If you have been charged with a crime, you might be worried about how you’re going to pay for your attorney. The Sixth Amendment protects all criminal defendants, stating they are entitled to legal representation, even if they cannot afford to hire a lawyer on their own. This means if you can’t afford to hire an attorney, the court will appoint someone to represent you free of charge. The following are some other ways you may be able to secure an attorney.
Pro Bono Associations
Some lawyers provide services “pro bono,” or free of charge. It may be a requirement for a lawyer working at a specific firm, or it may be something a lawyer does voluntarily as a way to give back to the community. It’s possible you’ll have to meet certain qualifications, which could include proving your low-income level. Lawyers who work pro bono often offer the same dedicated service as they would to paying clients.
There are certain nonprofit organizations around the nation that provide free legal counsel to individuals in a particular demographic. For example, one organization may represent seniors at a certain income level. Others may provide free services to youth or young adults. You may find nonprofit organizations that focus on mentally challenged individuals, physically crippled individuals or caretakers of such individuals.
Law School Clinics
Some law schools in the United States have clinics that the law professors run. The students participate in these programs to gain real-world experience with the right professional supervision. In many cases, the legal services are free of charge for defendants who live in the community. Some of these law school clinics have very specific types of representation, while others represent individuals charged with a wide range of criminal activity.
If you can’t afford the most sought-after attorney in town, you may be able to scrape up the funds for a low-cost program. It’s not the same as having representation from a private criminal defense lawyer, but if it’s your only option, it’s better than nothing. Look online for telephone hotlines, sliding-fee programs and other similar programs that you might be able to afford.
Getting Started Today
You’ll never truly know whether you can afford an attorney until you talk to one. If you have been charged with criminal activity, contact a criminal lawyer in Civic Center San Francisco, CA to speak about fees, how the lawyer charges, when payment is required and other similar issues. It’s possible you’ll be able to have a private lawyer by your side after all.
Thanks to Hallinan Law Firm for their insight into criminal law and how to secure a criminal defense lawyer.