Why was I not assigned a lawyer but have been to court several times?

I have been to court over a criminal non-traffic issue several times now but I was never assigned a lawyer or even offered one. I know that I would qualify for a public defender but do not know if I can request one now this far into the proceedings.

Asked on October 9, 2011 under General Practice, Washington

Answers:

FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

In most states when a person has been charged with a crime there is the first appearance called the arraignment where the person accused of a crime is advised of the charges against him or her and is given the opportunity to request the appointment of legal counsel if he or she cannot afford one.

If this did not happen when you were arraigned, you need to request the appointment of a public defender at the next court hearing. In order to be proactive about the need for appointment of legal counsel, I recommend that you contact the public defender's office about the case where you have been charged with a crime and see if you can get the process of having a public defender represent you in your case started.

Good luck.


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