You may be granted a court appointed lawyer if you have been arrested. Watch this video to learn how one is obtained if you can’t afford to hire one.
How do you obtain a court appointed lawyer?
The process for getting a court-appointed lawyer usually starts when you’re arrested and they’ll ask if you want to be evaluated to see if you qualify for a court-appointed lawyer. They’re going to look at your income and the offense to see if you qualify for a court-appointed lawyer. If you can afford a lawyer, very often, I think that’s the better choice than using a court-appointed lawyer. An example would be if you’re charged with a DWI, that court-appointed lawyer will show up in court, look at the file, and try to determine whether it’s a case that you’re likely going to have to plead for or whether or not you ought to assert some defenses.
The problem with that is there’s a second part of the DWI. There’s a process by which the DPS is going to try to take away your driver’s license. A court-appointed lawyer isn’t paid to do that, so they usually will not represent you at the DPS hearing, which will result in you losing your driver’s license. Most hired lawyers will do that as part of their fee. By using a court-appointed lawyer, you’re giving up some of the other tangential issues that come up in the charge because your court-appointed lawyer isn’t paid to handle those other things that come about because of a charge.