A common thing that we hear from people that call our office is that they aren’t happy with the work that the public defender has done on their case, and they want to hire a “real” attorney. They think that by hiring a private attorney, they’re somehow magically going to get a better result than they would have if they’d stuck with the public defender.
Like we’ve discussed before, that attitude is EXTREMELY unfair to public defenders, and it isn’t always true. Being a private attorney doesn’t grant you some sort of extra bonus capabilities that a public defender doesn’t have. A lot of times, the facts of your case have a HUGE impact on how your case resolves. If you have a multiple-page criminal history, and you’re charged with a serious offense, and someone was hurt during the commission of that offense, it doesn’t really matter WHO your attorney is because there’s a limited amount of help that ANY attorney can do in your case. For the same reasons, if you’re on probation or house arrest, and you get caught committing a crime, or worse confessing to a crime once you’re arrested, there’s not a lot there to convince a prosecutor to go easy on you.
What a private attorney CAN do that a lot of times a public defender can’t do is give your case personalized attention. Does that attention translate into better outcomes? Sure, sometimes it can. The benefit that a private attorney provides is TIME. Time to review the facts of your case in greater detail, time to research unique defenses that might apply to your case, time to speak to possible witnesses, and time to visit the scene where you were arrested. When we do those things, we can sometimes turn up information that helps us to argue that the case might not be as easy as the prosecutor thinks. Remember, the prosecutor is under the same time pressures that public defenders are, and they would probably not want to spend a lot of time on trial preparation and a full day or more on trial if it looked like the case was going to be harder than it originally appeared. Again, does this get better results? It can, but you have to be VERY careful with how you approach this type of strategy. There’s a LOT of diplomacy that’s needed when negotiating with a prosecutor, and you aren’t going to do yourself any favors if your attorney goes into it with the attitude that you should get a better outcome just because you hired a private attorney. If you have that type of attorney or those types of expectations, be prepared to proceed to a costly trial and possibly a longer prison sentence.
At Razumich & Associates, our goal is to make sure that each of our clients receives the personalized attention that their cases deserve so that they can make the best possible decisions on important matters affecting their future. We personally meet with everyone who sets an appointment with our office, and we will take as long as necessary to make sure that every question you have is answered as completely as possible. That’s our promise to you: we’re Lawyers Ready to Fight, and we look forward to fighting for you.