What is a Public Defender?

A public defender is an attorney that has decided to represent those that cannot afford to hire an attorney. They chose to serve the most vulnerable in our community and work to ensure the best possible outcome for each client.

Because public defenders are appointed by the state to represent those who cannot afford an attorney, and the media often portrays them as being less capable and effective than a private attorney the general public is led to believe that public defenders do not have the time, resources, or skills that a private attorney does. However, this is far from the truth. In fact,

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Furthermore, Oregon public defenders are held to even higher standards requiring that a new public defender must practice for several years and meet a series of benchmarks before they are allowed to represent someone on a serious felony charge. A private attorney, on the other hand, can represent someone on the same serious felony charge the day they are admitted to the bar.

Additionally, public defenders are paid by the state and do not receive extra compensation based on the severity of the case or the length of time they represent a client. You should never be asked to pay a public defender directly, if you do have to contribute to your defense that is handled through Oregon Public defender service OPDS. (This is the organization that you fill out the paperwork for an submit to) Public defenders handle more than criminal cases, they get appointed on juvenile, contempt, civil commitments, and dependency as well.

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