My 18 year old was charged with H&S 11364.1(a). Does he need a lawyer for his court date?
3 Answers from Attorneys
You are always entitled to represent yourself in court. Whether you should is a different issue. The conventional wisdom is that an attorney will be able to do a better job and get a better outcome. Prosecutors and judges donít like dealing with ProPers, unless you are simply pleading guilty, not defending the case.
If you don't know how to represent yourself effectively against an experienced prosecutor intending to convict, then hire an attorney who does, who will try to get a dismissal, charge reduction, diversion, program, or other decent outcome through plea bargain, or take it to trial if appropriate. If serious about hiring counsel to help in this, and if this is in SoCal courts, feel free to contact me. Iíll be happy to help fight the criminal charges and get the best outcome possible, using whatever defenses there may be.
Yes, he should have a lawyer. He is facing up to six months in jail.
Without an attorney, he won't be able to analyze whether or not they have a good case against him or not. He won't know if there is an ability to suppress the evidence against him, any statements me made or if the prosecutor's office can legally introduce the evidence against him. Yes, he needs a lawyer.
He's facing a misdemeanor that does carry potential jail time. That's not to suggest that he will get jail time (in fact, as a first time offender, he may well be able to work out something), but because of the potential, he absolutely needs an attorney. He can arrange for an attorney to appear on his behalf by retaining private counsel of his choosing or he will have to show up in court and request the services of the public defender if he financially qualifies.
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