Class B misdemeanor theft charge, first offense. Plead guilty and represent myself or hire a lawyer?

Asked over 2 years ago - Conroe, TX

I was charged with a class B misdemeanor theft charge. I realistically do not have over $1000 to spend on a lawyer, but I am terrified that this one time lapse of integrity will follow me around for the rest of my life. I have a good job and just want to make the right decision. I don't know if I will qualify for a lawyer appointed by the state or not.... do I take my chances and plead guilty to the district attorney? Do lawyers typically get paid in full or are payment plans available? Will they give consultations free of charge?

Attorney answers (5)

  1. Mitchell Scott Sexner

    Pro

    Contributor Level 17

    3

    Lawyers agree

    Answered . Most criminal attorneys offer free consultations and payment plans. Anytime the State has a lawyer prosecuting you, you need a lawyer defending you.

    Answers presented on this website are intended only for informational purposes and any use of the contained... more
  2. Matthew Ryan Montes

    Contributor Level 12

    1

    Lawyer agrees

    Answered . Let me put it this way: If I were charged with a crime, I wouldn't represent myself, and I do this for a living. You need to do whatever you have to to secure counsel, or get a court appointed attorney from the county.
    While theft is only a class B, it is considered a crime of moral turpitude which carries a much larger stigma than many other crimes. Do whatever you can to secure counsel AND avoid conviction.
    If you would like to discuss your case in more detail, please feel free to contact me through my profile.

    No attorney-client relationship is established by this posting. The information provided by the this attorney on... more
  3. Scott Douglas Marquardt

    Contributor Level 14

    1

    Lawyer agrees

    Answered . Listen to Mr. Montes (you should call him too). Hire an attorney because the the lapse of integrity will follow you arround for the rest of your life. Good Luck.

  4. Tracy Mcneill Pullan

    Contributor Level 11

    1

    Lawyer agrees

    Answered . If you are charged in Montgomery County, be particularly careful about representing yourself. When you have your first arraingment you will be in a sea of people, the assistant district attorney will be more than happy to plea your case on the first setting, without even reading the facts of your case; thus, leaving you with a crime of moral turpitude on your record for the rest of your life. You need to have someone looking out for your rights. Free consultations and payment plans are available with most attorneys in the area.

    If you cannot afford to hire, the court appointed system here works on a wheel. You have no control over who will be representing you. The bottom line is it's a gamble, you could end up with a good attorney, or a fair attorney. There is no harm in talking to several attorneys and finding the best fit for you. Best of luck!

    My comments are not intended to establish an attorney-client relationship, are not confidential, and are not... more
  5. Seth A. Blum

    Contributor Level 15

    2

    Lawyers agree

    Answered . Get a lawyer! Why would you put yourself, with your complete lack of experience at the mercy of a prosecutor who may or may not have your best interests at heart?

    Most lawyers will speak to you for free. You do not have to hire your own lawyer if you cannot afford it (though from you description is sounds like you can). You may apply for a court appointed lawyer. If the court finds that you are indigent, you will be given a lawyer.

    Under any circumstances, I urge you to get help. Do not try to resolve this on your own. There are lasting consequences to pleading guilty. It's not just a matter of paying a fine and leaving. A conviction, even a misdemeanor, can follow you for the rest of your life. A savvy advocate in your corner can make a huge difference, not only with this case, but for the rest of your life.

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