If I don't have a lawyer will I be able to negotiate with the prosecutor? 4 Answers as of May 25, 2011

I am charged with theft 3 and have no criminal record. I don't qualify for a public defender, but am not sure I can afford to hire an attorney. Will I be able to meet with the prosecutor to get some sort of deal?

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Andersen Law PLLC
Andersen Law PLLC | Craig Andersen
Theft Three is a misdemeanor. You don't even need an attorney necessarily. There is a procedure called "Compromise of a Misdemeanor." As long as this is a first offense and you can pay for your theft and get the alleged victim to sign a statement saying he or she is satisfied and has no objection to the dismissal of charges, the court will dismiss the case. Since this is your first offence, you may be eligible for diversion. If your county has a diversion program, you could enter diversion and the case would be dismissed after a year as long as you complete the requirements of diversion and have no further offenses. Generally, diversion includes a waiver of speedy trial, a waiver of one's right to an attorney, waiver of a jury trial and a stipulation or agreement that the police report can be admitted into evidence as a basis of establishing your guilt if you fail to complete the diversion program. Lastly, you would have to sign a confession to enroll in diversion. Finally, if you are unable to accomplish either of these, you may still be able to get the prosecutor to agree to a deferred sentence. That would include a guilty plea but ultimately the case would be dismissed after a probationary period. If you are unable to obtain any of these three outcomes, don't settle for a straight guilty plea; especially if it includes an agreement to jail time. While you can eventually withdraw your plea and get the case dismissed, it would require probation and jumping through many hoops. If I were representing you in Clark, Skamania or Cowlitz Counties, I would consider a plea to be a failure unless the prosecutor is a hard-core law-and-order type.
Answer Applies to: Washington
Replied: 5/25/2011
Law Office of Andrew Subin
Law Office of Andrew Subin | Andrew Subin
You have a right to represent yourself (without a lawyer) but you will need to explain to a judge that you really want do this. The prosecutor probably wont want to speak with you directly until after the judge has ruled that you can represent yourself.
Answer Applies to: Washington
Replied: 5/25/2011
Eric J Schurman, Attorney at Law
Eric J Schurman, Attorney at Law | Eric James Schurman
You can, but it's very unwise to do so.
Answer Applies to: Washington
Replied: 5/24/2011
Law Office of Michael Morgan, l.L.C.
Law Office of Michael Morgan, l.L.C. | Michael Morgan
You are allowed and in most cases expected to negotiate with the prosecutor but a lawyer will generally have more experience in negotiations and may find a defense to the charge or help explore whether you are eligible for a compromise of misdemeanor which would result in the case being dismissed.
Answer Applies to: Washington
Replied: 5/24/2011
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