Can I still hire a lawyer if the court assigned a public defender?

On Behalf of | Jul 20, 2023 | Criminal Defense

The attorney you choose to represent you can make a significant difference in the outcome of your criminal trial. The Sixth Amendment guarantees your right to legal representation, whether that attorney is a public defender or privately hired. If the court appointed a public defender, can you hire a private attorney instead?

There are a few things to know when you face criminal charges with a public defender.

The role of a public defender

A public defender is a defense attorney appointed to your case by the court who provides your defense at no cost to you. Public defenders ensure access to an attorney even for those who cannot afford to hire one.

The option to hire a lawyer

Although the court may appoint a public defender, you have a right to choose your own representation as well. If you prefer a private attorney for your case, you can dismiss the public defender and your attorney can file a motion for a change in representation.

The factors to consider

In some areas, public defenders have heavy caseloads and work long hours. Sometimes they look for settlement options and plea deals to reduce time in court. While this may work in your favor, it may prove challenging for a reasonable defense. A private attorney often provides more aggressive, personalized attention to the case because they have more freedom for managing caseloads.

With your freedom at stake in the face of criminal charges, consider your best possible defense. Public defenders play a valuable role in the justice system, but you might prefer a private attorney for your case.