UPDATED: February 5, 2019

Have you ever been charged with a crime and faced the possibilities of being incarcerated? Every second of your life matters during that ordeal for sure and you have learned that the most important decision to make is to hire an attorney, however, there is always this argument in the court of law which one between a public defender and a private criminal defense attorney should you hire versus the prosecution.

In general, you have two options, whether to hire between public defender and a private criminal defense attorney, and you might be surprised that these two have different roles in the court of law, and before you make such decision on who will be your aide in your legal battle in the court, you should first consider the pros and cons between a public defender versus a private criminal defense attorney.

This article is compiled with an expert opinion from a very reliable New York criminal lawyer.


Pros- Not everyone has the money to hire a private criminal defense attorney and opts to request to hire a public defender, which the court will automatically appoint in case you cannot afford a lawyer. Public defenders are members of the state or the federal government which depends on the jurisdiction of the case they are assigned to. They might offer you free services but they also charge other services, but you should know that there are a lot of major advantages in hiring a public attorney.

One of these is of course, just as mentioned above, it costs you nothing, second is they have the experience in handling cases both as a prosecutor or an attorney for the defendant. They are also very highly competitive, and since they work for the public, they spend most of their time in the courtroom considering that a lot of people wants to take advantage of the free service.

Cons- Despite all the good things that you read above, public defenders have their own downsides. Sometimes private criminal defense attorneys will go beyond what they do to their clients, sometimes they investigate, reevaluate police reports and other stuff to create any leverage or advantage for their clients in the court while a public defender or a public attorney only work within their task which is to represent you in the court, although they are very competent, but knowing that you did not spend any amount of money for their service, how long will they protect you in the court?


Pros- Considering that the defendant pays the legal and professional fees for the hired attorney, they have also their own advantages over public defendants. One of the most notable advantages is that they will find ways and solutions to keep you one step ahead over the prosecutors. They will be your adviser, an investigator at the same time and always give you the best legal advice available considering that they focus mostly with two to three clients at a time.

Cons- They charge you with an expensive bill. Considering that most private attorneys are prominent in the court of law, and most of these have handled controversial cases, they will surely charge you big. Another con that you should remember is that they do not take the cases seriously because of overconfidence, which sometimes could be a factor why you are losing in the court.

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