Defendants charged with crimes are almost always best served by obtaining a lawyer.
Are all criminal defendants represented by lawyers?
Not all are, but most criminal defendants choose to be represented by a lawyer, especially when jail or a prison sentence is a possible result. It is very difficult for a person to completely handle his or her own criminal case.
Lawyers are expensive; how do people afford them?
When defendants are considered to be legally indigent the court is constitutionally required to provide them with legal representation at government expense.
Indigent defendants are not always entitled to free legal representation.
Indigent defendants are entitled to free legal representation only if there is an actual risk of a jail or prison sentence. For example, indigent defendants charged with infraction are not entitled to free legal services.
If I do not qualify for a court-appointed attorney, how important is it that I hire my own?
Even with the cost of legal representation, a nonindigent defendant faced with the possibility of going to jail or prison should almost always hire an attorney because no matter how smart or well educated you are, the criminal justice system makes it difficult to do a competent job of representing yourself.
If you are arrested or charged with a crime, contact Christine McGuire, Santa Cruz, Monterey, Santa Clara County Defense Attorney.