How to Obtain a Lawyer (Public Defender)

If you cannot afford a private defense attorney, you may be eligible to receive a public defender / public defender (or “public defender”) representing you.

One of the bases of our system of law and justice is that all defendants have the right to be represented by a lawyer. This can be understood simply by listening to the warning that the police in this country must give to each person at the time of arrest. Known as Miranda rights, almost everyone in the United States knows this phrase of hours of police programs on television. “You have the right to remain silent, anything you say can and will be used against you in a court of law, you have the right to a lawyer, and if you cannot afford a lawyer, the court will assign you one.”

It seems crazy how much a private criminal lawyer currently charges per hour. The fees between $ 300 and $ 600 are the norm. If you cannot afford to hire a private criminal lawyer, you can get a lawyer to represent you in your defense. Generally, the lawyer will work on behalf of the government. In order to obtain a public defender representing you, you generally must:

  • Ask the court for a lawyer ex officio
  • Provide details about your financial situation that demonstrate that you cannot hire a private defense attorney.

In general, the first time you can request a lawyer to represent you will be the first time you appear before the judge after your arrest. This is called reading charges.

The majority of the population of the country has very little idea of ​​how the criminal justice system works. Generally, if you were arrested and could pay bail, you will have received a document that tells you to appear in court at a certain place, on a specific day and time. Or, if you were unable to post bail, you will be escorted to your first appearance in court, usually by your county sheriff’s department. There, he will wait to be called to court by the clerk of the court. Once you have been called, the judge’s first question to you will generally be to find out if you already have a lawyer’s representation. If this is not the case, the judge will probably ask you if you want to request a lawyer.

If you answer yes, you will be assigned a lawyer right there (if there is one in court) to help you during the rest of the reading of charges. However, this lawyer is not usually the lawyer assigned to you, and some courts seek to delay or postpone the charges until you have the lawyer who will represent you during the entire case. Also, some courts seek to delay future court dates and the lawyer’s appointment until his financial situation is investigated to know if he qualifies for a lawyer ex officio.

Each state, and sometimes each county, will have rules that will determine whether or not you meet the requirements to receive a lawyer ex officio. These rules are generally free to take into account the seriousness of the alleged crime or the probable duration of the trial. Then, even if you earn a decent salary and can hire a private attorney to work on a short case, the judge can decide that you qualify for a lawyer ex officio if the charges against you are more serious or if it seems that the Judgment will last long.

Finally, if you get an income, but are not high enough to hire a private attorney and are not low enough to qualify for free legal assistance through an attorney, the judge may provide “partial indigence”. Under this rule, you will be represented by an ex officio lawyer, but you will be ordered to reimburse the state for part of the costs of your representation during the trial.

Are public defenders (or public defenders) good professionals?

In answering this question, it should be borne in mind that, in most situations, any legal representation in a criminal hearing is better than none. However, this does not mean that a lawyer by trade is a little better than nothing. In fact, many public defenders and public defenders are some of the best legal minds in the world. Public defenders generally have more hours in court and experience than many private defense attorneys who double their age. Moreover, public defenders have been on the side of defending many of the most recognized causes in the history of our country.

However, the time and effort that your public defender can devote to your case has greatly diminished in recent years, as less and less government funds are allocated to these programs every year. With less money, this means that public defenders can spend less time in all their causes. In some places the situation has gotten so bad that public defenders only meet with their clients for the first time in the courtroom before the trial begins.

Speak Today with a Qualified Lawyer in Criminal Law

This article aims to be useful and informative. But legal issues can be complicated and stressful. A qualified criminal law attorney can meet your particular legal needs, explain the law and represent you in court. Take the first step now and contact a qualified criminal law attorney near you to discuss your specific legal situation.

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