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Criminal Defense Lawyer vs. a Public Defender

All defendants in criminal cases have the right to representation by a professional attorney, but even if you qualify for representation by a public defender, it is almost always a better choice to hire a criminal defense lawyer.

The United States Constitution and its amendments operate on the assumption that the courts are for everyone, not just for lawyers and for people wealthy enough to hire lawyers. People represent themselves in court all the time when they are trying to collect a debt, settle a deceased relative’s estate, enforce a contract, or formalize a parenting plan with their ex. Criminal cases are another matter, though. No one goes to prison or loses their voting rights just because they were late receiving their paycheck, inheritance, or child support. In criminal cases, there is much more at stake. The right to due process of law includes representation by a professional attorney when you are a defendant in a criminal case. Even though the court will appoint a public defender to your case if you meet the eligibility requirements, it is in your interest to hire an Atlanta criminal defense lawyer.

It is Not as Simple as “Public Defenders are for Everyone”

The Gideon Supreme Court decision interpreted the Sixth Amendment right to an attorney to mean that if a defendant cannot afford to hire an attorney, the state must provide one free of charge, but state laws interpret this decision in different ways. According to Georgia law, you are eligible for representation by a public defender if you are being accused of a felony. If your legal case is a misdemeanor or traffic offense, you can apply for representation by a public defender, but approval is contingent on your income being low enough.

Your Options if You Cannot Afford to Hire a Lawyer

The payment options for hiring a criminal defense lawyer are more flexible than you might think. Lawyers sometimes take pro bono cases, but they choose them very carefully, more for the long-term legal implications than in the interest of providing free legal services to as many people as possible. Legal aid societies, however, offer low-cost services related to criminal cases, not only criminal defense but also expungement of conviction records.

Contact an Atlanta Criminal Defense Lawyer Today

A criminal defense lawyer can provide affordable representation to help you avoid getting a conviction record for a misdemeanor or a felony. Contact the defense lawyers at Ghanayem & Rayasam in Atlanta, Georgia, about criminal defense cases.