If you’re searching for a criminal lawyer, but are concerned about money – you’re bound to run into the concept of pro-bono lawyers. If you’re arrested, and out of money, it’s still possible to get good legal representation.
Pro-bono lawyers are those who agree to represent cases for free. But it’s difficult to find an attorney who will do this. At the end of the day, everyone has to pay their bills, and that’s why many lawyers do not do pro-bono work —- unless it’s for a good cause! Regardless, this shouldn’t deter you. If you have the time, you should consider calling around town, various law offices, and see if they’ll consider helping for free. Many attorneys have a certain amount of cases set aside each year, just for that very purpose.
Having said that, if you’re accused of a crime, you have a constitutional right to legal representation. Many state constitutions have a provision stating that if you cannot afford to hire legal representation, you are entitled to a lawyer. When the state assigns you an attorney, the attorney will be paid for, by the state, to serve you. The state pays for this attorney, and he is an attorney in all respects.
If you fall into the category where you cannot hire a lawyer – then it’s important that at your first very appearance, you ask the judge to appoint you a lawyer. Most of the time, this happens automatically, but if you can’t afford one it’s best to hire one immediately.
The type of lawyers you will get can vary. Many esteemed criminal defense law firms, act as state appointed criminal lawyers, even though if you approached them directly they would’ve charged you a lot more!
Many lawyers do this type of work, because it allows them to build their legal career, and reputation, by participating in these cases and getting the opportunity to try them. Once these attorneys get more experience, they stop handling these types of cases.
Regardless of whether you can afford to hire a criminal lawyer or not, make sure to align yourself with the best one possible. If you’re not happy with the state appointed prosecutor, then it’s best to ask the judge to appoint you a new one.
About The Author
Joel Farar is a founding partner at Farar & Lewis LLP, the premier Los Angeles criminal defense lawyers, with over 40 years of combined experience litigating cases.