Skip to main content

How do I defend myself when you have nothing?

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?

+ Read More

Attorney answers 3

Best Answer

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


Mark meant NJ Ct Rule 3:8-3. See


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 the fact that we have never met, I have not been aprised of the facts in you case nor have I reviewed any documents.


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 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 are intended as general information for the education of the public, and not for any specific individual.