Some defendants who are deemed to be indigent might be debating whether it is worth their while to get an attorney to represent them in a criminal case. They might rationalize their decision on the basis that there is a good alternative for making use of the public defender or any other court-appointed attorney for legal advice. That is not something that we would advise. You should have legal representation of some sort in any case . If you can, make sure that you hire one because someone whom you have paid is within your control. You can motivate or demotivate them using the payments that are advanced. The public defenders are only there due to a service calling and their obligations as professionals. That means that their work is mainly guided by the strictures of the institutions within which they operate.
Those strictures may not necessarily be in the best interest of the defendant. For example, following an outcry about authorities that are lenient on criminals, there have been significant budget cuts that tend to target the public defense fund. The problem with such an arrangement is that it leads to reduced services and even impaired quality in terms of delivering a standard of defense that is in the interests of justice. There are many people who are convicted and sentenced for no other reason than the fact that they have committed the cardinal sin of not having sufficient money to pay for a good lawyer. This is a situation that defendants should avoid because a conviction can have significant and unintended consequences.
Making the Best Use of the Legal Resources Available
If the defendant is completely destitute, he or she may ask for a lawyer. Chicago allows self-representation in some cases. However, this is not an option that is advisable unless the defendant is particularly well-trained and skilled in the law. There are so many complex procedural rules that must be negotiated. An amateur is bound to make a mistake, and then, he or she may later complain about a poor defense. In some cases, the fact that the defendant is defending himor herself may be used to discredit him or her.
Some defendants are under preemptive confiscation and freezing orders. That means that they are unable to access or liquidate their assets in order to get quality representation. Unless the assets are themselves demonstrably tainted, the defendant may file an application to be able to get some money to assist him or her with the defense. The prosecution tends to oppose these cases on the assumption that the defendant is so sophisticated and well-connected that he or she may use the money to interfere with the investigation. Alternatively, the interests of justice may not be served if the defendant is able to liquidate all ill-earned gains via attorney fees before efforts can be made to compensate the victims.
Selecting the Right Defense Attorney
In any case, what is absolutely clear is the imperative to select a defense attorney who understands the nature of the case. An attorney must be committed to justice and give the defendant the best advice possible. It is also advisable that such an attorney has significant experience in the field of practice pertaining to the case at hand. This is a critical requirement, particularly when the case is complex and has the potential to spill over into other dimensions that were not originally intended. Consider whether an attorney’s fees and costs are affordable. For expert legal advice you can trust, contact David Freidberg Attorney at Law at 312-560-7100.
(image courtesy of Aidan Meyer)