What happens after you can no longer afford a private attorney and will be starting trial soon?

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What happens after you can no longer afford a private attorney and will be starting trial soon?

We have had a private attorney for almost 2 years and now we have to begin trial in 2 months but we can’t afford our private attorney. So what is the next step that will happen?

Asked on May 22, 2011 under Criminal Law, California

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

If this is a criminal trial, then you should have a constitutional right to have a court-appointed attorney--either legal aid or a pro bono lawyer. Of course, one will only be appointed if you *truly* cannot afford one--not merely if it would be burdensome or difficult, even extremely difficult, for you to pay. You should *immediately* contact the court and explain the situation and ask for a lawyer. You want to do this right away, since the court may  not, after two years, grant any delays or adjournments; therefore, you want to to get a lawyer as soon as possible, so he or she can get up to speed on the matter. Good luck.


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