Hiring a Criminal Defense Attorney is an Investment
Should I retain a private, retailed criminal defense lawyer or use a court-appointed attorney? How important is this case to me?
Do I qualify for a court-appointed attorney?
It is important to understand that while you are always entitled to an attorney when you are facing criminal charges, you are not always entitled to a court-appointed one. The court is only required to appoint an attorney at public expense if both the following are true:
- You face the possibility of going to jail if convicted, and
- 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 that 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 different jurisdictions. For instance, Washtenaw County has a public defender office and Oakland County has a list of attorneys that rotates and in the more serious 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 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 of 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 levels of experience – from right out of law school to highly experienced. Although many court-appointed lawyers are conscientious, many of them are also more interested in keeping on the court-appointed list than really fighting for the client. A defendant that gets assigned a public defender gets the luck of the draw.
Benefits of Retaining Private Counsel
The retaining of a private criminal defense lawyer in Michigan is the smartest decision you can make if you face criminal charges. The major advantage is you get to pick your own attorney…someone who will fearlessly, zealously and passionately fight to protect you. It is important that you are able to 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 put generally more time in on your case and will make defensive moves that a court-appointed attorney might not have the time or knowledge to use. The benefits of having a retained criminal defense lawyer in Michigan are numerous and include:
- being able to more easily communicate with that attorney,
- have the attorney be able to spend more time with you,
- having an attorney who will 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 pleading them quickly,
- staff and other resources to handle complex portions of your case, and
- partners and associates to employ a team approach to representation.
Retaining a Great Criminal Defense Lawyer in Michigan
The lawyers at LEWIS & DICKSTEIN, P.L.L.C. are some of the most well respected and experienced criminal defense lawyers in Michigan. We have handled only criminal cases for decades. LEWIS & DICKSTEIN, P.L.L.C. is proud of its reputation for success and respect. Our attorneys take pride in protecting the rights of the accused. We put in the time and use our expertise to give our clients the best defense available. The attorneys with LEWIS & DICKSTEIN, P.L.L.C. are cutting edge, creative and forward thinkers. We are the ONLY firm to call when you are facing legal trouble.
Call us today at (248) 263-6800 for a free consultation, or complete a Request for Assistance Form and we will contact you promptly.