Do you have to be in jail to get a court appointed attorney? If I post bail, can the court keep my money?

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Do you have to be in jail to get a court appointed attorney? If I post bail, can the court keep my money?

When my son was 17, he stood lookout while 2 of his friends burglarized a school. He ended up with 2 felonies. One for burglary 2nd degree & another for theft/stealing over $500. He was put on probation for 5 yrs on both charges.He stopped seeing his probation officer so got in trouble for violating parole. He ended up missing his last court date because we can’t afford an attorney so we didn’t know about the court hearing. The judge put out a warrant for his arrest and a cash bond only of $600. I may be able to scrape together the money but am worried the court will keep my money.

Asked on June 16, 2009 under Criminal Law, Missouri

Answers:

B. B., Member, New Jersey Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

In most states you don't have to be in jail to get a court appointed lawyer.  You have to prove that you can't afford a lawyer (and exactly what that means varies from one state to the next), and in most states you have to be facing criminal charges that could get you sent to jail for six months.

It's not unusual for fines and court costs to be taken out of a person's bail, when the charges are resolved in court.  So there's a very good chance that you won't see all of the money if you post it; the alternative is, your son will have to go to jail.


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