Do I need a lawyer for a misdemeanor citation?

My friend (over 21) was issued a misdemeanor citation for keying a car in santa clara county, CA. Should he hire a lawyer, and if so, how much would they usually charge for this?, would it be most likely to be a-one-time court appearance? Please advise, no previous criminal record. thanks!

Asked on June 16, 2009 under Criminal Law, California


J.V., Member, New Jersey Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

I would always suggest having a lawyer represent you. Although your friend can appear pro se without an attorney they are unaware of the system and the options available and may end up with a result less appealing than the attorney could have gotten.

If money is an issue an attorney can be provided by the state to represent your friend as its required such representation is offered. If your looking to hire an attorney cost differs based on experience, office policy etc. It is difficult to give you a number being that certain attorneys can charge a flat fee others charge hourly and the rates can range from 100-400 per hour and flat fees differ as well. What i suggest is call around ask for rates than decide how to proceed. good luck

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