If I was caught shoplifting for the 2nd time, should I spend almost $2000 on an attorney or will a public defender be able to do the same things for free?

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If I was caught shoplifting for the 2nd time, should I spend almost $2000 on an attorney or will a public defender be able to do the same things for free?

The first time I got caught (about a year ago) I was arrested and spent the night in jail, went to court and they gave me the DEJ class. The second time was 4 months ago. LP shoved me back inside before I made it to the parking lot. I took 1 makeup item and a dress. Luckily I wasn’t arrested this time. I set a court date for later in the month. I’m wondering what my options are and what I should do from here. Is hiring a lawyer going to be worth it? I cannot really afford one. I need as much info as possible, I do not want to do jail time.

Asked on December 8, 2014 under Criminal Law, California

Answers:

M.T.G., Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 6 years ago | Contributor

So what I am understanding is that this is not your first offense, correct?  Then the option to reduce and prosecute runs with the prosecutor and I think that you may be on your way to becoming "habitual" under the law.  Assigned counsel are attorneys and just as competent as private counsel.  You can always go with assigned counsel and later employ a private attorney.  But you need some one who knows the system well. 


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