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    Colorado Criminal Defense Law – Making The Decision to “Go With” Public Defenders or Other Court Appointed Lawyers and The Significant Cost of A Private Criminal Defense Lawyer

    The “High Cost” of Representation

    I am often asked whether it is “worth it” to spend the thousands of dollars on a private lawyer as opposed to “going with” a public defender.  I answer the question today as I always have – whether in my career as a DA or my many years as a private Colorado criminal defense lawyer – I ansswer the question this way – and that is – that many of the public defenders I have met are some of the best lawyers I have ever known – and some, quite frankly, are not.  Applying for and qualifying for a public defender means you will most likely receive solid and qualified representation and, then again, just like the private sector – you may not.  You will not know and you may never know the difference.

    It is common for people to claim that the costs for representation aren’t worth the lawyers’ fees –  and again that may ultimately be proven true – however, what these same people may not realize is that although a public defender or court appointed lawyer is free, he or she may not have the necessary professional experience or the experience and background to adequately handle all aspects of a complex Colorado criminal case.

    This web page is intended to shed some light on the decision.

    In fact, costs for a private representation may be considered to be quite reasonable when you consider what you’re getting from a private attorney. In a world where the caseload for public defenders is doubling – or in some cases – tripling each year  – their time – the bare amount of time they need just to think about every case – is growing shorter each month.

    You should take these factors under consideration:


    Private attorneys may practice in specific areas of the law- that is – specialize while public defenders do not. Thus, when you hire a personal defense lawyer who specializes in the area you need, you’ll be getting his or her years of experience and expertise in return for the costs for representation.


    Public defenders are often, but not always, young lawyers trying to get some post law school “experience”; thus, they have not had the opportunity to build a reputation or may not have many years “in the trenches”” of the courtroom.  They may be learning on your case. Conversely, a privately hired defense lawyer with decades of experience may have  the experience and the reputation among the courts and his or her peers that could prove helpful to your case.

    Case Load

    As noted above – personal lawyers usually do not come close to the case loads that a public defender may carry. This lawfirm limits its active caseload intenionally and H. Michael handles every case personally – not handing the case off to some inexperienced associate.

    Thus, you won’t be treated as a number, but perhaps more personally – as will be your family members and friends (if you permit the contact) – with a critically important and serious criminal case that will have lifteime consequences to you in many instances. 

    Time and personal attention may make the difference to you during the many weeks and months some serious cases require to make their way through an intimidating and very frightening criminal justice system. This may be another benefit that comes under the rubric “the high costs for private representation.”

    Freedom of Choice

    You will not be able to switch attorneys if you “go with” a court-appointed defender. Therefore, if you and your legal representative do not see eye-to-eye, you may be unable to change lawyers. For the costs a private lawyer, you can hire a lawyer of your choosing, giving you the additional control, freedom and power over your life in a context that takes control from you – the courtroom.

    Public Relations

    A solid defense attorney’s costs for representation may assist with the media if you happen to have a high-profile case. Unlike many public defenders, private firm attorneys often have a better understanding of the use of the media when it comes to speaking with the press .

    I would urge you to contact the Steinberg Colorado Criminal Defense Law Firm if you have questions about this issue or any issue as regards private legal representation.

    Please feel free to fill out our free case review form including all contact information.

    Please try to relax. I am looking forward to reviewing your case information.

    If you contact me I WILL contact you well within 24 hours – usually much less. I will review your case details and walk you through the legal process.

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    H. Michael Steinberg Esq.
    Attorney and Counselor at Law
    The Colorado Criminal Defense Law Firm of H. Michael Steinberg
    A Denver, Colorado Lawyer Focused Exclusively On
    Colorado Criminal Law For Over 40 Years.
    The Edward Building
    8400 East Prentice Ave, Penthouse 1500
    Greenwood Village, Colorado, 80111
    E-Mail:  [email protected]
    Primary Web Site:
    Colorado Criminal Law Blog:
    Main:  303.627.7777
    Cell:  720.220.2277
    24/7 Pager:  303.543.4433
    FAX (Toll Free):  1.877.533.6276
    Always investigate a lawyer's qualifications and experience before making a
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