Why should I pay for a private attorney instead of using a public defender?

Written by Reynolds Defense Firm

On October 1, 2023

So, you’ve made the wise choice of seeking help with your DUI case. This is a huge first step, because asking for help can be hard to do. But you’ll find that having an experienced professional by your side will provide valuable peace of mind throughout your legal journey. You can be confident knowing that you have a knowledgeable advocate in your corner who can navigate the complexities of the legal system, address your concerns, and work hard to achieve the best possible outcome for your case.

Now you must make the decision of which attorney you should choose. It’s a decision that often involves several considerations, with cost being a significant factor. Do you hire a private attorney or save the expense and choose to work with a public defender? While cost is undoubtedly an important concern, it’s equally essential to understand the advantages and disadvantages of each option. In our blog below we will explore the most important factors that can influence your decision, and why hiring a private attorney may be the optimal choice.

Navigating the Public Defender Crisis

First and foremost, in Oregon, there’s a well-known crisis in the public defense system. Recent findings by the American Bar Association show that Oregon has a mere 31% of the necessary public defenders to offer proper legal defense for people facing criminal charges. And this shortage isn’t a recent problem; it’s a systemic issue that has persisted for decades. In 2019, the Sixth Amendment Center confirmed that Oregon’s public defense system was both unconstitutional and unethical due to overwhelming caseloads that hindered ethical and effective legal representation. While there are fantastic public defenders, the core issue lies in the system’s design, with public defenders being stretched too thin and unable to devote as much time as they would like, and as they need, on their cases. As a matter of fact, a group of public defenders brought the issue before the Supreme Court in September, 2023.

Communication is key

One of the most common complaints we hear from people who contact our office looking for help is that they are unhappy with the level of communication they are getting from their court-appointed attorney. For many public defenders, the first time they meet with their clients is at the first court appearance. Facing a DUI charge can be an incredibly daunting and scary experience. Frequent communication with your lawyer, and preparation before any court appearance, is crucial to help alleviate some of the fear and uncertainty that comes with a DUI arrest.

At Reynolds Defense Firm, maintaining regular communication with our clients is the standard. We make sure you’ve had a chance to speak with our legal team prior to any court appearance so you know what to expect. We also have weekly check in’s with you throughout the duration of your matter so you feel empowered and confident about what’s going on with your case. Further, our legal team meets 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 or with any one of our lawyers, every attorney 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.

You get what you pay for

When it comes to hiring an attorney, the old saying “you get what you pay for” often holds true. While it might be tempting to go for the cheapest legal option available, it’s crucial to think about the long-term consequences of that choice. Public defenders handle a wide variety of cases, ranging from juvenile matters to mental health cases, appeals, and a number of other non-DUI related misdemeanors. Successfully defending against a DUI charge requires someone who specializes in this area. DUI law involves scientific and medical aspects related to testing, knowledge of DMV regulations, and staying up to date with the latest case law. Specialized, private attorneys may come with a higher price tag, but their expertise, dedication, and accessibility can make a significant difference in the outcome of your case.

Keep in mind that your choice of attorney can have a big impact on your future, so it’s a decision that deserves careful thought and investment. Reynolds Defense Firm understands this, which is why we offer flexible payment and financing options. Financial concerns shouldn’t prevent you from getting the best possible representation for your DUI case.

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 paramount when navigating 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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