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

UPDATED: Mar 2, 2012

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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


Kevin Bessant / Law Office of Kevin Bessant & Associates

Answered 10 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.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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