How can I get a public defender for a shoplifting charge if I have no money to hire one?

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How can I get a public defender for a shoplifting charge if I have no money to hire one?

I have a good job coming up and cant have a theft charge on my background and I’m raising my kids by myself.

Asked on February 18, 2014 under Criminal Law, South Carolina

Answers:

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

Answered 7 years ago | Contributor

The public defender does not charge a fee.  It would be advisable to contact the public defender's office in your area and inquire what the procedures are for having a public defender appointed and whether the public defender will handle a misdemeanor case.  The rules vary from state to state but the public defender may need to be appointed by a judge and might not be an option for misdemeanor cases.

Again, since these rules vary from state to state, it would be advisable to contact the public defender's office and inquire about these procedures and whether they will represent you in this matter.

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 7 years ago | Contributor

Ask for one: contact your local court and/or the public defender's office and see how you apply and what the eligibility criteria are. Be aware that if you do not meet the criteria, you will not be given one; given what you write, it would seem to be worth it to hire an attorney if necessary, to maximize the chance of having charges dropped or at least minimized, even if you have to borrow from family or friends to afford the attorney.


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