If I am being charged with business burglary and do not have a lawyer to represent me in court due to finances tomorrow, what do I do?

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If I am being charged with business burglary and do not have a lawyer to represent me in court due to finances tomorrow, what do I do?

I am going to be arraigned for business burglary tomorrow and I have no found a lawyer than I can afford to hire. We’ve dealt with a court- appointed lawyer when I went to jail the first time and he didn’t help me at all. Tomorrow when I go, how should I plead, and where should I go from there.

Asked on June 21, 2012 under Criminal Law, Mississippi

Answers:

B.H.F., Member, Texas State Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

Many times the judges will enter a plea of non-guilty on your behalf and give you a least one or two resets to hire an attorney.  It's never good to pled guilty without a lawyer to help you review any possible defenses.  With regard to representation, you really only have three options.  The first is to hire your own attorney-- and ask the court for time to do so.  While you there tomorrow, watch some of the attorneys present and see if one seems to be looking our for their client and see how much they will charge you to work out a deal.  Many will charge one rate for trial and another for a plea.  You may also just have to shop around to find an attorney that you like and can afford.  More attorneys are accepting credit cards, but it's better to try to find one that accepts a flexible payment schedule.  Your second option is to request a court-appointed attorney.  Even though you've had a bad experience, some representation if often better than none, and the next one may actually work out better.  Because of a few Supreme Court rulings, many attorneys are stepping up their communications with clients in order to avoid an ineffective assistance of counsel claim.  Your third option is to represent yourself.  Even though many defendants can and do represent themselves, it is not always the case. 


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