If I was denied an attorney and can’t afford a lawyer, what do I do?

UPDATED: Sep 30, 2022

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If I was denied an attorney and can’t afford a lawyer, what do I do?

I got charged with 3 grams possesion of marijuana. It’s my first offence but I can’t afford an attorney. Is it possible to do it myself or do I need a lawyer?

Asked on July 17, 2017 under Criminal Law, Michigan


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 5 years ago | Contributor

Legally it is *possible* to do this yourself--you have the right to represent yourself pro se, or as your own attorney. Practically, doing so is a bad idea. You could potentially face up to 1 year in prison and a $2,000 fine; while you'd likely get significantly less than that, at least some jail time is not at all impossible. Clearly though, you like to avoid that. A local defense attorney will know the law, know the rules of court and evidence, and know the prosecutor and judge; he or she will have a much better change of minimizing your punishment, and possibly even getting the case dismissed, than you do. Even if you have to borrow from friends or family, you should have a lawyer for a drug charge.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although AttorneyPages.com has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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