Made an incredibly stupid mistake and was stopped and given a citation for shoplifiting at Kroger in Duluth Ga. Total was under $50 and I thought the court date was for August....turns out it is for July 7th...I desperately need to know what to expect, I was caught dead to rights and dont want to shirk my responsibility, but want to know how to minimize damage, ie how to plead. I am beyond broke and found out yesterday that they will not give me a court appointed attorney. I know this is completely last minute, and I have less than 48 hours...I have done some online research on how to plead...ideally, I;d like to do a pre trial diversion program and when complete have this horrible mistake I made expunged from my record, so if anyone can help me, with any advice, would appreciate it!
Lawsuit / Dispute Attorney
Do not try to defend yourself without a lawyer. It is not a great idea to represent yourself.
You do, however, have the constitutional right to do so. I would recommend spending an entire day in the court to observe how judges handle self-represented defendants to get an idea of how irritated they get at amateur lawyering.
If you really want to represent yourself, you should purchase an hour of a criminal defense attorney's time to have her or him coach you on how to handle things.
A better choice is simply to hire an attorney.
You might find my Legal Guide helpful "How to Choose A Lawyer For You"
You might find my Legal Guide helpful " What Do I Tell My Lawyer"
Check with a lawyer in your locale to discuss more of the details.
Good luck to you.
NOTE: This observation is made available by the out-of-state lawyer for educational purposes only. This observation is not like a communication with a lawyer with whom you have an attorney-client relationship along with all the privileges that relationship provides.
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Criminal Defense Attorney
You should ask to speak with the prosecutor when you go to court. The prosecutor will tell you the recommendation. If is acceptable, then you can accept it and dispose of your case that day. If the recommendation is not acceptable, then you should see if you can re-apply for court appointed attorney. If you are truly indigent, you should qualify for an attorney. If you are denied an attorney, you should plead not guilty and retain an attorney. An attorney should be able to help you get the result you want. It is going to be very difficult in today’s job market to gain employment with this charge on your criminal record.
If you have any questions you can contact this office.
PLEASE NOTE: THESE COMMENTS ARE NOT LEGAL ADVICE. They are provided for informational purposes on a general website comment page only. Actual legal advice from this office can only be provided after consultation directly in person with an attorney from our office. Answering this question does not create an attorney-client relationship or otherwise require further consultation.
DUI / DWI Attorney
If you are indigent, the court has to appoint an attorney for you, because of potential jail consequences. If you are not indigent, there's no requirement that you hire an attorney, but you shouldn't say or sign anything that you don't completely understand. The judge cannot advise you; the prosecutor can't give you legal advice. However, an expungement isn't automatic and that may be what's most important to you, and why you should spend money on an attorney.