My grandson got a dwi in NJ while on probation for a distribution charge. He’s is collecting unemployment. Would he qualify for a public defender?

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My grandson got a dwi in NJ while on probation for a distribution charge. He’s is collecting unemployment. Would he qualify for a public defender?

Asked on May 10, 2009 under Criminal Law, New Jersey

Answers:

B. B., Member, New Jersey Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

On the DWI itself, when your grandson goes to court for the first appearance, he should ask for an attorney, and tell the judge he cannot afford one.  The municipal court may have a public defender who can represent him;  the other possibility is that he will get "assigned counsel," a lawyer who is basically drafted by the court.  Either way, he will have to complete an application, to show what his income and assets are, to prove that he cannot afford to pay a lawyer himself.

There is a possibility that he will be brought up on a probation violation as well.  He should also try to get representation for that hearing, and the process will basically be the same, but it will probably not be the same lawyer.

M.D., Member, California and New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

Assuming he has no other income, yes most probably would.


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