January 5, 2009 By Wallin & Klarich

Why you should retain a private southern California criminal defense attorney

According to a recently published New York Times article, it appears that opting for what accused criminals generally consider to be a free public defender is becoming an even more risky proposition. Government appointed lawyers are reporting that state officials are further cutting funding for public legal defense. The effects of the budget cuts have proven to be particularly hard on accused criminals who choose not to pay a criminal defense lawyer. In the words of some “harried lawyers,” criminal defendants presently relying on public defenders are being served “McJustice.”

It is estimated that public defenders assigned to felony cases are handling about 500 annually, and those assigned to misdemeanors are being forced to take up to 2,225. As unfortunate as the result is, it has been seen that some public defenders are either refusing to take more cases on ethical grounds, or simply quitting, leaving only new, inexperienced and overworked attorneys to defend the accused. At least part of their reasoning is that in being so overworked there is a substantially high likelihood that accused criminals who are actually innocent will nonetheless go to jail because the resulting strict time constraints make plea bargaining their only option.

While criminal defendant’s may be banking on appealing an unfair decision based on ineffective assistance of public counsel, this strategy has been advised against because once convicted it is extremely difficult and unlikely to obtain a reversal on this ground. Moreover, contrary to popular belief, public defenders are not often free, and pursuant to Cal.Penal.Code § 987.2 the court must hold a hearing at the end of the case to determine how much money a criminal defendant must pay for the use of their services. California courts have varying criteria dictating how much a person must pay the county for using a public defender, with the amount owed varying from zero to large sums of money.

When you or a loved one are facing criminal charges there are many potential consequences, including loss of your freedom, employment, driving privilege, ability to remain with your family, etc. Wallin & Klarich is a private California criminal defense law firm with over thirty years of experience. They have represented criminal defendants in all types of cases, and have a strong philosophy that each client deserves respect, attention and zealous advocacy for their defense. If you or someone you know is in need of professional criminal defense, or needs to appeal a conviction because you believe that you were unfairly dealt with during your case, you can contact Wallin & Klarich 24 hours a day at 1 (888) 749-0034. Additionally, you can begin to find answers to your questions at www.wklaw.com. We will be there when you call.

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