The U.S. Constitution guarantees everyone the right to legal representation in a criminal case. If you are in a situation where you think you cannot afford to hire an attorney, the court will appoint you a public defender. While this may seem ideal because it will save you money, there is a huge difference between the representation you will get from an attorney you pay privately and one appointed by the court and paid through public funds.
The New York Times reports that public defenders have a serious overload of cases, which makes it very difficult for them to allot the proper resources to each case. There is very little time for personalized service. These attorneys have to move cases through their offices quickly to avoid a back up that could potentially cause issues within the legal system due to time limits on legal matters.
A violation of rights?
You may think that having an overworked attorney is a violation of your rights to adequate representation. All the U.S. Constitution affords you is the right to a reasonably effective defense. It does not require an in-depth defense nor does it place any specific requirements on the public defender to spend a certain amount of time on your case. There is a really high threshold for proving the ineffectiveness of an attorney.
Better off on your own
For this reason, you are better off hiring your own attorney. You should find some way to afford the services if you want to ensure that you get the best representation possible.
There is a large difference in the type of attention you will receive if you go with a public defender or hire your own attorney. It could mean the difference between winning your case and ending up in prison. It is a huge gamble to take when it comes to your personal freedom.