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Q) She needs a lawyer but can't afford it and neither can I. Please advise
Fraud or forgery is a felony in most states, including Michigan. A felony is a crime that carries a maximum potential punishment of more than one year in jail. Whenever a person is charged with a crime that involves possible jail time and cannot afford an attorney of her own, the court
is required to appoint a qualified attorney to represent her.
If your daughter is formally charged, she will eventually be taken before a magistrate or judge who will arraign her, i.e. inform her of the charge or charges against her. That person will also inquire about an attorney. Your daughter needs to tell the magistrate or judge that she wants the court to consider appointing an attorney.
Second, tell your daughter to SAY NOTHING TO ANYONE, ESPECIALLY TO THE POLICE OR ANY LAW ENFORCEMENT PERSON, ABOUT THIS CHARGE
. No matter what the police say, i.e., "We already know everything, you might as well confess and it'll be easier on you down the road
..." or "If you just tell us the truth we can probably get this whole mess straightened out
...", tell your daughter to keep her mouth shut and demand an attorney.
If she has already spoken to the police, tell her to stop talking and say no more until she has consulted an attorney. Obviously, we cannot back in time and change what's already been said, but in my many years of criminal
practice, I can't think of a single time when I had a client who talked to the police and it helped them. Silence is golden, in this situation.
Good luck to you and your daughter!