I was arrested on adrug charge, what can I do if I can’t afford an attorney?

I was searched at home with search warrant. The police found 1/4 ounce speed, scale. I was arrested on Friday night. Will I be released. I can’t afford bail or attorney. Can I get legal help other than public defender if I am low income? It is my 1st offence or arrest of any kind. I sold due to loss of income (unemployment ran out). I get section 8 and need to not have a drug offence. That will take more than a public defender.

Asked on July 16, 2010 under Criminal Law, California

Answers:

M.T.G., Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

Your right to counsel is one that is guaranteed by the 6th Amendment to the United States Constitution.  Each state has established various ways in which they fulfill the requirement.  In New York it is the Legal Aid Society and 18B Panels but there are just as many local neighborhood legal services that can help as well.  They are often present in the courtrooms during arraignments (the time when a person accused of a crime is brought before the Judge to enter his or her plea of guilty or not guilty and the bail issue is addressed).  Many attorneys that are on these types of panels for appointment have worked elsewhere for many years and are quite competent.  Do not give them short shrift.  And if your appointed attorney is not giving you the defense you think that you deserve then you can ask for a different one.  Have some faith.  Good luck.


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