Are you entitled to a court appointed attorney if someone files domestic violence charges against you?

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Are you entitled to a court appointed attorney if someone files domestic violence charges against you?

My brother was served with papers saying his ex-girlfriend filed charges and got a emergency protective order against my brother. We were wondering if he has a right to an attorney because he can’t afford one?

Asked on March 2, 2012 under Criminal Law, West Virginia

Answers:

Kevin Bessant / Law Office of Kevin Bessant & Associates

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

You have a legal right to have an attorney appointed to you in a "criminal" matter if you are indigent and cannot afford to retain an attorney. If your brother was actually charged with a criminal complaint for domestic violence, then his first court appearance will be his arraignment. At this time, the Judge will inform him that he has the right to an attorney and that an attorney will be appointed for him if he is indigent and cannot afford to hire one himself. This only applies to "criminal" matters, and not Protective orders as these are often "civil" matters.


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