoint attorneys of their choosing (many of whom may be chosen because they tend to get their clients to plead quickly and avoid trial).

Perceptions of a Public Defender

Some of the common perceptions of a public defender include:

  • They work for the prosecutors.
  • They are overworked and push all cases to pleas to get rid of them.
  • They would get better deals if the defendant paid extra or retained them privately.
  • They are terrible lawyers who could not get a job at a “real” law firm.

These perceptions are the exception rather than the rule. Public defenders come at all experience levels – from right out of law school to highly experienced. Although some court-appointed lawyers are conscientious, many are more interested in keeping on the court-appointed list than fighting for the client. A defendant that gets assigned a public defender is stuck with the luck of the draw. The primary advantage of retaining a criminal defense attorney is having the person or law firm of your choosing.

Attorney - Michigan - Awards

Benefits of Retaining Private Counsel

Retaining a private criminal defense lawyer in Michigan is the wisest decision you can make if you face criminal charges. The significant advantage is you get to pick your own attorney…someone who will fearlessly, zealously, and passionately fight to protect you. It is vital that you can work with that attorney and you trust them and their advice. You also have the opportunity to “shop” around to pick the best criminal defense lawyer in Michigan that you can afford to represent you. A private attorney will generally put more time in on your case and make defensive moves that a court-appointed attorney might not have the time or knowledge to make. The benefits of having a retained criminal defense lawyer in Michigan are numerous and include:

  • being able to communicate with that attorney more easily,
  • have the attorney be able to spend more time with you,
  • having an attorney who will patiently explain what is going on so you understand,
  • having more time to consider your options rather than feeling rushed into decisions,
  • having a lawyer who is not motivated to end the case and get to the next client,
  • more likely to attend continuing legal education classes to be up to date on the current status of the law,
  • a reputation for fighting for clients rather than persuading them to plead guilty quickly,
  • staff and other resources to handle complex portions of your case, and
  • partners and associates to employ a team approach to representation.

“What are the advantages of choosing your retained criminal defense attorney rather than having one assigned by a court?”

Being able to choose your criminal defense attorney rather than having one appointed by the court offers several advantages, including the following:

  • By selecting your attorney, you can choose someone with specific experience or expertise in criminal law issues relevant to your case, ensuring a more tailored defense strategy.
  • While many court-appointed attorneys are dedicated professionals, they often handle a high volume of cases due to the nature of a government-funded defense. A privately chosen attorney might have more flexibility to dedicate time and resources specifically to your case.
  • Private attorneys may have access to a broader range of resources, including private investigators, expert witnesses, or legal research tools that can be crucial for building a robust defense.
  • With a criminal defense law firm, such as LEWIS & DICKSTEIN, P.L.L.C., there might be more room for collaboration on defense strategy, ensuring the approach aligns with the client’s wishes and best interests.
  • If you have previous legal encounters or foresee future ones, having a consistent attorney who knows your history can be beneficial.
  • When choosing your own attorney, you can research and select someone based on their reputation, success rate, and feedback from previous clients.
  • A private attorney might be more accessible for consultations, updates, and discussions, offering more personalized attention to the client’s concerns and questions.

A team of private defense attorneys assures clients that their lawyers have the connections and influence to ensure they get every possible advantage in and out of court.

It’s worth noting that while there are advantages to choosing a private attorney, many public defenders and court-appointed attorneys are good lawyers. The key when considering a “retained or court-appointed attorney” is to find a lawyer who makes you feel confident you are their top priority and they will do whatever it takes to get you the best possible outcome.

Michigan Criminal Defense Attorney

Retaining a Great Criminal Defense Lawyer in Michigan

The lawyers with LEWIS & DICKSTEIN, P.L.L.C. are some of Michigan’s most well-respected and experienced criminal defense lawyers. We have handled only criminal cases for decades. LEWIS & DICKSTEIN, P.L.L.C. is proud of its reputation for success and respect. Our defense attorneys take pride in protecting the rights of the accused. We invest time and use our expertise to give our clients the best defense. The attorneys with LEWIS & DICKSTEIN, P.L.L.C. are cutting-edge, creative, and forward thinkers. We are the ONLY firm to call for a free consultation when you are facing legal trouble.

Call us today at (248) 263-6800 for a free consultation or complete an online Request for Assistance Form. We will contact you promptly and find a way to help you.

We will find a way to help you and, most importantly,
we are not afraid to win!

Contact Us - Michigan Criminal Defense Attorneys