What to do if charged with criminal acts and can’t afford an attorney?

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What to do if charged with criminal acts and can’t afford an attorney?

My brother was arrested for aggravated assault with a deadly weapon, and 2 counts of cruelty to children. He held his girlfriend at gunpoint because he want her to leave the apartment. Her kids saw and called the police. She does not want to prosecute. What is the most likely outcome for his acts? What about a public defender vs private attorney? Any advice on how I should evaluate which way to go. He cannot afford an attorney. I might be able to. Any suggestions on how to proceed? In Fulton County, GA.

Asked on April 5, 2011 under Criminal Law, Georgia

Answers:

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

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

First of all, it's not up to your brother's girlfriend whether or not to prosecute the case; it's up to the DA.  As for obtaining legal counsel, any time criminal charges are involved it should absolutely be done.  To have a PD appointed, your brother must be certain income requirements.  If he does, then know that while PD's are overworked they are typically experienced in handling these type of cases.  However, a private criminal defense attorney will be as well but perhaps not quite so busy.  It's really a personal decision which way to go.  Just know that if these charges are serious and so are the consequences of conviction.  If the charges can be reduced or outright dismissed, having an experienced lawyer will be well worth it.


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