Private Lawyer or Public Defender

  1. First of all the having a Public Defender is not free! Besides the $40.00 application fee you will also be responsible to pay the Public Defender a reasonable value for their service and costs. The below language is a notice that all Florida Public Defenders typically provide to their clients:

The services of the Public Defender are not free unless the client is acquitted (found not guilty) or the charges are dismissed. If the judge makes a finding of guilt after plea or trial, the judge may require the client to pay attorney’s fees for the reasonable value of the services the Public Defender provided, court costs and restitution. The judge can require the payment of the costs and fees as a condition of the sentence or can impose a lien on the client’s property. Additionally, a judgment may be filed against the client for attorney fees, court costs and restitution.

  1. Pre-arrest: The Public Defender does not work on your case while the police are conducting their investigation on you. A Private lawyer will speak with the police and take a proactive approach in getting the criminal investigation to end.
  2. Bond Hearing: A public defender may be temporarily appointed to represent you at the “first appearance”. He or she, does not know you personally, does not know your family, and does not know your background. The Public Defender will typically be sitting with a stack of files and make a rush argument for your bond. Whereas a Private lawyer will be there for you and be prepared to get the best result.
  3. Pre-Filing of Formal Criminal Charges: The Public Defender does not typically communicate with the State Attorney’s Office during the filing stages of your case. The Assistant State Attorney generally has more discretion on how to resolve your case at this stage. Once formal charges are filed the case becomes more difficult to defend.
  4. D.U.I Administrative Hearings with the DMV: If you are arrested for DUI and have an unlawful blood alcohol reading or you have refused to take breath test, the Public Defender is not responsible to represent you at this hearing to have your driver’s license reinstated because it is administrative hearing not criminal.
  5. Forfeiture Hearings: If you are arrested for a felony and an automobile was involved, (even remotely, e.g. arrested for possession of cocaine while in your car) the police department can seize your car. This taking of property is a civil matter. A private lawyer can negotiate with the police or with the city or county attorney to get your car back. The Public Defender cannot.
  6. Seal or Expunge Criminal History: A private lawyer can work on getting your record sealed or expunged. This is not a function or responsibility of the Public Defender. Furthermore by having a private lawyer from the beginning of your case he or she will be more aware of the effort needed towards qualifying you and your case for the seal or expunction of your criminal record.

Call Private Attorney Steven M. Logan serving West Palm Beach, Fort Lauderdale, Stuart, Ft. Pierce, and Glades County. (561) 791-1882

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