what are the odds of a felony possession of a controlled substance be plead down to a misdemeanor? Should I hire a lawyer or use a public defender?
6 Answers from Attorneys
If you are charged with a felony, you need an attorney. Don't try to even think about doing this on yournown
The odds are from 0 to 100%. The honest answer is that no attorney can predict the outcome, nor even give an intelligent opinion, without reviewing and knowing all the charges, evidence, police reports, expected testimony, priors history, defenses, sympathies, etc.
CAN the case end up being reduced or dropped? Sure. Is that likely, just because you want it? No. The police and prosecutors don't spend time and money arresting, charging and prosecuting cases only to drop them without a fight, and a reason to do so. If they arrest a person, they think they can convict them, and intend to do so.
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 don’t like dealing with ProPers, unless you are simply pleading guilty, not defending the case.
When charged with any crime, the proper questions are, can any evidence obtained in a test, search or statement be used against you, can you be convicted, and what can you do? While this isn't a 'capital case', it certainly carries potential ‘time’, so handle it right. Raise all appropriate defenses with whatever witnesses, evidence and sympathies are available. No amount of free 'tips and hints' from here or elsewhere are going to effectively help in a legal defense. 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, programs, or other decent outcome through motions, 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. I’ll be happy to help fight and get the best outcome possible, using whatever defenses and sympathies there may be.
If you can afford private counsel, you won't qualify for the public defender.
Yes, you should get a lawyer. If you can afford to hire one than that is what you should do. Public defenders are only available for those who can't afford their own lawyers.
The chances of getting a plea bargain will depend upon the facts and the prosecutor.
If you are eligible for an attorney from the public defender's office, you have the right to have one appointed. You also always have the right to hire your own attorney. No one can guarantee what the result will be. There are a lot of good public defenders and a lot of bad private attorneys. If you are eligible for the public defender the question is who you are more comfortable with. Public defender's are overworked and a private attorney may have more time to spend with you. The main issue if you have a choice is who are you most comfortable with. However if you want to spend a lot of time with your attorney, as a general rule you may want to hire an attorney.
It depends on the facts.
A public defender is a lawyer. Since you don't even know this basic fact, you need to ask the court to appoint you one.