While you have the right to a court-appointed attorney if you are low income, it may be in your best interests to hire an attorney instead. Finding the money to hire an attorney can allow you to get representation that goes beyond the basic.
The New York Times explains there are many issues with public defenders because they have so much work to manage. These issues can negatively impact your case. Before you make a final decision on who will represent you, it is important to understand the differences between representation you will get from a public defender and attorney you hire yourself.
When the court appoints an attorney to handle your case, he or she may have no time to even review the details of it before first representing you in court. Your attorney may have discussions with you and advise you right in the courtroom without any preparation. You may have to make instant decisions on important issues with minimal guidance from your legal representative.
Even when you do get a chance to speak to your attorney outside of the courtroom, it may be very brief. Public defenders have huge caseloads, which means they will handle many cases at one time. They do not often have support staff, so anything that they must do, they must do it themselves, which limits the amount of time they spend on your case.
You may think that you can later object and claim inadequate counsel after your conviction, but this is very difficult to do. So, do not rely on this.
With an attorney you hire with your own money, you get more attention. The attorney will not take on too many cases. He or she will have support staff to assist with your case. This allows time for a proper investigation and to mount an adequate defense. Having the right representation in the beginning will help you to have a better experience and not have to rely on convincing a court you had inadequate counsel.