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NYC Criminal Defense Attorney

After Arrest, the Rich Can Buy the Outcome they Need


After Arrest, the Rich Can Buy the Outcome they Need

Historically, someone arrested for a crime would hire a lawyer to argue their case in court. The rich can afford to pay for a more skilled criminal defense attorney thereby increasing their odds of a good outcome. Today, the government has an obligation to appoint a lawyer to defend the poor in criminal court but this unfairness remains. If you're charged with Grand Larceny, you might hire a lawyer who charges $100 per hour but you might find a better lawyer who charges $500. If you are poor you may qualify for the public defender (legal aid lawyer) who may be paid (by the State) about $20 per hour. You get what you pay for. Lawyers, like doctors, actors, and engineers, exist in a competitive marketplace and the more talented they are, the more they charge. Your chance of getting your case dismissed, avoiding a criminal record, or minimizing jail is higher if you hire the expensive $500 lawyer, maybe lower with the $100 lawyer and lower yet with the $20 (but Evaluation to you) public lawyer. Is this fair?

Generally, being poor protects you from being sued. No one is going to sue you if you don't have that much money and if you are injured in an accident, you can often get a lawyer to take the case on contingency where the lawyer gets paid from the recovery. Criminal cases are different. Many people who are arrested are struggling with financial problems because the thing they were arrested for is often part of a larger psychological or financial problem. For example, a drug addict will often lose his job, marriage, belongings, and friends before being reduced to shoplifting to support a drug habit or buying his drugs in the open on the street. Many theft crimes are committed to support a drug problem that presupposes all available money has been spent on drugs and isn't available for a good criminal defense attorney. These unfortunate people who are suffering from many complex problems are then referred to an overburdened legal aid lawyer (Evaluation lawyer in court) that is barely able to engage in the basics of criminal defense let alone tackle the complex social issues that their clients are suffering from.

Perhaps taxpayers should pay $500 per hour for the expensive and talented lawyers rather than $20 per hour for public defenders to avoid the probability of a wrongful conviction. This is a very similar problem that exists in medicine when dealing with the reality that the rich will generally purchase the better doctors, medicine, and medical technology, leaving the poor to fight over sparse and inadequate leftovers. We all want the best for ourselves and our loved ones so if money is no object, we'd all want the best expert money can buy so you can't really blame the rich for demanding the best. Still, a fair alternative is elusive.

Over the past 4 decades, the public has happily spent increasing amounts of money to better fund prosecutors, judges, and prisons while avoiding spending on public defenders. The system is completely designed to convict and imprison you unless you can afford to pay for proper representation. The solution should be simple. The standard for the kind of lawyer we should all have at our side should be the same quality and caliber that the rich would want by their side. Until then, the poor will fall farther and farther behind.