Legal Question in Criminal Law in Michigan

Do I have the right to a state appointed lawyer for a misdemeaner charge

Asked on 5/28/13, 1:59 pm

1 Answer from Attorneys

Neil O'Brien Eaton County Chief Assistant Prosecuting Attorney

We cannot answer with certainty because you gave too little information. First, the crime has to be something where the judge decides that a jail sentence is a possibility (so, if the judge promises to not send you to jail, then the judge might not have to give you a court-appointed attorney). You don't tell us what you are charged with, what your prior record is, if there was an injured victim, etc. [things that weigh heavily on the possibility of you going to jail]. Second, you have to be "indigent" according to that court's standards of indigence, but you don't tell us what financial resources you have (do you have a job, do you have money in the bank or saved or invested, do you have property that can be sold to use to pay for a retained attorney, etc.). You might think that you don't have enough money to hire an attorney, but the judge has to make that decision based on truthful information you provide to the judge when asked. And even a court-appointed attorney might not be "free", because the court can order you to repay the county for the cost it 'fronts' for the public-paid lawyer (although the cost may well be a lot less than an attorney you hire privately).

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Answered on 5/28/13, 2:53 pm

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