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

UPDATED: Oct 9, 2011

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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


FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 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.

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 AttorneyPages.com 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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