If a person goes through the yellow pages of the telephone book, he or she would be overwhelmed with the amount of criminal defense attorneys available in Jacksonville, Florida. However, selecting an attorney is not an easy process. Often, people will ask me whether or not they should hire a private attorney or use an attorney at the public defender office. My response is “if you can afford a private attorney, you should hire one.”
First, the services of the office of the public defender in Jacksonville are only for those clients that cannot afford an attorney. A public defender is not appointed to everyone that wants an attorney, just for those that do not have funds available to hire a Jacksonville Criminal Defense Lawyer.
Second, a Jacksonville criminal defendant cannot chose which attorney at the public defender will represent him. Therefore, if he is unhappy with his public defender, he cannot “shop around” and request another attorney be appointed. There are different types of attorneys at the public defender office and in private practice. Some attorneys are better than others. When you hire a Jacksonville criminal attorney, you have the option of meeting with the attorney and choosing which attorney better suits your needs.
Third, State budget cuts have placed a substantial strain on most state-funded agency. The Office of the Public Defender is no exception. Thus, each public defender has a substantial case load. This is not beneficial to criminal defendants that require a lot of attention, and cases that require immediate investigation in order to preserve evidence. Additionally, as a Criminal Defense Lawyer in Jacksonville, I have discovered that the best defense in a criminal case is a good offense. Particularly, a good Jacksonville criminal defense attorney should always be one step a head of the prosecution. The sooner that you start the defense investigation, the better. Quite often, I have been able to speak with witnesses and collect evidence before the state attorney has opened the file. This type of preparation is required in order to set forth evidence that the state will consider when deciding whether to file formal charges against a criminal defendant in Jacksonville.