How do I defend myself when you have nothing?

Asked over 1 year ago - Trenton, NJ

I will clarify my situtation, I am on public assistance. I have only 46 dollars in the bank. My house is in foreclosure but the public defender at this late date is considering this as an asset. The public defender pushed the case off twice for discovey request. Now they sent a letter withdrawing representation. Can the judge make me respresent myself?

Attorney answers (4)

  1. Mark M Cheser

    Pro

    Contributor Level 20

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    Answered . Much more information is needed. Rather than provide a little more each time why not call one of us for a phone consultation. If this is in Municipal Court the precious answers apply. If it is not an offense of magnitude the PD will not be assigned and you will have to defend yourself, if you do not retain an attorney. If it is in Superior Court and you to do qualify based on your 5A there is a real problem. You need an attorney until you refuse to retain one and wish to represent yourself. You can file a motion to establish indigence or contest the PD application under NJ Coutts Rule 3-8-3 and NJS 2A:158A-15.1 But if the Court finds you have the assets but do not wish to spend them you are in effect asking to defend yourself. No one can make you spend your money. This is quite unusual in my experience since the Court and PD are very lax in their assets determinations.

    Dean P Murray
    Dean P Murray, DUI / DWI Attorney - Hoboken, NJ
    Posted over 1 year ago.

    Mark meant NJ Ct Rule 3:8-3. See http://www.judiciary.state.nj.us/rules/r3-8.htm.

  2. Yolanda Navarrete

    Contributor Level 20

    5

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    Answered . If your financial situation is as you describe, and you are facing serious charges, you will be assigned a public defender. If the PD postponed twice because the state had not provided discovery, he acted correctly. If he withdrew representation, you will be assigned a new PD.

    Please be advised my answers to questions does not constitute legal advise and you should not rely on it, due to... more
  3. Dean P Murray

    Contributor Level 18

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    Answered . I agree with my colleagues. If you have additional questions, you can always contact a lawyer directly, whether myself or one of my colleagues. If you appreciate the time spent preparing this answer, kindly consider marking it HELPFUL. Good luck to you.
    ---------------------------
    Dean P. Murray
    The Murray Law Firm
    560 Sylvan Avenue
    Englewood Cliffs, NJ 07632
    T: (201)875-2600
    F: (201)549-8700

    Mr. Murray's response is NOT legal advice and does NOT create an attorney-client relationship. You should NOT rely... more
  4. Jose Wilfrido Hernandez

    Contributor Level 7

    3

    Lawyers agree

    Answered . I agree with the other fine lawyers who responded to you. It is hard to believe that your house, which most likely has no equity is considered an asset. I was a former municipal public defender and represented many people that owned their homes but due to their income and financial obligations could not afford a lawyer. Call the court clerk to find out why the PD withdrew from the case. Good luck.

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