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I cant afford a lawyer for charges for first offense in petit larceny, what can I do?

Rochester, NY |

I was charged for first offense in petit larceny, Im going to plaid guilty and Im willing to take classes and/or community service, but I cant afford a lawyer what can I do?

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Attorney answers 4

Best Answer

Don't plead guilty. Apply for the public defender if you cannot afford an attorney. Virtually every court in Monroe County will offer you a reduction, likely to a dismissal via an ACD on a first offense Petit Larceny. If you plead guilty you will have a criminal record, you don't want to do that. On your arraignment date (your first court appearance) plead not guilty and ask for an adjournment to interview with the Public Defender and to come back on a date when the DA will be there. What town is this in, some are easier to deal with than others. You can walk away from this with little damage if you handle it the right way. You may have to do some community service, but that's about it. Best of luck.


If you plead guilty you will have a criminal record for life. If you are indigent the court will assign you a public defender.

I am a former federal and State prosecutor and have been handling criminal defense and personal injury cases for over 17 years. The above answer, and any follow up comments or emails, is for informational purposes only and not meant as legal advice.


I suggest that you plead not g guilty and apply for the services of the public defender. He or she may be able to get the case adjourned in contemplation of dismissal. If you are ordered to take an anti-shop lifting course ask your lawyer if the fee can be waived by the judge.

The information provided is not intended to be legal advice, but merely conveys general information related to legal issues commonly encountered. The information is not guaranteed to be correct, complete, or current. I make no warranty, expressed or implied, about the accuracy or reliability of the information. You should not act or rely on any information at above without seeking the advice of an attorney. The determination of whether you need legal services and your choice of a lawyer are very important matters that should not be based on websites or advertisement


Pleading guilty may sound like a good idea now; however, you will be back on this forum in a few years when you realize that a criminal conviction cannot be erased or expunged in New York, asking for advice on how to remove this conviction. If you are truly indigent, own no assets, small income, you can ask to have a public defender appointed to represent you. They will try to work out a deal that will not result in a criminal conviction. Good Luck

I am a former Brooklyn Criminal Court Deputy Bureau Chief with over 17 years experience specializing in handling criminal cases. All answers are for information purposes only. Answering this question or any future questions does not form any attorney-client relationship. Be mindful, that answers are limited by the limited facts presented by the questioner and are not meant to take the place of competent legal advice by an attorney fully informed of all the facts surrounding your case. Also, be aware that nothing posted in a public forum such as this can be deemed confidential or privileged communication.