If you are not comfortable with the level of representation he is receiving, you may want to meet with an attorney or two to see if they might be able to do more for him. It may just be that the case is not progressing through the court system at this point and there's not much for the court-appointed attorney to do yet. But a private attorney may be able to give you a different outlook. There's no way to estimate how much it would cost, because it depends on the severity and number of charges, as well as whether it looks like the case will result in a plea or a trial
. It also varies from region to region. If you need help finding an attorney in the area where he is charged, you can use a directory like www.martindale.com to find a criminal
defense attorney there. Many will meet with you initially for free, and can give you an idea of what they would do and how much they will cost. The more information you can get about the case (specific charges, where his case is exactly in the pre-trial process) will help you get the best answer possible from a potential attorney. At that point, you can make a judgment about whether you want to hire private counsel or stick with the public defender. Bailing him out would mean that he would be able to attend an initial consultation, because an attorney is not usually going to visit a jail on a free consultation, but if you aren't able to bail him out you could still try to meet with the lawyer yourself.
You may also consider having your son send a letter to his appointed attorney specifically directing her to discuss the procedural aspects of the case with you (she will obviously want to avoid getting into specifics so she does not break attorney-client confidentiality, but with his express written permission, she could tell you what the charges are and where they are in the case...whether he has been indicted, arraigned, etc.). This can also give you an idea of the attorney's performance. Because if the case is still being investigated, then there's not much the attorney is able to do yet. If he has been indicted, then the attorney will know specifically what he is charged with and some of the evidence against him, which will allow her to investigate and to prepare for trial or try to work out a plea. Otherwise, she might not be able to do anything because she doesn't yet know what he is facing.
But in your situation, it doesn't hurt to explore options by finding a couple of criminal lawyers that will do a free initial consultation. Having all the information will allow you and your son to make a more informed decision. Whether you bail him out or not is up to you...it won't really affect his case any. It just determines where he will wait for the case to move through the system.