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LawTalk, Lawyer
Category: Criminal Law
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Experience:  30 years legal experience
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I am helping a young adult male with some problems he got into

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I am helping a young adult male with some problems he got into while in the military. He currently lives in San Jose, ca. A few years ago, he had just gotten out of the Army (stationed at Fort Brag, cumberland county, North Carolina). While staying in someone's room on the base he was arrested for larceny (he claims the guy had a stolen TV but since he was in the room he also got busted) and also trespassing on Federal property. He thinks it is a federal verses state offense. He doesn't have a license and he thinks there is a warrant out for him in North carolina. He wants to go back and "clean up" his issues and move on with his life (he is now 25 and did go to Iraq for a few years), The big question: He was told by a lawyer in North carolina that he would have to spend a good $30,000 to get the help he needs. What are the SPECIFIC requirements for him to qualify for a public defender? He does work and gets a pay check in California. As it is true, the paychecks are higher as well as the cost of living in California. SHould he quit his job no that he has no money coming in?
He lives with his DAd and doesn't own a home or car. Any help would be greatly appreciated. Thank you!!!!!
Good morning,

I'm Doug, and I'm very sorry to hear of your acquaintance's situation. My goal is to provide you with excellent service today. In order to give you a clear and concise answer, I will need some additional information about the circumstances, please.

1. The warrant is out of NC, but he is living in CA now. After he was charged with larceny, did he simply leave the state and not return to court for the trial or the criminal proceedings?

2. Is he prepared---emotionally and financially--- to sit in jail in NC until bail can be posted, and then reside there in NC until a trial can be had---which could be many months down the road?

Customer: replied 4 years ago.

Thanks Doug for responding. Not sure of exact details. He knows he may have to sit in jail for awhile until the case is heard from a judge. He is not financially sound to pay for a expensive lawyer. He may qualify for a public defender. What are the SPECIFICS around that--fincancial, etc..


I think he originally went to court, maybe for initial proceeding when charged, then he got an adjournment...they spelled his name incorrectly and I believe hi case "fell into the cracks". If he is available to receive a public defender, when he gets off the plane in NC, he wants to go straight there. If he is not able to get a pd, what is your suggestion? Thanks PS. I wish he was here right now to give you more information.

Hi Heidi,

I'm wondering whether he has the financial ability to live in NC for 6 months to a year while he waits for a trial. If he goes back, he will no doubt not be allowed to leave the area until trial, and if that is not feasible, he needs to consider alternatives.

Is there family there or can he get a job immediately on his initial release? How will he survive? If he leaves he would be in a lot more trouble.

Customer: replied 4 years ago.

What are the requirements for him to get a public defender in the state of North Carolina? No, he has no family. What do you mean by alternatives?What do you mean by "leaves". Do you mean leaves the state before the trial comes up? He needs legal counsel. How can (or can he get) legal counsel through the PD's office?

Good morning Heidi,

Thanks for the clarification. I apologize for the delay in getting back to you. I was called out to a meeting. I am back now and can finish answering any questions you might have.

I was postponing the discussion of "how to qualify" for a PD because I don't want to see him sit in jail for 6 to 12 months waiting for a trial.

However, in order to qualify for a public defender he will have to show that he has little in the way of assets/cash reserves, and that his income is at roughly poverty level. Which if he goes back to NC, it most likely will be.

If her arrives there with no place to live, and no significant cash---such that he will qualify for a PD, then how will he live starting day one he is able to post bail? That is my initial concern.

Because he left the state after the adjournment and did not return for trial or keep the prosecutor or court notified of his whereabouts, he is considered to have skipped out.. There is almost certainly a warrant for his arrest.

Hiring a private attorney to deal with the issue of leaving the state and then dealing with the theft charges could become very expensive. He will need a PD, and so long as he has no cash in the bank, does not own real property and has few assets and minimal wages from employment locally there---he will qualify for a PD.

The court will not appoint the PD to represent him until after he turns himself in and has had the initial court hearing on the issue of his leaving the state and not appearing for trial. The the PD can defend him on that crime, as well as the underlying charges.

While he is employed in CA, he obviously will not be allowed to come back to CA to work, and so his income will be zero---and that is my concern. If he can not get a place to live and feed himself in NC while waiting for trial---he may be tempted to leave the state in order to survive---and that would severely compound his problems. He also will not find out what the court will set as bail until he goes to the first hearing. If he cannot afford the bail, then they will hold him in jail until the trial.

You may reply back to me again, using the Reply to Expert link, if you have additional questions.

I wish you the best in your future,


LawTalk and 2 other Criminal Law Specialists are ready to help you
Thank you for your positive rating of my service, Heidi. It has been my pleasure to assist you and I hope than you will ask for me on JustAnswer should a future need ever arise.

Please feel free to bookmark the following link so you can request me to answer any future legal questions you may have:

Thanks again.


When you receive your Customer Satisfaction Survey from JustAnswer, please do rate me highly (9-10) there as well. It benefits my ability to assist you and other customers, and would be tremendously appreciated.
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

Thank you Doug!! You were great and I will certainly "praise" you highly.