what is a public defenders job

what is a public defenders job

What is a Public Defender?

A public defender is a lawyer appointed by the court to represent those who cannot afford to hire an attorney for their criminal case. They may be hired for a single case or assigned to an entire region. Public defenders fill a crucial role in providing legal protection to those who may make their way through the criminal justice system without access to an attorney.

Roles and Responsibilities of a Public Defender

Public defenders are responsible for providing representation to those facing criminal charges who are financially unable to hire an attorney. They handle all necessary legal tasks associated with the criminal case, including:

  • Investigating the charges
  • Advising the accused on their rights
  • Negotiating plea agreements
  • Engaging in trial preparation and litigation
  • Representing the accused in court

Public defenders also provide additional legal assistance to their clients, such as communicating with the prosecution, helping clients understand the legal process, and providing referrals to social service organizations to help with any underlying personal issues related to the accused’s criminal charges.

Qualifications for Becoming a Public Defender

Public defenders must meet certain qualifications in order to practice in their chosen jurisdiction. Generally, all public defenders must be licensed to practice law in their state, and must possess a comprehensive knowledge of criminal law. Additionally, many jurisdictions require public defenders to receive specialized training in trial advocacy, criminal law, and legal ethics.

Practicing as a public defender is one of the most meaningful and rewarding careers a lawyer can pursue. Public defenders have the opportunity to make a positive difference in the lives of those facing criminal charges, and are champions of the legal rights of all citizens, regardless of financial means.


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