Should I go to my first court appearance without a lawyer to see what the DA has in mind?

UPDATED: Nov 27, 2011

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Should I go to my first court appearance without a lawyer to see what the DA has in mind?

I was cited for trespassing II and private indecency. Should I go to my first day in court to see what the DA will offer, then plea not guilt and hire a lawyer in case he does not drop the charges?

Asked on November 27, 2011 under Criminal Law, Oregon


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

NEVER go to court without a lawyer in a criminal case. An attorney will be much better able to negotiate with the prosecutor; will know what is--and is not--a  good plea or deal; and may spot some weakness in the other side's case (e.g. if the police violated your rights) which would let the charges be defeated entirely. It's well worth the few hundred dollars the typical attorney will charge fo a case like this.

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 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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