Should I get a private attorney or public defender appointed by the court?

I was arrested for shoplifting 2 items that totaled to $86; it was a misunderstanding. I honestly didn’t mean to. I’m on ADHD medication for focus and paying attention to the things I do, when I don’t take it I’m all over the place. Also, I have a letter from my doctor stating why I take it and what happens if I

don’t. I went to jail and got fingerprinted and my picture taken and the paid my bail of $100 then went home. I have a court date in a month. I have never been arrested or have priors or a record, I’m clean. I’m a military spouse and a mother of 2. What should I do?

Asked on April 19, 2017 under Criminal Law, Hawaii


S.L,. Member, California Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 3 years ago | Contributor

If you can afford an attorney, then you should retain an attorney.
If you cannot afford an attorney, then a court appointed attorney such as the public defender would be the route to pursue.  Some public defenders are so overworked with their heavy caseloads that they might not have adequate time to prepare for your case.

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