top of page

Criminal Defense Attorney vs. Public Defender?

What is the difference?

You may be wondering why you should pay thousands of dollars for a private criminal defense attorney if you qualify for a public defender. Is there really a difference? The answer is yes.

Make no mistake - our attorney has the utmost respect for public defenders and the difficult job they undertake each and every day. She interned at the San Francisco Public Defender's Office and has worked with many amazing public defenders. However, if you are fighting a serious criminal case, you understand that the stakes couldn't be higher. You need someone who has the time to work diligently on your case and give you the personal attention you need to win.

The system is stacked against public defenders. They have hundreds of cases, which means that they are often overworked and overwhelmed. The government spends unbelievable amounts of money on police officers, prosecutors, and mass incarceration of its citizens. A very small percentage of these resources are spent on defending accused citizens who cannot afford a private criminal defense attorney. Because of these limited resources, public defenders often struggle to make individual time for each client. It is almost impossible to reach a public defender by phone because they are so incredibly busy.

Don't be vulnerable to a quick guilty plea.

Prosecutors are motivated to conclude their cases as expeditiously as possible with as little effort as possible. What inevitably happens is the prosecutor will overcharge the case and threaten the accused with a hefty prison sentence. Then, the prosecutor will make an offer to the public defender extremely early in the case, without proper time for investigation or discovery to be completed - they will promise a shorter prison sentence if the accused accepts this offer. The public defender then presents the offer to the accused who is usually scared into taking the plea and the accused takes the plea and the case is closed. Now, there are surely times when taking a guilty plea is the best strategy, but it depends on your case. A private criminal defense attorney has the time and resources to do a complete investigation and evaluate all possible defenses before discussing a plea deal. If the evidence against you is not very strong, a good criminal defense attorney will not shy away from taking the case all the way to trial to make the prosecution prove their client's guild beyond a reasonable doubt. In some cases, it may even be possible to get the case dismissed. 

What can you expect when you hire us?

At The Law Office of Ashley Lansdown, we always ensure that a thorough review and investigation of the evidence is completed. We are a small law firm and we are careful not to take on so many cases that we compromise personal attention. Ms. Lansdown will always take your calls, respond to your emails, and meet with you in person as often as you wish. She is trained in the art of trial advocacy and can effectively persuade the jury of her client's innocence through excellent oral arguments. Ms. Lansdown knows how to cross-examine hostile witnesses, experts, and police officers. She will not allow the prosecutor to intimidate you into taking a plea deal if it is not in your best interest. If it is actually the proper choice for you and your situation, she will be frank with you in her communication and will let you know.

Get the right attorney the first time around.

Whatever you do, you do not want to find yourself sitting in prison wishing you would have hired a private criminal defense attorney. Avoid having to file a claim of "ineffective assistance of counsel" while wasting years of your life behind bars.

Being charged with a crime is one of the most stressful events a person can go through. Because your life, reputation, and freedom are on the line, it is critical to get the right attorney on your side as quickly as possible. Do not delay. Ms. Lansdown can sit down with you and come up with a solution to your problem. Contact us today for a free consultation.

Why Hire A Criminal Defense Attorney Instead of Utilize a Public Defender?: About
bottom of page