What if I am the defendant in a criminal case in general sessions court, do I need an attorney?
The DAG is the person prosecuting you and cannot give you legal advice. As mentioned hereinabove, under both the state and federal constitutions as a defendant you are entitled to have an attorney present with you in court at every stage of the criminal justice process and if you cannot afford an attorney one will be appointed for you at state taxpayer expense, although depending on your income, you may have to pay even a minimal fee with an appointed attorney. That being said there are a number of defendants who come to court without an attorney who are charged with less serious offenses and we will talk with them about their cases in an attempt to resolve them. We talk with unrepresented defendants, their family members and their witnesses with the same respect (as long as they treat us with respect) whether or not they have an attorney. We make offers to defendants without attorneys every day, but it is always wise to consult an attorney with any legal issue be it a criminal case or civil case.