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Should You Hire a Private Attorney or Go With The Public Defender?  

Do you hire a defense attorney or go with a public defender?

Posted 5 years ago by Jim Titus

Criminal defendants who cant afford an attorney are granted the right to a public defender to help them with their case. This is a right all defendants have under the United State court system, giving everyone the chance at a fair trial.  

In the case of a court-appointed lawyer, the defendant doesnt have to pay attorney fees, saving him or her a considerable amount of money.  

But is hiring a public defender a good idea? Is this a case of you get what you pay for,” or is he or she willing to go above and beyond for your case? How do you know if you should hire a private attorney or go with the public defender?  

Do you hire an attorney or go with a public defender? Both options have their pros and cons.Public Defender 

  • Public defenders are full attorneys who are familiar with a variety of criminal cases.  
  • They work with local prosecutors and are able to consistently establish the approval of plea agreements.  
  • They are often assigned to several cases at once, sometimes limiting the amount of time theyre able to spend with individual clients. 
  • In Michigan, funding for court-appointed attorneys is provided by individual counties.
  • On average, court-appointed attorneys in the Lansing area made about $580 per case, according to The Detroit News. 

Private Attorneys

  • Usually private attorneys dont have as many cases to handle as public defenders, giving them more time to work with individual defendants. They often have more one-on-one time, allowing them to build a defense.   
  • Private attorneys may utilize the help of expert witnesses, private labs to run tests on evidence, and private investigators which typically cost money.  
  • The defendant may select the private attorney that he or she feels most comfortable with. If the defendant wishes to hire someone else, its much easier to do so.  
  • Private attorneys cost a considerable amount of money, anywhere from $150 to $700 an hour. According to LegalMatch, its not usual for criminal defense lawyers to charge from up to $15,000 per average case. Many require the payment of a retainer as well.  

There are many resources to help you find an attorney in Michigan. The State Bar of Michigan website is the best place to go first. This allows you to search for an attorney in dozens of practice areas. You can also learn about the attorneys standings.  

Detroit Free Legal Aid Clinic provides assistance to low-income and elderly Wayne County residents in the areas of family law and elder law, including domestic violence. 

These are only a couple of the resources for finding the right attorney in Michigan. There are many more that you can discover during an online search. 

If youre still at the stage of needing help getting a loved one out of jail, however, look no further. We are here to help 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Contact us through our Detroit Bail Bonds website, by phone at 313-244-0669, or by email at 

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