Behind The Public Defender

Although it is imperative to hire a lawyer if you have criminal charges, many people cannot afford to hire a lawyer. Fortunately, there is a system that allows defendants to get legal aid if they are charged with criminal charges.

A public defender is a lawyer that represents defendants in criminal trials, in cases where they cannot afford to hire a lawyer on their own. Public defenders are paid, otherwise employed, by the government to represent defendants in that particular situation. In this article, we are going to review some basic information about working with a public defender.

Behind The Public Defender

Public defenders are paid by the government to assist defendants who are unable to pay for their legal aid.

They more or less represent the same entity as the courts—the judge, the court personnel and even the police and prosecutor. However, public defenders are employed to represent the defendant only and do not harbor any bias that may compromise their client’s (the defendant) trust when representing them.

In other words, public defenders only fight for the rights of their clients.

The ‘relationship’ that a public defender shares with the system, however, can allow them forge better relationships with other parties—and, that includes the prosecutor and the courts themselves. This, essentially, allows them to successfully resolve their defendant’s case without prolonging the case due to other issues.

Public Defenders and Representation

In many cases, one public defender is assigned to a single defendant. This is known as vertical representation.

Some public defender offices specialize in certain areas of law. Due to this, several public defenders may be assigned to a single defendant at different stages of their case. This is known as horizontal representation.

Horizontal representation has its advantages and disadvantages. One advantage is that the defendant may be assigned with a more experienced professional for certain stages of their case. A disadvantage and common concern is that their case might not be properly represented, due to having ‘many eyes’ on the case at once.

Selecting A Public Defender

Public defenders are generally assigned to defendants who need legal aid. It usually occurs when a judge appoints the public defender (or public defender’s office) to represent the defendant.

In larger cities, this typically happens when the defendant gets offered service from the public defender who is assigned to whichever stage of their case, particularly in instances of horizontal representation.