Like in other jurisdictions, the courts in the Texas public defense system are underfunded and overburdened. Sadly, this means that the system can fail you if you are a defendant facing jail time for an alleged crime. The best thing you can do to help your case is to retain the best criminal defense attorney you can. At Granger and Mueller PC, our team of Austin criminal defense attorneys have over 20 years of experience helping Travis County residents get the representation they deserve.
Downsides of Using a Public Defender
When you allow a public defender to represent you, it is important to understand that these are government-paid, court-appointed attorneys. This means that they have limited resources, time, authority, and options. This is different than private attorneys in a non-government law firm. There are some major downsides to consider when debating on whether to stick with a public defender. A few of these downsides include:
- They are Not Specialized: Public defenders are licensed attorneys, but they lack the specialization you see with other attorneys in private firms. With a constant high turnover of clients, they often lack the extensive field experience that a private attorney has. A good example for comparison is going to a general practitioner when you need a cardiac surgeon.
- They Have a High Caseload: It is no secret that public defenders are overworked. It is not uncommon to have 100 or 200 cases at one time. In some situations, they may not even get your information or details until a day or two before you go to court. As you can imagine, this is obviously not enough time for them to prepare the best possible legal defense for your case.
- They Lack Resources: Public defenders have their hands tied in many cases, whereas private attorneys have more access to the people necessary. Experts cost money, and you need manpower to handle the case. When you have a public defender, you need to request funds in order to pay for any costs associated with your case. Public defenders do not have the support staff that most private law firms have, either.
- They are Not Necessarily Free: Public defenders are appointed to defendants who cannot afford to hire an attorney on their own. The process involves you applying to have a public defender assigned, and then the judge must approve the request before a public defender is appointed to represent you. Their services are not free or charge once appointed. You could be told you need to reimburse the government for a portion of your attorney’s fees and court costs based on what the charges are, the resulting verdict, and your ability to make the payment. This could even be part of your parole.
Contact a Travis County Criminal Defense Attorney
Trying to cut costs on your legal defense can increase your risk of being found guilty. You could also receive a harsher sentence than what you might have received if you had a private Texas criminal defense attorney. Remember that even the most experienced public defender still has his or her hands tied by government red tape. Do not put your freedom at risk by rolling the dice with a public defender—contact Granger and Mueller PC today to schedule an initial consultation.