Private Practice Vs Public Defender: Which Criminal Lawyer is Better?

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When facing criminal charges, one of the most important decisions you’ll make is choosing the right criminal lawyer in Calgary to represent you. Two common options available to you are private practice lawyers and public defenders. In this article, we’ll explore the advantages and disadvantages of each and help you make an informed decision on which is better for your case.

Private Practice Criminal Lawyers in Calgary

Private practice criminal lawyers are independent practitioners who work for themselves or in law firms. They charge a fee for their services and typically have a smaller caseload than public defenders. Private practice lawyers can provide more individualized attention and may have more resources to dedicate to your case.

Advantages of Private Practice Criminal Lawyers

  1. Specialization – Private practice criminal lawyers can specialize in specific areas of criminal law, such as DUI or drug offences, and can provide expert legal advice and representation.
  2. Personalized Attention – Private practice criminal lawyers have fewer cases to manage than public defenders, which means they can give more personalized attention to each case.
  3. More Resources – Private practice criminal lawyers often have more resources to allocate towards your case, including expert witnesses, investigators, and forensic specialists.

Disadvantages of Private Practice Criminal Lawyers

  1. Cost – Private practice criminal lawyers are often more expensive than public defenders. The cost can be prohibitive for some defendants, especially those facing serious charges.
  2. Availability – Private practice criminal lawyers may not be available on short notice. They may also be selective about the types of cases they take on.
Private Practice Vs Public Defender: Which Criminal Lawyer is Better?

Public Defender Criminal Lawyers in Calgary

Public defenders are government-appointed lawyers representing clients who cannot afford to hire their own counsel. The government pays public defenders, and they have a substantial caseload, which means they may have less time to dedicate to each individual case.

Advantages of Public Defender Criminal Lawyers

  1. Affordability – Public defenders are free for clients who cannot afford to hire their own lawyers.
  2. Experience – Public defenders have experience handling various criminal cases and are familiar with the local court system.
  3. Accessibility – Public defenders are readily available and can be appointed quickly to represent a client in a criminal case.

Disadvantages of Public Defender Criminal Lawyers

  1. High Caseloads – Public defenders often have high caseloads, which can limit the amount of time and resources they can devote to any one case.
  2. Limited Specialization – Public defenders may not have specialized knowledge in certain areas of criminal law and may not be able to provide as advanced or expert legal advice and representation as private practice lawyers.
  3. Limited Resources – Public defenders may have limited resources to dedicate to each case, including expert witnesses, investigators, and forensic specialists.


Choosing between a public defender and a private practice criminal lawyer in Calgary ultimately depends on your situation. If you can afford a private practice lawyer and need specialized expertise and attention, a private practice lawyer may be your best option. If you cannot afford a private practice lawyer, a public defender may be able to provide you with adequate representation.

Ultimately, the most important factor in your decision should be the experience and qualifications of the criminal lawyer you choose to represent you. Look for a lawyer with a good track record and a solid understanding of the local criminal justice system. With the right lawyer on your side, you can increase your chances of a positive outcome in your criminal case.

Joel Chevrefils of Alberta Criminal Defence Lawyers is here to defend you against all criminal charges. When charged with a criminal offence, such as impaired driving, domestic violence, or DUI, the first thing you should do is call your trusted Calgary criminal defence lawyer. His professionalism can help you with all concerns regarding your charges and the complex nature of Canada’s legal system. Chevrefils can help you with your charges in and outside Calgary, including Provincial Courts in Cochrane, Airdrie, Okotoks, Red Deer and Edmonton. Trust your case to Calgary’s most experienced criminal lawyer. Call Alberta Criminal Defence Lawyers today at (403) 830-1980.

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