If you are charged with a crime, an immediate need is to talk to an experienced criminal defense lawyer. If you are blessed with enough financial flow, you can hire a private criminal defense attorney. But if you cannot afford to hire a private lawyer, you can approach a court to appoint a public prosecutor for your representation during pre-trial and court proceedings. In that case, expenses will be borne by the government. You can do it in either of the following ways:
- Request the court to appoint an attorney to represent you
- Provide details about your inability to afford fees of a private lawyer
Usually, your first chance to request the court to appoint a public prosecutor at government expenses will be during bail hearing or arraignment (your first court appearance).
Each state and country has its own set of rules regarding who is eligible for a free attorney. As per a general rule, if the judge considers you as indigent and there is a risk of a prison sentence, the court is obliged to appoint a free criminal defense lawyer to defend your stance.
If you are not considered eligible for free legal representation but are unable to bear the full expenses of a private attorney, you may still qualify for receiving the service of a court-appointed public prosecutor. Most states offer “partial indigence” implying that the judge, at the conclusion of the criminal case, will require you to refund a part of the expenses to the state or country.
Should I Take Help of a Lawyer at My Arraignment?
The arraignment in most criminal cases is related to your first appearance before a judge when you enter a plea of ‘Not Guilty’ or ‘Guilty’ to the crimes charged. Assuming your plea of ‘not guilty’, which nearly every defendant does in the initial stage, the arraignment involves the following steps:
- The judge sets a particular date for the next proceeding in your case.
- The judge takes into consideration any bail request made by the defendant (you) or the prosecutor.
- The judge appoints an attorney to represent you.
- The judge may ask the defendant to ‘waive time’, which means to give up the rights to undergo the trial or other statutory proceedings taking place within the particular periods of time.
If necessary, most people can deal with the proceedings without a defense attorney. However, being represented by a lawyer, whether privately hired or court-appointed, improves outcomes.
How to Find a Private Defense Attorney?
After a charge is leveled against you, the immediate priority is to hire an attorney in order to arrange a defendant’s release and provide some useful information about what to expect in the days to come.
Followings are some reliable sources to get a referral:
- Lawyers You Know: The lawyers are connected to each other via a wider network. If you know a lawyer, not necessarily a practicing criminal lawyer, the person may recommend the names of some good criminal defense attorneys to consider.
- Relatives or Friends: Someone from your family or friends may know a criminal defense attorney of high repute
- Referral Services
Whether your case is serious or not, there is no better alternative to being represented by an Orlando criminal defense lawyer. That is why it is more important to find out a good lawyer.