What is the difference between a public defender vs. “lawyer of my choice?”

Written by Reynolds Defense Firm

On November 9, 2023

What is the difference between a public defender vs. “lawyer of my choice?”

When it comes to dealing with a DUI (DUII) arrest, having an attorney you can put your faith and trust into can make a world of difference. And, when it comes to finding the attorney that’s right for you, there are always two choices. You can choose to use a court-appointed attorney (“public defender”) which, as the name implies, is appointed by the court at little to no cost to you. Or, you can choose to hire a private attorney, for a set fee, who is not appointed by the court. In simpler terms, you choose to use a “free” attorney or pay for one. Seems like a no-brainer, right? Wrong. And let us explain why.

Opting for a private attorney versus using a public defender lets you pick someone who understands your unique needs and can wholeheartedly support your case. It’s not just about legal representation; it’s about finding an advocate to help navigate the complexities of your situation. Unlike the luck-of-the-draw process with public defenders, choosing your own attorney means you get someone who’s not just a legal expert but is also someone who focuses on the human element and cares about your story and your outcome. The outcome of your case will impact the rest of your life, so you should be the one in control – beginning with the decision in who you want to represent you. A private attorney means you choose. So it’s not just any attorney, it’s a lawyer of your choice. And when you choose a team like Reynolds Defense Firm, you’re setting yourself up for success.

Unlike public defenders, Reynolds Defense Firm can extend our representation beyond the court case, navigating additional complexities such as DMV hearings with expertise and dedication. Additionally, when you work with Reynolds Defense Firm we can provide additional programs and resources that go beyond the traditional legal scope, to help you in every facet of your legal journey. This human-focused approach ensures that you not only receive legal representation but are also equipped with the tools and support necessary for a more favorable outcome and a smoother path forward.

Differences at a glance

Considering the Pros and Cons

Personalized attention

Reynolds Defense Firm attorneys have lower caseloads than public defenders, allowing us to provide more personalized attention to your case. Our team will have more time to investigate the details and build a strong defense strategy tailored to your situation. Public defenders typically carry heavier caseloads, navigating through multiple cases simultaneously. This workload can sometimes limit the extent of personalized attention each case receives. Reynolds Defense Firm ensures you aren’t just another case in a heavy workload. Our team commits to providing you with the attention and resources needed to achieve the best outcome for your case, offering the personalized touch you deserve.

Expertise and specialization

Reynolds Defense Firm specializes in DUI defense, providing in-depth knowledge and expertise related to your case. Public defenders handle a wide variety of cases, ranging from felonies, Measure 11 and violent crimes, to juvenile matters, mental health cases, and a number of other non-DUI related misdemeanors. You have the ability to choose Reynolds Defense Firm who has specialized in DUI law for 20 years, with a dedicated team of seven attorneys with over 100 years combined experience.

Support staff

Public defenders often operate with limited support staff and may not have a team of attorneys to provide immediate backup, further impacting the level of individual attention they can dedicate to each case. Reynolds Defense Firm takes a unique approach to how we represent our clients.  We have legal teams consisting of attorneys and legal assistants that meet weekly to discuss every case that we have at the firm. They go over timelines, strategy, outcomes, status checks, court appearances, and outstanding items. This way, no matter what comes up with any case every attorney and legal assistant knows what is going on so they can step in when needed and still provide the same great service and legal representation for our clients along with managing the goals of the case consistently. 

DMV hearing representation

In Oregon, there are two separate processes moving forward at the same time after a DUI arrest.   The first, and the portion that most people are thinking about is the criminal case.  The second, is called the Implied Consent process – most often referred to as the DMV hearing process. This process is very important because this is where the determination is made of whether or not your license is suspended. Public defenders are limited in their scope of representation and they cannot help you with the implied consent process. Reynolds Defense Firm isn’t the right fit for everyone, but if you are a good person facing DUI charges and possible license suspension, we might be exactly the help you’re looking for.  Call us today at 503-549-4590 or hit the live chat button so we can get started working together with you right away.

Client resources

Public defenders, constrained by heavy caseloads and limited resources, are not always able to go the extra mile to provide comprehensive resources and additional support for their clients. At Reynolds Defense Firm, being your legal advocate means going beyond the courtroom. We understand that facing legal challenges involves more than just legalities; it’s a journey that requires support at every step. We care about the person, not just the case. That’s why we’ve crafted the Window of Clarity Program, the Diversion Workbook, and the Client Care Program — not just services, but a testament to our commitment to your success outside of the courtroom.

Manageable workloads

Public defenders can average a caseload of about 80-90 matters per month. In 2019, the Sixth Amendment Center confirmed that Oregon’s public defense system was both unconstitutional and unethical due to overwhelming caseloads that prevented ethical and effective legal representation. Each attorney at Reynolds Defense Firm averages about one-third of that amount of cases to ensure our legal team has plenty of time an opportunity to devote as much time as they like, and as they need, on their cases.

Flexible payment options

While public defenders are often viewed as a cost-effective option due to their low or no-cost services, Reynolds Defense Firm takes affordability to a new level by offering flexible payment options. We believe that quality legal support should be accessible to everyone, making the services of a specialized team like Reynolds Defense Firm, not just an worth-while investment, but an affordable reality for everyone who needs our help. If you or someone you care about was arrested for DUI, call us today to discuss your options.

Works for you

Public defenders are appointed by the court and it’s important to recognize that the nature of their relationship with the court can influence the dynamics of representation. Though public defenders are committed to providing effective legal guidance, they may have to navigate a dual role of serving both you and the court. When you choose a team like Reynolds Defense Firm, we focus solely on your best interests.

Client-centered advocate

In order to keep up with demanding caseloads, the focus for court-appointed attorneys is getting cases through the system as quickly as possible. They don’t always have time to get to know their clients on a deeper level. And while this may not seem like that big of a deal to some, Reynolds Defense Firm believes that getting to know each client is crucial to obtaining the best outcome for their case. Recognizing that every client is unique, we take the time to delve into the personal narrative behind each case, understanding the intricacies of your life, goals, wants, and needs. By intimately understanding your aspirations and challenges, we can tailor our legal strategies to align with your specific goals, ensuring the best results for you and your family.

Choose Reynolds Defense Firm

Reynolds Defense Firm is a team of dedicated professionals committed to providing stellar legal services to folks in need. With our collective experience of over 100 years, we specialize in one area—representing good people facing DUI charges. As highlighted above, choosing the right attorney is important when dealing with a DUI arrest, and our expertise can make a significant difference in the outcome of your case. While we hope you never need us, if you or someone you care about is arrested for a DUI in Oregon, please don’t hesitate to reach out to us at (503) 496-7558. Reynolds Defense Firm – we’re solid, we’re here if you need us, and we are very good at what we do.

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