Get the Best Legal Representation: Five Types of Criminal Lawyers

Get the Best Legal Representation: 5 Types of Criminal Lawyers

Going up against criminal charges in court can be intimidating. The legal system can feel complicated and overwhelming, which is why hiring a criminal lawyer is paramount to a good outcome. However, did you know there is more than one type of criminal lawyer?

When facing criminal charges, you may be given the option of a public defender vs a private lawyer, or in some cases have access to legal aid or a panel lawyer. If all of these titles and options feel overwhelming, that’s okay – we break down the 5 types of criminal lawyers and how to know who is best suited to represent you. Stop worrying and start focusing on a brighter future with the right defense attorney. 

5 Types of Criminal Lawyers

Public Defender

Public defenders are criminal defense lawyers who are available to represent those facing low-quality cases or those who cannot afford their own private criminal defense lawyer. They are employed by the state to represent those facing criminal charges.

Public defenders offer legal representation to their clients and will advocate for their clients, not for the state. 

Panel Lawyer

Panel lawyers are similar to public defenders – they are a group of lawyers under the state or another organization who offer their services to those who cannot afford a lawyer but do not qualify for a public defender under the state’s eligibility requirements. They represent their client, not their organization, and will help defend your rights to defeat your charges in court. 

Private Criminal Lawyer

Private criminal lawyers are defense lawyers hired independently, so you are on your own to locate an attorney, discuss your case, and employ them to represent you. They are not employed or supplied by the state or any other non-profit organization.

You can hire a private criminal defense attorney at your own discretion and own cost when facing criminal charges like a felony or assault. Private defense lawyers will help educate you on your charges and what you are facing. They help map out your best course of action from plea deals vs general defenses and they discuss what happens after you are charged or found guilty.

District Lawyer

District lawyers are the lawyers in charge of prosecuting criminals in the case of more serious charges. They are unlikely to be involved in criminal defense for most persons. However, you may hear the term “district lawyer” discussed when researching attorneys for your case so it is wise to understand their role in the prosecution. 

Legal Aid

Sometimes, you may hear legal aid defense battered around as a possible defense option. Legal aid are often lawyers working in non-profit organizations and they also commonly take on clients who cannot afford a private lawyer.

However, most legal aid lawyers are not able to assist on criminal case matters. In lieu of a legal aid lawyer, you will likely opt for a public defender instead or seek a panel lawyer to assist you. 

public defender vs private lawyers

Choosing Your Criminal Defense Lawyer

In Maryland, when you are facing criminal charges, you will likely be considering a public defender or private criminal defense attorney for your case. Understanding these two lawyers and how they represent you and what they offer can be critical in getting the assistance you need to defend yourself in court.

Public defenders are supplied by the state in the case of being unable to afford an attorney. While public defenders do work to represent you and your case at no charge, there are drawbacks. 

Public defenders may have less time to discuss your case with you due to their working hours and other state-appointed caseloads. You will likely have less time to discuss your case, plan of action, and possible outcomes. Additionally, you do not get to choose your public defender, they are supplied by the state without any prior interaction. ‘

Private criminal defense lawyers are commonly your second choice of defense lawyer. Private criminal defense lawyers allow you to seek out your own counsel. You can make appointments for free consultations to discuss your case and determine through conversation and questions who is best to defend your rights in court based on the outcome you want. 

Private criminal attorneys, however, can be costly based on the length of your trial, the seriousness of your charge, and other factors. You will be responsible for the cost of your attorney without government assistance.

Get a Consult with a Criminal Defense Attorney Today

If you’re overwhelmed with your criminal charge, don’t fret. Saller Law in Baltimore offers free consultations on criminal cases. You can set up an appointment to discuss your case, defense options, costs, and more.

When facing criminal charges, don’t leave your future up to chance. Feel confident by picking a team that understands the process and will fight quickly and efficiently for your rights. Protect your future. 

Criminal Lawyer vs Public Defender FAQ

Private lawyers are hired by the client and offer personalized attention and often times a higher level of experience. They are paid for directly by the client and costs vary from attorney to attorney.

Public defenders are appointed by the government or state. They cost the client nothing and still offer defense strategies and representation, however, often with less attention and fewer consultations or discussions on strategy and outcomes. 

Yes, if you cannot afford a private lawyer, a public defender will be provided by the state to represent you. Public defenders are always an option for those facing criminal charges who cannot afford a private lawyer. It is your right to have representation to navigate the legal aspect of your case. 

You want to consider your financial options, how complex the case is, and how closely you want to work with your defense lawyer. While private lawyers may offer more personalized attention, public defenders are an option for those who cannot afford private representation.

The most critical aspect is what you may be facing if you are charged guilty and what investment you want to make to avoid that outcome. 

Private lawyers may have more resources at their disposal, allowing for thorough investigations, expert witnesses, and other elements that can strengthen a defense.

Public defenders, facing constraints, may need to prioritize resources, potentially affecting the depth of their defense strategy in criminal cases. However, public defenders are all qualified and experienced attorneys who offer representation and legal knowledge to navigate your case at no cost. 

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