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RobertJDFL, Lawyer
Category: Criminal Law
Satisfied Customers: 13753
Experience:  Experienced in multiple areas of the law.
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If someone is being charged with a felony for company embezzlement

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If someone is being charged with a felony for company embezzlement will hiring a lawyer help more than just taking the public attorney provided for you. Can a good criminal defense lawyer provide anymore help in this case? Also that person has admitted to the crime already with investigators from the company. Its a first offense for that person.
Thank you for your question.

Ultimately, there are a number of factors in play in a criminal case -what the prosecutor is willing to offer as far as a plea (if any), the nature of the crime and a defendant's criminal record, the wishes of the victim, and lastly, what a judge is going to do.

Thus, it's very hard to predict whether a private attorney will have any different effect, but there are some important factors to consider when a defendant is deciding what is best.

1) If you choose a public defender, you don't get to choose who you get. That doesn't mean the person isn't qualified -- they are a licensed lawyer after all -- but you don't know how many similar cases they've had, their experience level, their relationship with the prosecutor, etc. These are things a defendant can ask themselves of lawyers in consultation and make their own decision about when choosing their own lawyer.

2) Public defenders are swamped. If a defendant is looking for some hand-holding as they go through the criminal process, or to be able to reach their attorney easil, that's not realistically going to happen with a public defender. Most of them have caseloads that are huge, and are busy all day long. A private attorney is obviously more selective and has far less cases because they get to choose who they take on as clients, so they can invest more time in each case and with each client.

Another thing to consider is that many private criminal defense lawyers were once former prosecutors. They have an intimate knowledge of both "sides" if you will, and how the process works. And, they may, because of their experiences as prosecutors, have relatinships with other prosecutors and can possibly negotiate a better deal (though that is not a guarantee, of course, and any plea deal still requires a judge's approval).

A public defender normally will not become a prosecutor before deciding to go into private practice, so they only know one side of the coin, so to speak. It doesn't mean they are bad, or that a public defender cannot be effective - there are many excellent public defenders.However, it is worth taking into consideration these above factors when making a decision. Most private defense lawyers offer free or low cost consultations, so there is very little investment to talk to someone and get a feel for whether a private attorney or public defender is a better fit.
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

in your opinion and/or experience if this is a first offense, person is a good citizen do you think the prosecutor will offer a plea? The real concern is do we really need to hire a lawyer and incur extra cost when the prosecutor is going to offer a plea already.

In my experience, a prosecutor will always offer a plea, especially where a first offense is involved, yes. Will it be any different with a public defender versus a private attorney? That's impossible to answer unfortunately. It's not unheard of for prosecutors to sometimes offer a better deal to lawyers they have developed working relationships with, but it's also possible that a public defender can negotiate just as well for the client and get the same offer.

If a defendant knows that this is what they want to do - take a plea and just settle as quickly as possible, then I think sticking with a public defender is fine. Remember too that a client could always terminate that lawyer's services at any time, too, and decide to hire a private lawyer. So, for example, if they change their mind and decide they want to go to trial, but want a private lawyer, they can fire the PD.

One other thing to consider though - the public defender's office is generally for clients who do not have the means to hire a private lawyer, and you have to show financial need for it. If a defendant makes too much or has resources available to hire a private lawyer, the court may decline the appointment of a public defender.
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

thank you for the advice. one more question. is a public defendant assigned and available to help you during trial only. if we were to hire a lawyer can they negotiate a plea before prelims and court date?

Typically, you apply for a public defender at the first court appearance, so they are available at the very beginning of the case. Once appointed, they can request discovery (evidence) that the prosecutor has, engage in plea negotiations, etc. If a plea is reached, then a court date would be set for the defendant to enter their plea to the charge and if the court accepts the plea, to be sentenced.
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