Navigating the legal system on one’s own can be difficult. With all the Rules, Regulations, and Statutes it can be hard to find your footing. Especially if you’re facing criminal charges. 


You may be wondering what you should do about an attorney. Should you hire your own attorney or go with a court-appointed attorney?


While the decision is ultimately up to you, it’s important to understand the differences between the two so that you can make an informed decision. 


What Is A Court-Appointed Attorney?

When individuals are charged with criminal offenses, if they cannot afford to hire their own attorney, under the U.S Constitution they’re eligible for a court-appointed attorney.


These attorneys are paid by the State and do not require any out of pocket payment from the defendant. 


They usually work in teams, meaning that there is more than one attorney assigned to each case—so it’s important to remember that you may be working with multiple lawyers during your case. 


While this could seem daunting, it also means that your legal team has experience in multiple areas of law which could be beneficial during trial proceedings or plea negotiations.


However, there are some drawbacks to keep in mind as well. 


Because they’re appointed rather than hired by clients, court-appointed attorneys tend to not have as much time or resources available due to heavy caseloads. 


This can lead to less personal attention during the process and longer wait times for answers or advice from your attorney. 

As a former public defender in Los Angeles for many years, I remember this all too well.  

I could not give the necessary individual attention to each case to properly represent my clients; which is one of the biggest reasons I went private – to give my clients the one on one attention they deserved.


Plus, once you’re assigned a court-appointed attorney, if you do not like them, trying to obtain a new court-appointed attorney can be an arduous task.




Because you must prove the assigned attorney’s incompetency to represent you to the best of their ability in order to make such a substitution. An incompatible relationship between lawyer and client is not enough of a factor alone for legal representation by another party. 


Hiring A Private Attorney Of Your Choice

When charged with a serious case, having the right representation is of utmost importance. 


With a significantly reduced caseload compared to public defenders, private attorneys have the advantage of more time for careful preparation of the case when mounting an effective defense. 


The attorney-client relationship benefits from these extended meetings as it allows ample opportunity for developing strategies specifically tailored towards their client’s case which can weaken or even demolish prosecution claims in the pursuit of either leading to a dismissal or reduction in charges.


Keep in mind that this type of representation can become costly but in the end the result could be well worth it.


Both court-appointed attorneys and hired lawyers have advantages and disadvantages depending on your particular situation. 


Make sure to do your research before deciding on which path is right for you. 


With this knowledge in hand, as well as a clear understanding of what sets them apart, you should have no trouble making an informed decision when it comes time to choose.


Need some advice? Contact our office today!