Should I Hire a Private Lawyer or Use the Public Defender in Florida

Duval County Attorney

Call (904) 564-2525 to talk to an attorney.

You have heard the phrase, “If you cannot afford an attorney, one will be appointed to you.”  That is where the public defender’s office comes in.  “The Public Defender’s Office was established due to the outcome of the case Gideon vs. Wainwright; 2013 marks the 50th anniversary of this landmark case. On March 18, 1963, the Supreme Court of the United States ruled that under the 14th amendment, state courts are required to provide counsel to defendants who are unable to afford a private attorney. This decision led to the Office of the Public Defender.”

Let’s pretend that you were arrested for domestic battery in Jacksonville Beach FL.  You spend the night in the Duval County Jail.  You go to first appearance court.  You post bail and bond out of jail.  The judge may have already determined that you were indigent and appointed the public defender’s office.  The judge may have found you solvent and told you to hire your own Jacksonville criminal lawyer.  If the judge did appoint an attorney to represent you, you may be wondering, “Should I hire a paid attorney or go with the pubic defender?”  If you can afford to hire an attorney, you should do so.  The public defender that will be appointed to your case probably has hundreds of clients.  You only have one case.  It is the most important thing that is going on in your life.  You are worried about the outcome of your case.  You want a Jacksonville criminal attorney that feels the same way about your case.

As a former Duval County attorney for the Office of the Public Defender, I know how hard it is to give individualized attention to each client.  When I became a private attorney, I had more time.  I was able to pay more attention to my clients.  This means that your Jacksonville criminal defense lawyer is better able to concentrate on your case.

When you hire a Jacksonville lawyer, you want someone that will take your calls and speak to you about your case.  When you are appointed a public defender, an attorney is chosen for you.  You do not get to choose your attorney.  When you hire a lawyer, you are the one that gets to choose your own lawyer.

I am not in anyway stating that public defenders are not excellent Florida defense attorneys.  I worked with many brilliant lawyers at the public defenders office.  As with any office, there are great employees and no-so-great ones.  That is just one reason why you should hire your own attorney if you can afford one.  You should try to find someone that you feel comfortable with.  This is an important decision.  You liberty is on the line.  You have a future to think about.

Contact 20 Miles Law with any questions or to talk with a lawyer in Jacksonville.  Most of the time, a free consultation can be conducted right over the telephone.  Call (904) 564-2525 or send an email to Contact Lawyers.

About Cynthia, 20 Miles Law

Cynthia Veintemillas

Jacksonville Criminal Lawyer Cynthia Veintemillas Photo

Cynthia Veintemillas is an experienced Florida attorney. She began her legal career at the public defender’s office in Jacksonville, Florida. Her primary practice fields include criminal defense, litigation, and family law. She has also represented many people facing foreclosure in Duval County, Clay County, and St. Johns County, Florida.

Jurisdictions Admitted to Practice

  • Florida, 2006
  • South Carolina, 2007
  • Middle District of Florida, 2009

Professional & Bar Association Memberships

  • Florida Bar 
Member Since: 2006
  • South Carolina 
Member Since: 2007
  • Jacksonville Bar 
Member Since: 2008
  • Florida Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers


Should I Hire a Private Lawyer or Use the Public Defender in Florida — 57 Comments

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