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What happens when you can not afford the attorney? public defender turns you down. Will the judge make you defend yourself?

Trenton, NJ |

I have a house that is in foreclosure and have no cash.

Attorney Answers 5

Posted

Did you apply for the public defender and not qualify? Or are you unable to pay the application fee which is up to $200? If it is the latter, ask the judge to waive the application fee. Otherwise, if you don't qualify for a public defender, you need to get the money together to pay a lawyer to represent you or represent yourself pro se.

Also, public defenders are only available in certain situations, such as where you risk loss of driving privileges, prison time or a fine in excess of 750 dollars (consequences of magnitude). Otherwise, you wouldn't even be able to apply for a public defender.

In the meantime, try to schedule a free consultation to discuss further why you need a lawyer in the first place. Good luck with your situation.

DISCLAIMER This answer is provided for educational purposes only. By using or participating in this site you agree and understand that there is no attorney client privilege between you and the attorney responding. This site cannot be used as a substitute for competent legal advice from a licensed attorney that practices law in the State where this offense is charged; and, who has experience in the area of law you are asking questions about and with whom you would have an attorney client relationship. The law changes frequently and varies from jurisdiction to jurisdiction. The information and materials provided are general in nature, and may not apply to a specific factual or legal circumstance described in the question, or in the State where this charge is filed. I am an attorney licensed to practice in the State of New Jersey. Consult a local attorney if your case arises outside the State of New Jersey. If you found this answer to be HELPFUL then you can vote that this answer was helpful. If you found this answer to be the BEST ANSWER of all those presented, then you can vote that this answer was the best answer presented. Also, please be advised that any response to any comments made by the asker do not create an attonrey client relationship.

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Asker

Posted

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?

Posted

Many criminally charged defendants cannot afford private counsel. Most criminal cases in this country are handled by the office of the Public Defender/Public Advocate. You have the constitutional right to counsel for most criminal cases, and upon application to the court, you will be appointed a public defender IF you qualify as indigent. Some charges that are minor, will not require the judge to appoint you a public defender.

I don't know what you're charged with, but I'd recommend you hire an attorney.

I'm confused by your statement that "the public defender turned you down", that simply cannot be so. It is up to the court alone to make that decision, not the appointed lawyer.

Some foolish individuals (in my experience) do represent themselves in cases where their freedom is at risk. I strongly advise against that. We older lawyers have a saying "He who represents himself, has a fool for a client".

I am trying to give you a general answer to your question. We do not have an attorney-client relationship by this response on the avvo website. I have not been retained to represent you. I am licensed to practice law in Kentucky and in federal court in this state and the Southern District of Indiana. You need to seek legal advice from an attorney licensed to practice in your area..

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2 comments

Asker

Posted

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?

Frank Mascagni III

Frank Mascagni III

Posted

What exactly are you charged with? What is the penalty range? Is is a felony or misdemeanor? Only the judge can grant the motion, if filed, to allow the PD to withdraw. Be at that hearing to object to their motion and advise the court that you do not want to represent yourself without counsel.

Posted

The Judge will not "make you defend yourself". The Court will give you an opportunity to retain counsel, whether the public defender or a private practitioner. If you do neither, you will be representing yourself, which is referred to as proceeding "Pro Se".

If you appreciate the time spent preparing this answer, kindly consider marking it BEST ANSWER or 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 on this response. Mr. Murray's response was generated without conducting a full inquiry as would occur during a face to face attorney-client consultation. It is likely that the response above may be made less accurate, or become entirely inaccurate, as you, i.e. the questioner, disclose additional facts that should only be discussed during a private consultation with an attorney. I strongly recommend that you consult an attorney who is licensed to practice law in your state (or, in the case of immigration law, and attorney in ANY state), whereupon all relevant facts will be discussed. All responses posted by Mr. Murray on Avvo.com are intended as general information for the education of the public, and not for any specific individual.

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Posted

The PD does not turn you down the Court does not assign the PD either because you make too much money or the offense is not one of "magnitude". That is an offense where you could lose your freedom or your license but not just your money. You will be given an opportunity to hire an attorney if you wish but if the situation is as describe the Court may make you defend yourself.

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Posted

Contact your county bar association. It might have a reduced fee program in which you might be eligible to participate.

Disclaimer: For a free consultation contact me directly at 973-519-0196 or adam.lefkowitz.esq@gmail.com. If this answer was helpful, please mark it as helpful or as a best answer. Answering questions on avvo.com does not create an attorney-client relationship. You are strongly encouraged to seek and retain your own counsel. Information and answers posted to this website are for general informational purposes only.

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