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Is a public defender a good idea in your drug case?

On Behalf of | Feb 9, 2023 | Criminal Law |

A drug crime conviction can cause more harm to you than you think. While you may end up facing some jail or prison time upon conviction, you could also be hit with fines that rock your financial stability and put a mark on your criminal record that may affect everything from your employment to your housing. And those ramifications can last years or even decades.

If you want to avoid these harsh penalties, then you need to build an aggressive criminal defense. Your attorney should be able to help you do this, but that beg the question of what sort of attorney you should have on your side once you’re charged with a drug crime.

Should you be represented by a public defender?

If you have limited financial means, then you’ll likely qualify for the appointment of a public defender at little to no cost to you. That may sound like a good arrangement, but before agreeing to that representation, you should carefully consider whether this sort of representation is best for you.

Here are some things that you need to take into account:

  • High caseloads: Many public defenders have a lot of cases. This means that in order to move their cases along, they need to devote time to managing their caseload rather than looking at what they can do in individual cases. This drives many individuals who have been accused of a drug crime to plea out before fully considering their criminal defense options.
  • Limited attention: With so many cases on their plate, public defenders often have very little time to devote to your case. As a result, they may miss something important in your case that would lead to a more favorable outcome for you.
  • Lack of communication: Because they’re overworked, some public defenders lose contact with their clients, and it’s difficult for clients to touch base with their attorney. This leaves you uninformed and without the ability to share important information with your attorney. It also prevents you from making fully informed decisions that you think are right for you.
  • Lack of resources: Public defenders usually don’t have a lot of resources to investigate your case and build the strong criminal defense you need. For example, a private criminal defense attorney might have a greater ability to secure an expert witness to testify on your behalf, which may make all the difference in your case.
  • Lack of experience: There are a lot of experienced public defenders out there. But being a public defender is also a good first job out of law school. While an inexperienced attorney can still give you adequate representation, they may not have the knowledgebase that you want out of your attorney. As a result, your attorney may miss objections that otherwise would derail the prosecution’s case.

Know how to present the legal arguments best suited to beat the prosecution

Drug cases are oftentimes fraught with legal issues. If you know how to exploit them to your advantage, then you might be able to resolve your case with less severe penalties, or you may even be able to get your charges dropped altogether. You’ll also be better positioned to fight for an acquittal should your case go to trial.

Therefore, if you want an aggressive attorney on your side, then you need to start considering your representation options. There are a lot out there, so make sure that you fully understand what each attorney can offer you before you settle on the legal team that you think is right for you.