Whenever a person is charged with a criminal offense, he or she has three options for representation:
- the person can represent him or herself
- the person can be appointed a public defender if he or she cannot afford a private attorney
- the person can hire a private criminal defense attorney.
Option one is never a great idea, even if you are an attorney. You’ll notice that whenever an attorney is charged with a crime, he or she immediately hires a lawyer to represent him or her on the case. This should give the general public a clue as to how important it is to have an attorney represent you when charged with a crime.
The public defender’s office is available only to those who cannot afford to hire a private attorney. The person must fill out a financial affidavit disclosing all income and expenses and give it to the court to see if he or she qualifies.
Finally, there are numerous private attorneys to chose from and most offer free consultations so that you have the opportunity to meet them in person before hiring.