Criminal Defense: When to Go Private
If you are arrested, one of the first things you hear from the arresting officer is that you have the right to be represented by an attorney and to have that attorney present when you are questioned. If you cannot afford a lawyer, they say, the state will pay for you to have one.
Why is law enforcement — the ones who are arresting you in the first place — so interested in making sure you have someone to defend you? Well, the most immediate answer is that they are required to. The famous Miranda case established that police must issue you a Miranda Warning (you have the right to remain silent, etc.) — which includes your right to an attorney — before questioning you while you are in custody.
But at the root of that requirement is that the government understands average people are not knowledgeable enough to know how best to protect their own Constitutional rights in an arrest situation. The advice of an attorney is essential. The only question is: Which attorney?
While the government kindly offers to provide you with a public defender, that is usually not the best course of action unless absolutely necessary. You may feel you cannot afford to hire a private criminal defense attorney. But the reality is that you cannot afford not to.
Public defenders carry heavy caseloads and probably will not have much time to dedicate to your criminal case. It is also in their interests to recommend you accept a plea bargain to wrap up your case and move on to the next.
As they say, you get what you pay for. Experienced Colorado criminal defense attorneys, on the other hand, fight vigorously to protect your rights every step of the way and do everything within their knowledge to obtain the best possible outcome. Their reputations depend on it.