What to do if my 17 year old son has a public intoxication charge and his court date is i 5weeks but I can’t afford an attorney?

Get Legal Help Today

 Secured with SHA-256 Encryption

What to do if my 17 year old son has a public intoxication charge and his court date is i 5weeks but I can’t afford an attorney?

My son was attending summer school and stopped off to pick up a friend who got in the car with marijuana. My son decided to also take a hit and after arriving to school was cited for public intoxication. He smelled of marijuana and admitted that he smoked it.

Asked on June 15, 2012 under Criminal Law, Texas

Answers:

B.H.F., Member, Texas State Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

Call the District Clerk or the court's secretary and inquire about your county's procedures for obtaining a court appointed attorney.  Every county in Texas has a slightly different system, even though there are general guidelines they must all adhere to.  Some use an appointment system where local attorneys perform the legal work.  Others have a public defender's office that handles all or most of the court appointments.  Once you find out the procedure, then your son will need to complete the application and see if he qualifies.  As a general caution, many judges want defendants to put out an effort to hire their own attorney first. So, you may want to visit with two or three before he actually completes the application so that if he is asked, he can honestly say-- we talked to these three attorneys and we couldn't afford any of them.  If you can't get this worked out before his court appearance, many courts will usually entertain request for court appointed attorneys at their first announcement (which is the first court setting.)  So don't stress too much if you can't get everything done in five weeks.  If the court denies his request for a court appointed attorney, your son will either have to come up with a way to pay for an attorney or represent himself.  Considering your son's age, he may qualify for a diversion program.  Many jurisdictions are now offering programs similar to probation, but instead it is just an informal agreement with the state.  At the end of the time period, the State agrees to dismiss the charges.  This means that your son won't have a final conviction on his record and he can get the arrest expunged later.  Plan B, asked for a short deferred adjudication.  He may be tempted to take a one or two day "time served" offer by the prosecutor, but just understand that once he signs the bottom line and the judge accepts the plea, he will have a misdemenaor conviction on his record which cannot be expunged.


IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although AttorneyPages.com has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

Get Legal Help Today

Find the right lawyer for your legal issue.

 Secured with SHA-256 Encryption