1) I am offended by your use of the derogatory term “public offender”. So, in order to answer your question I will have to convince myself that this was a typo and not intentional. I am adamant in my belief that the main difference between PD’s and private defense counsel is not intelligence, skill or experience; rather it is the fact that PD’s tend to be overworked (and underpaid) and carry such large caseloads that they are oftentimes not able to provide the time and attention that a given client needs or wants. Private lawyers, on the other hand, tend to charge enough to be able to make themselves more accessible to a smaller client base. That said, and although they generally cannot afford to offer up the time and personalized attention that a private lawyer brings to the table (albeit at a price), PD’s are almost all excellent attorneys, generally being extremely well-versed in both the law and their courtrooms.
Contrary to popular belief, it is not easy to either get hired as, or to remain employed as, a PD. It takes brains, ethics, effort and commitment. It is an often times thankless job and attorney’s who are not committed to it simply do not last. For those who do, however, their client’s benefit not only from the day-to-day knowledge of their individual courtrooms (including but not limited to knowing the tendencies of their Judge, their prosecutors and the other instrumental court personnel) but also from the vast resources that the PD brings to the table (investigators, experts, etcetera) without further expense to the client.
2) Lawyers should not (this is not to say that there are not unethical lawyers out there who could care less about what they “should do”) quote fees based on limited and untested proffers on the internet. Personally, I do not quote fees based upon charges, rather I base my fees on the amount of time that I expect to invest in a given case. That calculus requires a thorough examination of the State’s evidence and a comprehensive discussion with you, and your potential witnesses, as to the facts and circumstances surrounding both the arrest and you, the Defendant. On the low end (where there is little work for me to do) I could charge as little as $2,500 or, if your case is complicated the sky is the limit. (I don’t expect that every attorney does things exactly as I do, but if a lawyer quotes fees without first knowing something about the case, then you should probably run, not walk, for the door.)
It is critical to bear in mind that each case, and each Defendant, is /are different, and as every case is also a fluid experience, there is only so much that any lawyer can tell you about your case on-line. In addition, every jurisdiction, every Judge and every assistant state attorney are unique, so the only way that you are going to get competent and sage advise is to sit down with a criminal defense attorney in your jurisdiction, who can couple his/her knowledge and experience of the players with a discussion of the unique facts and circumstances to both your brother’s case and your brother himself.
3) You are free to call every criminal defense lawyer in the WPB area, There are certainly plenty to choose form. If you do not know any, and if you do not have any personal referrals then you can search by locality on either Avvo or the Florida Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers website: http://www.facdl.org/– and click on the “Find A Lawyer” tab.
4) I hope that I have been helpful in answering your question.