Court-Appointed Attorney vs. Retained Defense Lawyer
What is the difference between a court-appointed lawyer and a hired defense lawyer? The impact of inferior legal representation can be life-altering in a tragic way.
Court-Appointed Lawyers Have a Poor Reputation. Why?
Many people have the impression that court-appointed attorneys are not effective and that they don’t care much about their clients. The fact is that there are many good court-appointed attorneys, and how they handle a case does not reflect whether they care about the client. Most attorneys care about their reputations and want to do a great job for their clients. On the other hand, many court-appointed lawyers do not zealously or effectively protect and defend their clients. The biggest problem with getting a court-appointed lawyer is that you cannot choose your lawyer, and it’s up to the luck of the draw who you get. Defendants represented by court-appointed lawyers often wonder if they should get a hired defense lawyer because they frequently experience a lack of communication, zealous representation, and commitment to achieving the best possible outcome.
In many cases, court-appointed attorneys may want to do a better job on their cases, but they don’t have the time or resources to mount a robust defense for their clients. Court-appointed attorneys make as much as 10 times less than a retained attorney, sometimes even less than that. Courts are not always willing to allow court-appointed expenses for certain defense needs, such as hiring investigators, analyzing evidence, writing and arguing motions, and consulting with clients. If expenses are allowed, they are usually very menial, often leading to a deficient defense. For example, in Oakland County, court-appointed lawyers are not paid for motions. This forces the lawyer to choose between providing an adequate defense and being forced to volunteer their time.
The Benefit of a Hired Attorney is You Choose the Best Criminal Defense Lawyer for You
A hired defense lawyer, also known as a retained lawyer, is someone you personally choose and pay privately. With a retained attorney, you pick the right lawyer for you, considering any budgetary limitations. A retained attorney typically has more resources and time to spend on a client’s case than a court-appointed lawyer. If you privately retain an attorney, you can make sure you pick someone who is experienced, effective, has a good reputation, and has good chemistry with the client.
What if I Can’t Afford a Hired Defense Lawyer?
The issue, of course, is whether you should get a hired defense lawyer and whether you can afford a retained attorney. When some clients hear the price of a top-rated, successful retained defense attorney, a court-appointed attorney starts to sound attractive. What they lose sight of at that moment is that deciding whether to retain a top-rated defense attorney will affect the rest of their lives. Whatever the expense, it is almost always worth it. In many cases, despite their reluctance and perhaps embarrassment, people charged with a crime must ask relatives or friends for help with a retainer fee, or they may have to sell something they own. This is painful, and that is understood. But if you had no insurance and needed heart surgery, would you find the money or go with the lowest-priced heart surgeon you could find? There is no shame in asking for help to save your life. You do not want to trust your life, future, and livelihood to the lowest bidder.
Do I Have to Get the Best Attorney Available, or is a Lesser-Priced Defense Hired Lawyer the Answer?
The worst possible combination in hiring an attorney is retaining a bargain-priced attorney. You usually pay far more than a court-appointed attorney and do not get any appreciable increase in talent or effort. As the old saying goes, you get what you pay for. Would you pay money to stay out of jail, keep your home and family, and keep your job? Everyone would. There are times to avail yourself of a sale, such as when buying a car or furniture. Availing yourself of a “sale” price when hiring an attorney could cost you everything you hold dear. On the other hand, paying an astronomical fee to a lawyer is likely wasteful and unnecessary. A great lawyer should charge a reasonable and fair price for legal representation.
Advantages of a Hired Defense Lawyer
There are several advantages to hiring a defense lawyer to represent you in a criminal case. Here are some of the key benefits:
- Experience and Expertise: A hired defense attorney has experience and expertise in criminal law and court procedures. They understand the nuances of the law and can use their knowledge to provide you with the best possible defense.
- Personalized Attention: A hired defense attorney can provide you with personalized attention and focus on your specific case. They will work closely with you to understand your case’s details, legal rights, and priorities.
- Better Communication: A hired defense attorney can communicate with you more effectively and keep you informed about the status of your case. They can also speak with the prosecutor and the court on your behalf.
- Stronger Defense: A hired, aggressive defense attorney can build a strong defense strategy based on their experience and knowledge of the law. They can identify weaknesses in the prosecution’s case and challenge the evidence against you.
- Reduced Risk: A hired defense attorney can help reduce the risks associated with a criminal case. They can negotiate with the prosecutor to get charges reduced or dismissed and work to minimize the potential consequences of a conviction.
- Greater Flexibility: A hired defense attorney can provide greater flexibility and control over your defense. You can choose an attorney you trust and feel understands your needs and concerns.
- Emotional Support: A hired defense attorney can provide emotional support throughout the legal process. They can help you understand what to expect and provide guidance and reassurance as you navigate the complexities of the criminal justice system.
Overall, hiring a defense lawyer can provide you with a strong defense, greater control over your case, and the support you need to get through a difficult time.
So, What Firm Should You Hire for the BEST Possible Results?
The dedicated, experienced, and zealous hired defense lawyers at LEWIS & DICKSTEIN, P.L.L.C. have successfully represented thousands of clients on felony and misdemeanor charges in Oakland, Macomb, Wayne, Washtenaw, and Livingston Counties, and throughout Southeastern Michigan. We have a well-earned reputation for providing the highest quality defense and aggressive representation, while showing empathy and care for each client.
Call us today at (248) 263-6800 for a free consultation or complete a Request for Assistance Form. We will contact you promptly and find a way to help you.