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What Is Difference In Hired Attorney and Public Defender?

A public defender (in Kentucky often the public advocate) may be appointed in a criminal case where the Defendant cannot afford private counsel. It seems that more and more judges (and federal magistrates) are appointing a public defender (PD) without really inquiring whether the accused can afford counsel.  The justification for appointment is the US Constitution, which guarantees a criminal defendant the right to counsel. The Constitution does guarantee right to counsel, however that is not guaranteed until you are ready to go to trial.  During investigative stages of the proceedings, many defendants make mistakes or admissions that a criminal defense lawyer could have avoided. Often a PD may be a relatively young and/or inexperienced attorney.  Many young lawyers will handle PD appointments as a way to gain experience and a small revenue stream of income.  There are also some more qualified attorneys who may take PD cases in order to limit the areas of practice.  For example, if an attorney prefers criminal cases and does not want to handle domestic law cases, he may take PD cases to assure that he remains busy.  There are some that work full time (misdemeanors in Ohio and state courts in Kentucky). These PDs are often overworked, underpaid and generally under-appreciated.  Nevertheless, it allows those to work more regular hours and enroll in the state retirement system. The biggest concern of a criminal defendant when being represented by a Public Defender is the unknown.  While you have the right to counsel, you do not have the right to pick your attorney unless you hire him/her.  If you hire an attorney, you can have a reasonable degree of knowledge about their experience, their history, their involvement with the local judges and prosecutors.  You can also inquire both in general with past clients as well as review their bar standing and any online aid.  In short, you can do your due diligence to assure that you are represented by an attorney you can trust. If you have been charged with a crime or you are subject to an investigation, contact a criminal defense lawyer as soon as possible.  For a consultation regarding federal or state crimes in Kentucky and Ohio, contact Michael Bouldin at [email protected] or call 859-581-6453 (581-MIKE).  Schedule an appointment with Emily if Mike is not available.

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