How often do Public Defenders win cases?

When there is a criminal charge against you, you tend to think “how often do public defenders win cases?” The outcome may have life-altering effects, and you need to ponder carefully. Usually, people think about whether they can believe public defenders or hire a private lawyer.

If you plead guilty, you don’t have to be baffled by the decision. Instead, if you decide to pray not guilty, you should research to find the best attorney for your case. You may or may not accept your lawyer’s recommendation for your punishment. 

How often do public defenders win cases? (Public defenders’ success rate)


The success-to-loss ratio is 60% in a jury case. In jury cases, the success rate of public attorneys is 3%, and most cases convict the defendant. The 60% success rate isn’t very high since they end up losing the battle.

Both public and private attorneys have a 75% conviction rate. The main problem with public attorneys is that they don’t get enough time to spend with each and every defendant. They either meet late and find too little time to extract relevant information to win the case.

How to choose a public defender?


The government chooses the public defendant in case you plead indigent before the court. Search on the internet to pick the best one for you and if he has a strong practice in your locality, well and good. Check for google reviews about public defenders in your area to help you find a talented one. Talk to the public defender in your area to find out whether he is interested to take up your case.

Pros of choosing public defenders

  1. You needn’t pay public defenders as they are court-appointed attorneys. public defendants can request an attorney and can avail of their services.
  2. As they have rich experience attending a variety of cases, the public defenders’ success rate is higher.

Cons of choosing public defenders

  1. Compensation for public defenders is not at par with private attorneys. They have more cases than they can take up. They have around 1500-2000 cases to attend to compared to 200-300 cases of private attorneys. Lack of time is a principal constraint, and they often make mistakes.
  2. Since the court appoints public defenders, the defendants can’t change their lawyer. When there is doubt in their mind like, “do public defendants actually help” defendants have no choice. 

Pros of choosing a private attorney:


  1. Private attorneys get time to provide 1 to 1 attention as they are not flooded with many cases. They maintain a close relationship with the clients that help them to come up with new information that can help the case.
  2. Since the defendants pay the attorneys, they can engage expert witnesses to win the case. When you hire a private attorney, you need not entertain doubts like “Do public defenders ever win” These private attorneys are dedicated lawyers who help you win the case.
  3. You can effortlessly contact your lawyer as you have appointed him, which is impossible in the case of public defendants.

Having understood the pros and cons of public defenders and private attorneys, let us answer,” Do public defenders ever win?” Being wary of the success rate of the public defenders will help you avoid surprises later on. The success depends on the facts of the case.

Public defenders represent people accused of less severe crimes and more severe cases like a felony. In such cases, the conviction rate is 81%. In misdemeanor cases, the conviction rate is 91%.

Also See: Prosecutor Vs Defense Attorney

Frequently Asked Questions


Do defense attorneys win cases? 

Honestly speaking defense attorneys lessen the punishment for the party they represent. If a prosecutor is doing the right job, public attorneys don’t have a significant role. However, they help maintain professional standards high as they point out what the prosecutor has missed in the argument.

Is it better to appoint a public attorney or a private one? 

Hire private attorneys for a better outcome of the case.



Public defenders are state-appointed attorneys who represent insolent defendants. The public defenders’ success rate is less because they face time constraints and can’t attend to lots of clients. If you want to prove not guilty, hire a private attorney who can spend ample time with you extracting relevant information and hire expert witnesses for you.

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