How can I ask for a postponement in a criminal proceeding so that I can obtain legal counsel?

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How can I ask for a postponement in a criminal proceeding so that I can obtain legal counsel?

I have a criminal case that is 5 years old. I didn’t know I had a warrant until I tried for a position at my job and they did a background check. I went to Safe Surrender on 06/25, and they arranged for me to have a new court date, which is today. I went to apply for a Public Defender but I was told after the fact that they only give you 10 (business days) to apply. That was impossible due to the recent holiday. And the website that I was given hasn’t been updated supplying this vital information. I would like representation.

Asked on July 13, 2010 under Criminal Law, Maryland

Answers:

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

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

Generally, defendants are given the most leeway by the court when it comes to adjourning a case.  The Prosecutors of a crime are the ones that are generally "under the gun" if you will excuse the pun, with complying with statutory requirementss as to prosecuting the matter and providing discovery, etc., so that the case is not dismissed.  And generally states have a state funded program for providing court appointed attorneys (in New York they are called 18B attorneys).  When you get before the Judge he or she should ask you all the relevant questions about having an attorney or having the court appoint one.  If you do not want a court appointed attorney (I should state if you qualify for a court appointed attorney) then ask the court for an adjournment to retain one.  But my concern is if they ask for bail.  Ask to be released on your own recognizance, especially since you turned yourself in.  Good luck.


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