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Do I need an attorney for a misdemeanor charge?

I really don't have a ton of money and I am worried about the cost of an attorney. Obviously, it seems like it would be a good idea to get one. Are attorneys always needed for misdemeanors?

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    John J. Carney | The Law Offices of John J. Carney Esq.
    401 East 34th Street
    New York, NY 10016
    (917) 696-2363
    You should always have an attorney any time you walk into a courtroom as you do not want to get a criminal record. You want to get th best disposition possible under the facts and circumstances of your case and that is only going to happen if you have an experienced criminal lawyer. If you are indigent or qualify for an assigned lawyer the judge will appoint one. The judges in small towns might let people represent themselves but they are just trying to get the calendar cleared or do not have enough public defenders to represent defendants, especially at arraignments. They should be removed from the bench for allowing people to plead guilty without a lawyer and often even question the defendant about the crime at arraignment on the record, an absolutely inappropriate practive.
    Answer Applies to: New York - Replied: 3/10/2013
    William L. Welch, III | William L. Welch, III Attorney
    111 South Calvert Street
    Baltimore, MD 21045
    (410) 385-5630
    Whether to have an attorney represent you depends on whether you feel comfortable that you know the law, procedure, rules of evidence, the prosecutor, and the judge well enough to risk having a permanent criminal record and possibly doing time. If you cannot afford to retain an attorney, then apply to the office of the Public defender for an appointed one.
    Answer Applies to: Maryland - Replied: 1/16/2013
    Michael E. Dailey | Law Office of Michael E. Dailey
    922 Oak Street
    Kansas City, MO 64106
    (816) 221-7008
    Misdemeanors carry up to a year in jail, a$1000 fine and remain on your record as a criminal conviction. You need to at least make some inquiry as to the cost and availability of a lawyer to help you out.
    Answer Applies to: Missouri - Replied: 1/16/2013
    Thomas E. Gates | Gates' Law, PLLC
    651 Strander Blvd., Suite 209
    Tukwila, WA 98188-2953
    (253) 332-7899
    Depending of the charge against you, you may or may not need an attorney. There are two levels of misdemeanors. You could get jail time and fine under both of them, but the jail time duration and maximum fine is the most with Gross Misdemeanors.
    Answer Applies to: Washington - Replied: 1/16/2013
    Roy L. Reeves | Reeves Law Firm, P.C.
    1400 Gables Ct
    Plano, TX 75075
    (972) 596-4000
    Here is the deal. You have an absolute right to represent yourself. The question is, can you? It sounds great but keep in mind, the DA is there to prosecute you. Read that carefully, the DA is the enemy. He/she is not your friend, and even though they may look and sound friendly, they have a job and that job is to prosecute you. No matter what he or she says, they are not looking out for your best interest. Add to that, anything you say to the DA can and will be used against you in court. So, if you inadvertently say something that gives the DA the opinion that you are lucky this is the only charge you drew, guess what - this person who has the power to dismiss your charge, press your charge, or negotiate your charge will suddenly have the opinion that you need to be punished period, end of story, no going back. Bottom line, no lawyer is ever going to tell you to handle a criminal charge on your own. If the attorney does, it is because that attorney either is the prosecutor, or they do not practice criminal law.
    Answer Applies to: Texas - Replied: 1/16/2013
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