Planning your criminal defense in Texas can be very, very expensive. Lawyers are among the highest paid professionals in the country, and those who specialize in criminal defense may cost even more since they’re in high demand. If you’re already facing a criminal case, you’re going to be worried enough without adding the stress of paying for your legal defense on top of everything else. However, there are a few ways of getting help if you can’t afford a lawyer.
If you can prove to the court that you simply do not have the financial resources to afford legal representation, in criminal cases, they are required to appoint you a lawyer. This lawyer is paid for by the state (the public defenders are supported by Texas state taxes) and they are criminal defense experts. The downside here is that you aren’t able to interview potential lawyers and select the one that fits your case the best; instead, you must take the attorney the court appoints to your case and work with him or her.
However, if you’d like some choice in selecting your legal representation for your criminal defense in Texas, you may ask for a list of lawyers who perform pro bono, or free, work. You can get this list from the Texas Bar Association. However, note that while some attorneys will perform pro bono work for anyone, most have specific guidelines. Again, income is a factor. Attorneys work to make a living just like anyone else, and if their clients can pay them, they won’t offer to take a case pro bono. Generally, most attorneys only take on a case for free if an individual can prove they have very little money or if they are disabled.
Many wonder why lawyers take on pro bono cases at all. As stated above, they have to make a living like anyone else. However, Texas is rather unique in that the Texas Bar Association has passed a resolution encouraging every lawyer in the state to contribute 50 hours of pro bono work to the public every year. While there is no punishment for not donating this time, most attorneys do follow this resolution. That means many are looking for cases to take on for free, and if you can do something to pique their interest in your criminal defense, you may be able to get legal services at a much lower rate than normal.
If you are facing a criminal charge, contact a local attorney to discuss your options and get a free case review.