Public Defender Vs. Private Lawyer


Living in a place where your rights are considered such an amazingly high priority that the state will actually pay for a lawyer to represent you if you are charged with a crime is an amazing thing.

Think about it. Is there any other area in life where you can just say “I don’t have money” and someone will say “no big deal, it’s our job to help you out”? The Napa Valley lawyers who sign up for these jobs are called public defenders, and they are available to anyone who needs them.

With free legal help available to anyone who needs it, the question has to be asked: why would anyone pay for a lawyer? It’s an interesting question. Why pay for something you can get free?

Is there a difference between public defenders and private attorneys? Well, yes and no.

Napa Valley Public Defenders and Private Attorneys: What Are the Differences?

To begin, let’s talk about all of the ways that public defenders and private attorneys in Napa Valley are completely alike.

So, then, what are the differences between the two types of lawyers?

And according to a 2007 report in the New York Times, there’s one more important difference: if you are the client of a public defender, you are more likely to receive extra jail time. How much extra? Compared to private attorneys, public defenders average three more years.

How is something like that possible? Are public defenders somehow not as conscientious, skillful, or smart? Of course not.

Why Is It that Clients of Public Defenders Average 3 More Years of Jail Time?

There is no definitive answer to this question, but there are hints at things that might have caused the discrepancy. It’s already been noted that public defenders have more cases than private attorneys. Even if they are just as skilled as their private colleagues, having less time to prepare and splittingfocus amongst several active clients has to mean that they pay less attention to each one individually. When that happens, mistakes tend to be made.

It is also possible that money might be a factor. Since public defenders don’t make as much as their peers – despite the extra work load! – trying to make ends meet might very well be something else that distracts them from their work. No one can blame public defenders, but it certainly doesn’t sound like a situation you would want if your life and future were on the line.

Some have argued that public defenders take on cases that are harder and more likely to fail than private attorneys, but this excuse was put to bed by a study where they removed “lost cause” cases from public defenders’ records. Shockingly, it didn’t improve things – it made them worse. Instead of negotiating three more years of prison time for clients than private attorneys, they averaged six extra years!

It’s Worth the Money to Pay for a Napa Valley Private Attorney

In contrast with Napa Valley public defenders, private attorneys in the area will be able to focus much more on your specific case and work for an outcome that’s best for you as an individual. You’ll also find that private attorneys in Napa Valley use the extra time that they have to develop an expertise in their area of law – something public defenders simply don’t have the bandwidth to match.

Don’t try to save money on legal costs at the expense of your future. Napa Valley private attorneys are worth it.

By Steven Taxman

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