4 Ways To Find Legal Help If You Cannot Afford a Lawyer

When you need legal advice as a defendant in a criminal case, you may worry about the cost and whether you can afford to get help. While legal assistance can be costly, there are ways you might be able to get a criminal defense attorney in San Francisco, CA, like from Morales Law Firm, on your side once you realize you are going to face charges.

1. Court-Appointed Attorneys 

The United States Constitution protects you, as a defendant, from facing a trial without legal assistance. If you cannot afford an attorney, you will likely be told at the time of your arrest that a court-appointed lawyer will be provided for you as a part of the Miranda Rights reading. As you move through the legal system, remember that you have a right to legal counsel, no matter the charge.

2. Federal Grant Attorneys 

If you find yourself in a low-income situation during your trial, there are federally-funded programs that offer legal assistance. These attorneys deal with a variety of issues, such as housing issues and unemployment trials. You may be able to find these grant programs online and apply for legal services at little or no cost. You may have to provide proof of your assets or income in order to qualify. 

3. Contingent Attorneys 

You may have seen ads on television for lawyers who do not collect a fee unless you win your case. While this usually applies to personal injury cases, there are attorneys who may offer this contingency for you as a defendant. Some fees might be reduced or waived during the trial and certain payments may be redacted if you are convicted of a criminal charge. Since each law office or individual attorney operates differently under contingency, you may have to perform a bit of legwork to find one in your area.

4. Pro Bono Attorneys 

Some attorneys give back to their communities by volunteering their services for free. Others collaborate with legal charities that want to offer those from low-income neighborhoods access to legal assistance. Some of these attorneys might be able to assist you with filling out legal paperwork at no cost, while others might be willing to represent you in court. The degree of assistance sometimes depends on the size of the legal firm or how much time an individual attorney has to put toward these charitable acts. 

Finding yourself charged with a criminal act and without the funds for legal assistance can be frightening, but help may be available. Contact an attorney today for further help and information.