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Choosing an Attorney For a Maryland Criminal Case

If you are charged with a criminal offense in Maryland, hiring an attorney is one of the most important choices that you can make towards the overall outcome of your case. With this in mind, the following is what you should know regarding the difference between private and public defenders and what you should consider before hiring legal representation. To learn more, call and schedule a consultation with our Maryland criminal lawyer today.

Benefits of Working With a Private Law Office v. Public Defender

The biggest difference between a private law office and a public defender is individual attention. Public defenders are excellent attorneys, however, they are extremely overworked. A typical public offender has the same number of cases in any given day as most private attorneys will have in a month. So they cannot, by the very nature of their job, give cases the individual attention that private counsel can give. If an attorney is representing 50 people in a single day, he cannot spend five to ten hours prepping every single case. There are just not enough hours in a day.

What Other Advantages Do Private Attorneys Have?

In addition to the individual time that private counsel can spend, private defense attorneys will usually engage in more continuing education or have a more narrowly-focused practice. For example, if an individual is charged with a DUI case, they may want an individual who only practices or who has a significant portion of their practice as DUI law. An individual defense attorney who focuses on a particular area of law can stay abreast of current developments in the law and in relevant scientific developments, all of which can improve his or her ability to litigate and advocate on behalf of clients. The same applies for drug defense cases or assault cases or any of a wide variety of cases. It is always better to have an attorney who really understands that area of law.

Differences in Resources

The big one that we talked about is time. Having an attorney who can spend 10, 20 or 30 hours preparing your case during the investigation is going to be a lot more effective than having a public defender who reads over the case notes for 10 minutes before the trial. Additionally, private law firms have resources, such as investigators and other attorneys working for them. For example, if my criminal client has an immigration issue, I can refer them to the immigration attorney in the firm who can answer any of their questions, whereas if they had a public defender, they may have to find their own immigration attorney.

Considerations When Selecting a Maryland Criminal Lawyer

There are two major aspects in choosing a private attorney:

  • One is familiarity with the area of law with which you are charged. You want an attorney who really handles a lot of those types of cases, whether it be a DUI case, or drug case, or an assault case. You want someone who has done a lot of those, who really understands the law in their specialty area.
  • The other thing that’s very important in selecting an attorney is an attorney who is familiar with the jurisdiction in which you have been charged. You want a lawyer who knows the judges, the prosecutors, and all the individual personalities involved in the case. That can make an immense difference in the outcome of any kind of potential case because one judge may be very amenable to a certain type of defense whereas another judge is not. Or one judge may be very good on sentencing whereas a different judge is not. Knowing your judge and knowing your prosecutor can have huge effects on the outcome of the case.