Do I have to pay for a court appointed attorney or does the state pay for them?

Asked on January 9, 2013 under Criminal Law, Michigan


M.D., Member, California and New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

A court appointed attorney is paid ofr by the state; the defendant bears none of the cost. However, there are income limits for eligibilty. If you do not meet them (i.e. you make too much money or have too many assets), then you will not qualify for free legal representation. You'll need to check with the court in your area as to income limits since they vary from jurisdiction-to-jurisdiction.

If your income is too high, see if qualify for representation by Legal Aid (there are also income restrcitions but they might be differents) or see if they can recommend someone to help you. Also, check if there is a law school nearby to where you live; they typically run free/low cost clinics that handle cases. Finally, you can contact the local Bar Association in your county; it may have a list of attorneys who will take your case "pro bono" (for free) or at least for a reduced fee based on your income/circumstances.

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