One of the foundations of the American criminal justice system is that every criminal defendant has the right to be represented by legal counsel, regardless of socio-economic status. This means that if you or a family member is facing criminal charges and are unable to afford a private defense attorney, you may be eligible for court-appointed representation. If you qualify for a court-appointed lawyer, he or she will typically represent you at the government’s expense.
Ask for court-appointed lawyer
In most cases, the first time you will be able to ask for court-appointed legal representation is when you make your first appearance in front of a judge following your arrest. If you are able to post bail following your arrest, you will be given a piece of paper that tells you when to make your next court appearance. At this first appearance, the judge will ask you whether you have attorney representation and whether you would like a court-appointed lawyer.
Qualify for court-appointed lawyer
Many times, the courts will delay the remainder of your arraignment until you have legal representation. The courts may also delay future court appearances until it can assess your financial situation. Each county and state has rules to determine whether you qualify for a court-appointed lawyer. These rules typically take into account your financial situation as well as the seriousness of your charge.
Provide detailed financial information
In order to make sure you qualify for court-appointed legal services, you will need to provide information on your monthly income such as pay stubs. Even if your income is too high for you to qualify for a court-appointed lawyer, you may still qualify for partial indigency. In this case, you would have court appointed representation, but you would have to pay for a portion of the legal costs.
At 24 Seven Bail Bonds in New Jersey, we treat every client with courtesy and respect. If you or a loved one has been arrested, we can help you understand the New Jersey bail bond process. You can reach our office by dialing (732) 418-2245.