When an individual or entity is accused of a wrongdoing or summoned to make a court appearance they may obtain legal assistance through the state government. As a result of the hefty costs associated with legal professionals, however, many individuals cannot afford to hire such professionals themselves. As a result of this situation, public defenders were instituted to offer legal aid to those who cannot afford representation.
A public defender is a licensed legal professional or attorney that is assigned to represent convicted individuals charged with a crime. Although it is not necessary to hire a lawyer (convicted individuals have the right to represent themselves) the inclusion of a legal aid in a case is beneficial; many people do not understand the full breadth of the legal system.
A public defender, therefor, is an individual who is licensed and understands the particular legal field in question. In addition, the public defender represents the accused individual at no cost, he or she is supplied by the state in which the illegal action was committed.
The public defender's office is the institution responsible for designating a public defender to a particular case. A public defender is a state employee, as a result of this title, different jurisdictions use varied approaches to providing legal representation for defendants who lack the finances to hire aid themselves.
Under the federal government and through local governments the public defender's office acts as an agency to train and fund public defenders. This system accounts for a substantial majority of indigent criminal defense representation in the country.