If you find yourself in trouble with the law, you have some serious and potentially life changing times ahead of you. Finding yourself an experienced criminal defense attorney should be your number one concern. There are times when public defenders or court appointed officials are able to take care of situations, and if you are not facing an extremely heavy or significant charge, you might not have a problem with a public defender. However there are many cases that you would not want to risk facing the case without first choosing an experienced criminal defense lawyer.
The case for public defenders
Public defenders have a noble, albeit very difficult job. A public defender is a lawyer who is paid for by public taxes or funds in order to provide a free defense service to individuals who cannot afford to hire an attorney on their own. The fact that many people will encourage someone who has gotten into trouble with the law to find a criminal defense lawyer instead of going with the public defender is not speaking to the inability or lack of knowledge or experience of the public defender. Instead, it speaks to the overwhelming caseload that most public defenders are faced with.
Poverty and public defenders
Unfortunately, poverty sometimes lends itself to crime. And there are those individuals who get into trouble who would not qualify as being under the poverty line but are still lower class as far as wealth is concerned. Sometimes it is a lack of education or good opportunities, sometimes it is an act of desperation. A good deal of the people who end up in trouble with the law are those who do not have enough money to afford going to a criminal defense law firm to handpick their very own attorney. For these reasons, public defenders are definitely needed, but also for these very reasons, public defenders are incredibly overworked. Around 60% of state systems do not let their public defenders reject the cases that they do not have time for, and this lends itself to the reality that many public defenders would need a year and a half in order to complete just one year’s worth of work.
Finding the right criminal defense lawyer
Whatever the specific case may be that requires someone to go in search of a criminal defense lawyer, the situation must be taken seriously. While crime and lawbreaking might be higher than in the past, it seems that the default response to just about any even minimally illegal action is prison. While the United States only has 5% of the entire population of the world, a looming 25% of the world’s prisoners can be found in the U.S. Over the course of 28 years, the number of incarcerated individuals in the United States quadrupled, rising to 2.3 million from about 500,000 less than three decades prior. If you take into account all of the people in jail or prison, as well as those who are under supervision on probation or parole, about 3.2% of the population in this country is under one form of correctional control or another. That works out to be about 1 in every 31 adults.
There is certainly a problem in this country, and it does not seem to be getting better. There are definitely crime issues, that cannot be disputed. Some of that crime is due to poverty, lack of education, rising tempers in more than one sector of society, reactions to corrupt government actions, and so much more. Some of the illegal activity can be considered minor and should be corrected easily enough. But one of the major, looming issues is the fact that the jails and prisons are overflowing. When the default reaction to a crime, no matter the nature of it, is to throw person after person behind bars, that is evidence enough that the problems are not being addressed.