He's 21, it is him, not you, who should be doing something. If he has appointed counsel, he knows who that person is and should call that person direct. If he doesn't have appointed counsel, then he needs to contact the public defender's office in that county. If he is in jail and qualified for a public defender, he should already be in touch with that attorney. If he is out of jail, HE needs to contact the public defender to find out what he needs to do to apply for counsel. Under no circumstances should anyone but his lawyer be contacting the DA.
If your son has an appointed attorney, have your son call them!
Neither he nor you should EVER contact the prosecutor. This should be done by the attorney ONLY!
Also, you say that you could not afford an attorney. How many did you speak with? Many, like me, offer payment plans for those who need them. As he is facing a felony charge, it is critical that he get the best help possible, for his future.
M. Jason Rhoades
Mr. Rhoades raises a good question: How many attorneys did you speak with before deciding you couldn't afford one? You obviously care about your son and are not at all happy with the lack of attention he seems to be getting. he's facing at least one one felony charge that could potentially land him in custody for years.
It is ALWAYS better to have an attorney of your choosing, paid by you, than to take whatever attorney the government assigns your son. You don't want him to be just another charity case clogging up a public defender's desk.
People try to squeak through the system as cheaply as possible, but if a private attorney is able to resolve a criminal case just one year shorter than a public defender, what is that worth? Even at a minimum wage job, his freedom is worth at least $15,000 per year saved, and that's not including the benefit of sleeping in his own bed alone instead of a jail cell every night with a stranger.
Once you decide to hire a private attorney, you have to decide to hire the best one you can find or try to find a discount lawyer. I would suggest avoiding discount lawyers.
Would you shop for a discount plastic surgeon? A discount doctor for your child? A discount cardiologist? When you loved one's freedom is on the line, a private attorney is the LAST thing you should be cheap about.
If you were going to jump out of an airplane, would you want an expensive, brand-name parachute or a discount parachute? Both may work. You may float down slowly and regret having spent the extra money for the expensive parachute. Or you may get to the ground quickly, wishing you had bought a better parachute. I would rather get to the end of a case and realize that I paid for a better lawyer than I needed than to get there and realize that I needed a better lawyer than I paid for. Choose wisely.
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If this is Barrow County, and he applied and was accepted as an indigent case already, he should call the public defender's office to set up a time to meet with them prior to the arraignment. Barrow only appoints attorneys if the public defender has a conflict. If they did, and he knows who was appointed, he needs to call their office. If he has not yet applied, he needs to go to the arraignment, get their early, and ask for an application. He will have to pay an application fee, which I believe is around $50. If he qualifies, the public defender can talk to him there and may go ahead and enter a not-guilty plea until they have more time to talk. If he does not qualify, he should ask the judge for a continuance to have time to seek a hired attorney. Either way, he should not just sit back and wait to see what will happen. You and he must be proactive, and things tend to speed up after arraignment, and getting run over is a very real possibility if you do nothing.
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