Why Hire a Private Lawyer?
If you’ve been arrested and face charges, one thing within your control is your attorney. You have a right to legal counsel of your choice, or have an attorney appointed for you.
In making your choice, you may be debating whether to hire a private attorney or go with a public defender. At Greco Neyland, PC, we want to provide you with information in making that choice.
Who are the Public Defenders?
New York City contracts with a nonprofit law firm in each borough for defense services for people accused of crimes who are indigent, meaning they are unable to afford an attorney.
In Manhattan, the city contracts with New York County Defender Services. NYCDS was established in 1997. In Kings County, the city has contracted with Brooklyn Defender Services since 1996. Public defenders are licensed attorneys.
However, there inherent challenges in the public defender office that private attorneys do not face.
No Control Over Caseload
Public defenders are there to serve anyone who walks in their door who qualifies for their services. In New York City, this is a huge number of people. Manhattan and Brooklyn have a combined average of more than 170,000 arrests per year. Many of them could never afford an attorney, including a large amount of homeless people arrested for minor offenses. They rely on public defenders.
Developing a strong defense requires a thorough investigation. It requires a careful look at all of the details of the arrest, how evidence was gathered and all other surrounding circumstances. Such an investigation can lead to discovering reasons why the evidence should be excluded, reasons why an arrest should be tossed out, any and all reasonable doubt and if any affirmative defenses may be applicable.
Public defenders will do their best to conduct such an evaluation, but there are limits to their ability when they have so many new clients coming through their door every single day. In many cases, the best representation they can offer is a plea bargain.
What if I can’t afford a private attorney?
In most cases, the costs of a conviction far, far outweigh the costs of hiring an attorney. There are fines and fees. You may spend time away from work or lose your job if you go to jail. A conviction makes you less employable. You may lose your chance to go to college. If you have a DWI conviction, your insurance rates could spike for a very long time, not to mention the potential ramifications to your driver’s license or professional licenses.
In many instances, we are able to offer payment plans to help ease the burden of paying for a quality defense attorney that you did not previously budget for. The initial consultation is free. Call today at (212) 951-1300