I am about to graduate from college and I, along with 2 others were arrested for stealing books and selling them. I was charged with 3 felonies: Stolen property: With intent to sell, and two counts of grand larceny for items over $200. This is my first time ever getting in trouble, I am highly involved at my university and I am on my way to graduate school. Overall, I am a good person. What should I do?
Do not assume you will not be well represented by a public defender. Most are dedicated and experienced, although depending on the state, they may have a large case load. On the other hand, you can pay a lot of money for a lawyer who doesn't have the time of day for you. You can pay a lot for a bad lawyer, or nothing for a good one. You can't generalize. I would suggest you ask around and try to get a recommendation of a lawyer who handles criminal cases. Look at some websites. Speak to 2-3, who will agree to consult with you for free. Find out what they would charge for your case and how they would approach it. Don't be swayed by lawyers who just tell you what you want to hear. Then decide.
This answer is provided for educational purposes only and is not intended as the practice of law in any jurisdiction in which I am not licensed. The answer does not constitute legal advice nor does it create an attorney-client relationship. The answer is based only on the information provided, and may be inaccurate in the context of additional facts that have not been provided. The questioner should be aware that I am only licensed to practice law in the state and federal courts of Minnesota. Accordingly, before taking any action or refraining from taking any action, the questioner should consult with an attorney licensed to practice in his or her jurisdiction.
The public defender is usually experienced in criminal defense and knows the Court you will appear in very well. But some are just out of school and some are jaded and some are not as good as others as in any profession. But all PDs are swamped with work and may not have the time to devote to your matter. A private attorney has the time but maybe not have the experience or familiarity with the Court. Search on AVVO. Read reviews. Go to the archives of the local paper and see who is winning cases. Go to the law department of your school and ask for a referral. Interview many attorneys. Call the State bar association and find out who is lecturing the continuing education courses on criminal law. Try to find such an attorney from the area were this took place. Good Luck.
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