Figuring out the legal process after someone close to you has been arrested can be confusing. You may be wondering what the next steps are for their situation. While the process may be daunting, you might need to find them a lawyer if they don't qualify for a court-appointed attorney.
However, sometimes current inmates may qualify for a court-appointed attorney depending on their finances. We'll go over how a defendant might qualify for a court-appointed lawyer. Plus, we'll explain how to get a lawyer for someone in jail who doesn't have the resources to do so themselves.
What Is a Court-Appointed Attorney?
Court-appointed attorneys, commonly referred to as public defenders, provide legal counsel to criminal defendants who can't afford to pay a private law firm. In the US, access to an attorney is a right for criminal defendants under the 6th Amendment. Because of Miranda Rights, police officers must inform a person of this right when issuing criminal charges.
Will a Defendant Qualify for a Court-Appointed Attorney?
One of the first steps to getting a lawyer is determining whether a defendant qualifies for a court-appointed attorney. Not all people will qualify for this benefit as they don't fit the criteria. Some judges may ask for proof that a defendant can't afford a lawyer, such as financial statements and quotes from law offices. Others might take a defendant's word if they're unable to provide any documents at all.
How Can Someone in Jail Get a Court-Appointed Attorney?
For people already in jail looking to get a court-appointed attorney, the process is usually straightforward and simple. At the first appearance in court for the bail hearing, you can request a court-appointed lawyer. Once you request a court-appointed attorney, the judge may choose a lawyer immediately. If the lawyer is already in the courtroom, they'll represent you through the rest of the hearing.
However, sometimes a judge will delay the rest of your hearing to review your financial situation. They may ask you questions or give you instructions which you must follow. When a judge has determined that your financial situation justifies having a court-appointed lawyer, you'll have one assigned to oversee the rest of your case.
How Can You Get a Lawyer for Someone in Jail?
If someone close to you is currently in jail, it may be difficult for them to access the resources to get an attorney. Getting an attorney is crucial for anyone who has been arrested for a crime. A good lawyer will help you at the bail hearing, offer advice, and begin working on the details of your case. The sooner a defendant has access to a defense attorney, the better off they will be for the rest of the case.
There can be a lot of confusion soon after an arrest. You may not have the full details of where a defendant is located. Figuring out how to get a lawyer for someone in jail is dependent on knowing the details of where they are and the accused crime. If you need to find a way to look up an inmate, you can use our search engine to find them. Additionally, you can also call the phone number of the local county jail where you think they might be held. Once you've located the facility where they're being held, it will be easier to move forward with getting a lawyer.
Call a Criminal Defense Attorney
It's important to call a defense lawyer as soon as possible after the arrest. A lawyer might go directly to the jail where the defendant is being held for more information and to provide assistance throughout the interrogation process. Having a lawyer during this early stage of the case is critical to protect the rights of the accused defendant.
Choosing a Quality Attorney
When someone you are close to faces criminal charges, finding them a quality attorney is essential. If you're figuring out how to get a lawyer for someone in jail, you might consider specialists. Some criminal attorneys specialize in specific areas of the law. This specialization is a valuable tool to the defendant, as the attorney will have a vast knowledge of the particular crime and legal area.
You'll also need to consider whether the charges are federal or state-level. For instance, if someone you know has been charged with a federal crime, you'll need to hire an attorney licensed to practice in federal court. Additionally, there are other kinds of limitations on attorneys. An attorney practicing law in Illinois might not be licensed to practice in another state. You'll have to choose an attorney who has the proper licenses to work the case.
Can a Defendant Change Attorneys?
Generally, a defendant may not be able to switch public defenders unless they can show proof of a breakdown in communication or other established incompetence. This change of public defenders is somewhat of a rare occurrence. Usually, once a defendant has been assigned an attorney, they remain in charge of the case through to the end.
If you hire an attorney through a law firm, a defendant may be able to fire their attorney and find a new one. Some of the signs that the defendant should switch attorneys include poor communication, the lawyer is not understanding the complexities of the case, poor performance in court, and lack of preparation.
Figuring out how to get a lawyer for someone in jail is the crucial first step in the legal process. Lawyers can help advise and protect their client's rights from the start of the case. Everyone is entitled to legal representation when facing criminal charges that result in jail time. A court-appointed attorney may be the best option for some people in jail. Additionally, you may also contact attorneys for someone you know to get them the best possible lawyer. If you're searching for an inmate to help them find an attorney, our inmate search engine can help you.