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Do I need to get a public defender or what do I do?

Garvin, MN |

I got arrested Saturday for stealing an item that was 19.99. I have court on 3-11-13 I need to know do I call to get a public defender or what to do. I was 3 hours away from home so I'm hoping to make this a one time visit and not have to go up there again. I have enrolled my self into consouling because of the matter and also think I suffer from depression so I made a Dr appt for that. Just don't know if I call them and get in touch with a public defender before hand or not. The day I was arrested I was just realesed no bail or anything like that. Please help me. I have a clean record. Ok I from Marshall MN but this happened in brooklyn park MN

Attorney Answers 4

  1. Thank you for the post.

    Your record is important. Even a misdemeanor theft can have a significant impact on your future including your ability to find employment. As a result, it is imperative that you aggressively defend against the charges now.

    A theft offense can be very serious. While any theft under $500 is a misdemeanor. Such an offense is still punishable by up to 90 days in jail and a $1000 fine. As I stated previously, the collateral consequences of a conviction can also be extremely significant. Employment, entry into institutions of higher learning and even rental opportunities can be impacted.

    Often, if you have no prior offenses, a conviction can be avoided with a Stay of Prosecution. A Stay of Prosecution means that the offense is never recorded on your record and stayed for a certain period of time to ensure that you do not have another offense.

    We can assist you in making sure that your record is not affected.

    For a FREE consultation call 612.240.8005.

    CALL 612-240-8005 for a Consultation. Disclaimer: Nothing in this email message creates an attorney client relationship absent a retainer agreement with this office. Any response to email inquiries should be considered general in nature and should not be relied upon as legal advice. You should always consult a lawyer in your state regarding your specific legal matter. Visit online at

  2. You would apply for a public defender at your first appearance. Eligibility is based on income and assets. If you qualify, a public defender will be appointed to represent you that day. A good goal would be to resolve this without theft going on your record as a misdemeanor or petty misdemeanor. A conviction of petty misdemeanor or misdemeanor theft can cause one employment or housing problems, among other issues.

    If you're not eligible for a public defender, you should consult with a private defense lawyer before you resolve the case.

    This answer is for informational purposes only. It does not constitute legal advice and does not create an attorney-client relationship. For legal advice specific to your circumstances, consult a licensed attorney confidentially in your state.

  3. You can try calling the public defender's office in Hennepin County. Typically, you would apply for a public defender at your first court date; however, if you call that might be able to start the process sooner. Also, you could find out if you are likely to qualify for a public defender. If you make too much money, you would have to hire a private attorney. Myself, or any of my Avvo colleagues would be happy to assist you in efforts to resolve your case most favorably for you.

    I hope you find this information helpful and feel free to contact me if you have any questions about your case. I wish you the best of luck.

  4. I left my contract at the PUblic Defender last year. Be advised, public defenders are hard working and experienced criminal defense lawyer. The drawback you will face is that their office is stressed with lack of staff and resources. You mind find that getting a returned phone call make take a little longer than with a private lawyer. The fact is if they have a calendar full of felonies, your misdemeanor case may get deprioritized.

    With 7 years of nearly all criminal defense work, I can answer your questions on the phone or in person. Perfectly willing to review paperwork and speak with you for free. Don't hesitate to call.


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