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

Asked over 1 year ago - Trenton, NJ

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

Attorney answers (5)

  1. Jeffrey Anthony Skiendziul

    Contributor Level 16


    Lawyers agree

    Answered . 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... more
  2. Dean P Murray

    Contributor Level 18


    Lawyers agree

    Answered . 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... more
  3. Frank Mascagni III

    Contributor Level 20


    Lawyers agree

    Answered . 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... more
  4. Mark M Cheser

    Contributor Level 20


    Lawyers agree

    Answered . 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.

  5. Adam Lefkowitz

    Contributor Level 14


    Lawyers agree

    Answered . 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... more

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