Can they force me to plea without representation?

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Can they force me to plea without representation?

I got caught with weed but I didn’t say it was mine and the car was not mine. I went to the courthouse and ask them what was going to happen and they told me that had to plead and the only way I could get representation is if I plea not guilty and go to trail. The 6th Amendment say they can’t do that right? I’m supposed to have someone represent me from start to finish and they should have time to review the case right?

Asked on January 30, 2019 under Criminal Law, Florida

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 2 years ago | Contributor

It is likely you did not quite understand. To get a lawyer, you must initially plead not guilty, since if you choose to plead guitly immediately, there is no need or opportunity for representation. You plead not guilty; another appearance date is set for the future; you retain a lawyer (or if you can't afford an attorney, get a court-appointed one); then the lawyer can certainly try to negotiate a plea. A plea may be agreed to and accepted at any time they want to offer you one and you want to accept it prior to a verdict being rendered, so an initial not guilty plea does not bar you from accepting a plea bargan later.


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