Should You Get a Private or Public Criminal Defense Lawyer in Washington State?

Once you’ve made the decision to hire a criminal defense lawyer to protect your freedom, you might still be deciding whether you’ll opt for a private or public criminal defense lawyer in Washington State. What are the implications of this decision, and what should you know before making it? We’ll answer these questions and more in this blog.

Private vs. Public Criminal Defense Lawyer

To begin, let’s define the difference between a private and public criminal defense lawyer. A private criminal defense lawyer is one that you hire yourself. You’ll pay for their services out of pocket or through a payment plan. Conversely, the state provides you with a public criminal defense lawyer if you cannot afford to hire your own representation.

The Implications of Your Decision

Apart from monetary considerations, choosing between a public and private criminal defense attorney has a number of implications.


These include:


Because they have many cases, public defenders may not be able to give as much time to your case as would be given by a private lawyer.


Private attorneys might have more experience or specialized knowledge in specific areas of criminal law. Do you need someone with expertise in reckless driving cases or assault charges? A private lawyer typically has more experience in those areas.

Individualized Attention

With more focused attention and strategy development capability, private lawyers tend to offer a more customized approach to your case.


Consider a private lawyer’s reputation, track record, and won-lost ratio when making your decision. Unlike appointing state-funded legal representatives, you are free to choose the person with whom you want to work.

Which is Right for You?

Ultimately, the decision between a private or public criminal defense lawyer is yours to make. If you cannot afford a private lawyer, a public defender will still provide you with legal representation. However, if you have the means to hire your own lawyer, this is the ideal option for most people when their freedom is on the line.

If you want to discuss your case and how the team at Snohomish Law Group will fight for you, call us today for a free consultation.
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Snohomish Law Group

Snohomish Law Group PLLC represents clients throughout Washington State including Seattle, Kirkland, Lake Forest Park, Bothell, Everett, Lynnwood, Mukilteo, Marysville, Mill Creek, Tacoma, Federal Way and Eastern Washington. Serving King, Pierce, and Snohomish Counties.
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