It’s not a secret that lawyers can be expensive. Attorneys have to navigate the very complicated world of the legal system. Since no two cases are the same, it extremely important to hire an attorney that knows how to handle your unique situation.
When you’re facing criminal charges, there are a lot of important decisions ahead of you. One of those decisions is choosing representation for your day in court. You have the option of hiring a paid attorney or being assigned a public defender.
A public defender is a court-appointed lawyer that will handle your case at no direct cost to you. Court-appointed lawyers are better than no attorney at all, but they still come at a cost. It might be tempting to choose a court-appointed attorney to avoid paying high legal fees. But the truth is, even if you go the court-appointed route, you will still end up paying in one way or another.
The cost of not hiring a qualified attorney can result in more significant consequences down the line. So what is the cost of NOT hiring a lawyer?
The real cost of choosing a public defender
When you choose a public defender over hiring a paid lawyer, even if you enter a plea, you will still end up paying for a lawyer. The cost will come in the form of additional fees included in your court costs. Many states, including Texas, make defendants repay a portion or all of the fees for their court-appointment attorney through a process called recoupment. In 2016, the state collected more than 11 million dollars from defendants who were represented by court-appointed attorneys.
In addition to the monetary amount you may pay for a court-appointed attorney, you will spend much more of your time and wellbeing when you opt-out of paid legal representation. An experienced criminal defense attorney will know the inner workings of the justice system surrounding your crime. They will have connections and know how to communicate with the prosecution to get you the best deal.
When you choose a court-appointed lawyer, you will not be able to select the attorney you are paired with. They might not have experience dealing with cases like yours. They also have a much more significant caseload. Because of the high volume of cases they represent, their primary motivation is to move cases through the system as quickly as possible. They are less likely to take cases to trial than a hired attorney. When you work with a court-appointed attorney, you will have much less input into how your case is handled than you would with an attorney you hire.
The best course of action is to hire a lawyer that has experience handling complex cases like yours and will have your best interests in mind. It’s tempting to try and learn the logistics of your case yourself online, but online advice is no replacement for an experienced criminal defense attorney.
If you are looking for a Houston criminal defense attorney, or need advice on legal issues including domestic violence, DWIs, shoplifting, or other misdemeanors, contact Christopher T. Gore for more info on how he can represent your case.