How to Get a Lawyer If You Can’t Afford One

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As a defendant charged with a crime, you may be stressed trying to figure out how to handle the situation on your own. Luckily, there are criminal justice lawyers dedicated to defendants just like you. With their experience and their education, you can often fight a good fight when faced with a criminal charge. What if you can’t afford a lawyer? Is there any way to get representation free of charge?

Obtaining a Court-Appointed Lawyer

For most defendants facing a possible jail sentence, the court can appoint a lawyer to represent them. The government pays these lawyers, so if the judge determines you have enough money to pay for representation, he or she may not appoint you a free lawyer. You’ll typically need to provide financial information for the court to assess your situation. Sometimes a lawyer is appointed on the spot at arraignment. Other times, the court will delay the case so your circumstances can be reviewed and a lawyer can be appointed.

Changing Lawyers During the Process

If you are given a court-appointed attorney, you generally can’t change lawyers after the legal process has begun. There are going to be trivial disagreements that come up between any lawyer and client, so those are things you’ll just have to deal with. If there is something serious and you are unable to hold a professional relationship with your lawyer at all, or if a personal issue has come up between the two of you, the judge may allow a different lawyer to represent you.

If you have your own personal attorney, you have the right to change counsel at your leisure. You don’t need court approval and you don’t have to prove a good cause to fire the lawyer.

Paying for a Personal Attorney

If you feel you have a good case and have the funds to pay for a personal attorney, you may want to do that instead of going with the court-appointed attorney. There are some benefits of each, and those are things you’ll want to seriously consider. When you pay for an attorney, the cost will depend on how complex your case is, how much experience the attorney has and where you are geographically located.

Getting Started

Whether you feel you need a court-appointed attorney or are looking to hire someone on your own, you can often obtain advice from a lawyer to help direct you. Contact a criminal defense lawyer, like from the Law Office of Daniel Wright, today to get started.