What is preferable, a Public Defender or a private criminal law attorney?

My son was charged with 2nd degree burglary and concealing and possessing stolen property. I was told he could serve 5 to 10 years, this is his first offense. He recently lost his job so has no income. He is married with 3 children and I do not want him to go to prison. I’m on a limited budget but if he could get better representation with an attorney we’d have to find a way.

Asked on December 18, 2010 under Criminal Law, Oklahoma


M.D., Member, California and New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

Seems that you really don't have a choice here.  Since money is a factor, see if he qualifes for representation by Legal Aid (there are income limits) or see if they can recommend someone to help you.  Also, check if there is a law school nearby to where he lives live; they typically run free/low cost clinics that handle these type cases.  Finally, he can contact the local Bar Association in the county where toe legal proceedings are taking place; it may have a list of attorneys who will take his case "pro bono" (for free) or at least for a reduced fee based on his income/circumstances. 

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