One question I suspect most defendants to a criminal charge ponder not long after arrest is 'do I need a private defense attorney?' The truthful answer is MAYBE.
The answer is truthful because there are other valid options, and each defendant is different, as is the challenge they face. The options are going it alone as a pro se defendant, and defending yourself; using a public defender; or of course hiring me or another attorney to advise and lead the way through the process.
Ancient cliche's aside, defending yourself is perfectly fine when the facts are clear, the risk low, and the objective straightforward and reasonable. Judges tend to take special care of pro se defendants in an effort to ensure they don't get completely rolled in the process of fighting for themselves in an environment they are poorly prepared to operate in effectively. When charges are minor, with relatively inconsequential penalties, representing yourself is a viable option. A first time charge of marijuana possession for instance, when the amount is very low, and the evidence overwhelming, is one where it is not unreasonable to defend pro se. The result in such cases is usually the same whether or not you have a lawyer. A first time DUI might even be one where deciding to defend yourself will often have similar results pro se as with an attorney.
Public defenders are also a valid choice in some cases. If the case is relatively simple, does not require extensive investigation, or most importantly, the defendant doesn't wish to have the comfort of a more directly involved attorney, a public defender and the reduced cost can be a valid choice.
Otherwise hiring a private attorney really is the way to go. In doing so, you get the obvious benefit of a trained, experienced, objective legal mind to look at your case, the evidence, your possible defenses and other factors, and apply the results of that inquiry against the realities of the state attorney's interests and the court's.
You get the benefit of someone worrying about things that might otherwise not be addressed or even considered. That dramatic event experienced downrange, your medical history, the intangibles that might go overlooked by others can be understood and presented as mitigating factors that can have a real impact on the final outcome.
You also get a guide through the maze of criminal procedure, someone to walk with you through the often painful and scary experience in a way no one else can or will. If you select your attorney right you will get someone who will visit you in jail as many times as it takes, call your family, answer your calls, sometimes in the middle of the night, and allay your most immediate fears. It costs more, sometimes a lot more, but many defendants appreciate the value of having the support of 'their attorney' who knows the case inside and out and knows the other side, and can often, usually even, get you a much better outcome than you would achieve if you took another route.
This is the place where you might expect to get a pitch for my services so here it is, but it might be a different one than you expect. Be thoughtful in your selection of 'your attorney.' Shop your case around. Ultimately, you are the one at risk. Listen carefully to the feedback you get before you make your decision. Think about not only the legal aspects, but also whether this is someone you want to entrust with your problem. Is this someone you would trust to call in tears, embarrassment and fear? Is this someone you can confide in and trust with the truth in all it's possible ugliness? Is this someone you'd want standing next to you in court or talking to the judge or prosecutor out of your hearing on your behalf?
At Warrior Law our clients are what we are here for. Your problem is what we do and we are on it from day one through disposition of the case, even after. My initial consult is always free because I don't charge people for getting to see for themselves if I'm the guy they want taking care of them. Why should you pay for that?
Think about your options then call me if you think I may be the right one to help you. We respond soon at all hours every day. Good luck.