Criminal Defense Lawyer
The average hourly rate for criminal defense lawyers is above $250. The average alleged criminal falls somewhere below the poverty line. Therefore, there is a discrepancy between those who need competent legal counsel and those who can provide it. How does a defendant argue their case if they cannot pay for an attorney? Thankfully, they do not have to fight their legal battles alone because the law entitles them to counsel, and they can receive legal aid through public defenders or by seeking other qualified individuals for help and expertise.
Public defenders often get a bad reputation of being overworked, underpaid and uncaring. While they carry extensive caseloads and may not receive as high a salary as other lawyers, you’ll be hard-pressed to find more dedicated attorneys than public defenders. The stereotype likely arises from defendants experiencing multiple attorneys and not understanding why, leading to a misconception that their original attorney didn’t care. Often, the attorney present for your arraignment is not the attorney who argues your trial because they are less experienced. Therefore, for your trial, you will have an experienced trial attorney, and despite popular belief, most are very familiar with your case.
Unfortunately, not every defendant will get access to a public defender because every state has different financial restrictions. Therefore, when financially above the threshold, you will need to seek aid from somewhere and someone else.
Legal Aid Firms
Legal aid firms only represent those who cannot afford representation. While they also have financial restrictions, their rules may not be as stringent as state requirements. Therefore, if you do not make enough to hire an attorney, but make too much for a public defender, you can try a legal aid firm for support. Although, there are still other options if denied by the legal aid firm.
Pro Bono Attorneys
If neither of the above options works for you, then you can search for an attorney willing to work pro bono, or free. Some state bar associations require every licensed attorney to donate some of their time to clients in need. However, even if the state doesn’t mandate it, some attorneys are more than willing to work pro bono for clients that need help.
While an attorney is typically expensive, there are options for defendants who cannot afford one. Whether through a public defender’s office, legal aid law firm or even pro bono work, everyone is entitled to a defense. If you need an attorney, then contact a criminal defense lawyer in Arlington, VA to discuss arrangements and payment options.
Thanks to May Law, LLP for their insight into criminal law and how to afford an attorney.