Anyone seeking for free legal help may be wondering how they can avail of such excellent legal option. Before anything else, you need to know if you’re entitled for such services.
According to the constitution, anyone who has a criminal case and can’t afford to pay for legal help is entitled to get a free attorney or lawyer. For instance, a person who is charged with a certain crime which can be imprisoned can get a free attorney; on the first court appearance, you can already request for your free attorney or lawyer. The court will determine if you’re an indigent. To be classified as an indigent, an individual should have a few assets but no funds for hiring a lawyer. The court will hire a lawyer for you and the fees will be taken out from the county funds. The attorney can be a public or a private defender, depending on the availability.
For civil cases, you will not be entitled to get a lawyer. You can turn to pro bono and legal aid programs offered in your state. Only those whose income is 125% less than the established poverty level can obtain these services. If the income is slightly higher, you may still be considered for the program.
Aside from the income requirements, individuals who are disabled, elderly, and military enlisted, and domestic violence victims are also entitled to the programs. You must also remember that since the programs have limited funds, not everyone is entertained. The programs choose only the top priority cases and turn down other requests or cases.
Poor clients can turn to legal aid services or offices if they need legal help. They have experienced lawyers who can give proper advice in the different kinds of problems encountered by the less fortunate. Some of these offices are funded by the state while others are funded privately. When conducting a legal help search online, it would be best to choose among the programs or services offered within your state.
Some people turn volunteer lawyers who join pro bono programs. Bar associations usually support these programs and you might be able to find one in your state. Look for a pro bono program in your area and seek legal help there, especially if you’re a low income earner.
Online legal help resources are now becoming more and more popular. Legal questions can be asked from legal aid attorneys or lawyers. If you’re lucky enough, you might be able to find a hotline who can review letters, documents, and other legal forms; not only that, the hotline can also refer you to free legal help services.
Some cities and communities offer free legal aid to the needy through pro bono programs. Again, the individuals mentioned earlier qualify for the said programs. Try to contact legal referral services. Some individuals obtain legal information online and they handle some common legal issues on their own. You can do that if the legal issues are quite common. For severe legal issues, you must get a lawyer.
The federal government helps those with limited resources in dealing with their criminal and civil cases. It’s time that you also help yourself and seek legal help.