Should I go to my first court appearance without a lawyer to see what the DA has in mind?

I was cited for trespassing II and private indecency. Should I go to my first day in court to see what the DA will offer, then plea not guilt and hire a lawyer in case he does not drop the charges?

Asked on November 27, 2011 under Criminal Law, Oregon

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

NEVER go to court without a lawyer in a criminal case. An attorney will be much better able to negotiate with the prosecutor; will know what is--and is not--a  good plea or deal; and may spot some weakness in the other side's case (e.g. if the police violated your rights) which would let the charges be defeated entirely. It's well worth the few hundred dollars the typical attorney will charge fo a case like this.


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