If you are facing criminal charges, you undoubtedly want to put the matter behind you as quickly as possible. Still, if you are not guilty or have a valid defense, rushing to accept a plea deal may be a bad idea. Having an attorney on your side is likely to make a major difference.
As you probably know, criminal defense attorneys can seem expensive. Nevertheless, you probably have a right to have an attorney with you during all phases of your prosecution. Provided both your criminal charges have the potential to lead to jail time and you cannot afford to hire your own attorney, the State of Arizona is apt to appoint a public defender to represent you.
According to Maricopa County, public defenders are qualified criminal defense attorneys who are members of the bar. These attorneys have a legal obligation to provide you with effective representation. Nevertheless, public defender officers are usually busy places, with their attorneys often having limited time to handle each assigned matter.
Public defenders may seek to negotiate plea deals for their clients for a couple of reasons. First, plea deals may limit the penalties defendants face. Second, plea deals help public defenders free up their time by avoiding potentially lengthy trials.
While it certainly may be in your interests to negotiate a plea deal, doing so also may have some significant consequences. Because a private attorney is likely to have more time and resources to devote to your case, you may be better off paying for your own lawyer.
Ultimately, while you can trust a public defender to handle your case competently, exploring other options may keep you from having a criminal record for the rest of your life.
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