Get the Help You Need: How to Access Legal Assistance as a Convicted Criminal
Being in a legal situation can be a stressful and time-consuming affair. It’s hard enough to know how to find the right lawyer, and who to talk to about your case. However, if you’re a convicted criminal, it makes it even more challenging and complicated to gain access to fair and worthy legal advice.
Regardless of your status, you have the right to a lawyer from the moment you are arrested, all the way through your court case. It is vital to understand your rights, and accessing legal assistance is all part of that process.
Issues that may arise in your search for a criminal defense lawyer include your financial situation, access to resources, and time constraints. But don’t worry – you are not alone, and there are a few key methods to gaining access to legal assistance if you are a convicted criminal.
Here, we will talk about the best and easiest options for securing yourself a criminal defense lawyer and legal assistance without too much stress.
Contact Your Local Public Defender’s Office
The first step in your legal journey as a convicted criminal is to contact your local public defender’s office. A public defender is an attorney who is appointed by the court to represent defendants who cannot afford to hire their own attorney.
Public defenders often represent people who are charged with a felony or misdemeanor, and violations of probation or parole. They also can represent minors, or those being involuntarily held on the basis of mental illness or who require guardianship.
Public defenders are the responsibility of the government, as part of a Legal Aid program, and ensure that fair and just representation is offered to the public. At the initiation of your case, you can ask the court to appoint a public defender during your first appearance before a judge. At that time, you may be asked to submit a financial declaration to determine eligibility.
To contact a public defender’s office, you can look them up online or in the government pages of a phone book. If you haven’t been appointed a public defender, and aren’t sure whether or not you qualify for one, you can ask the office once you call.
Get in Touch with a Legal Aid Organization
In addition to public defenders are multiple types of Legal Aid organizations. There are typically numerous societies and legal centers that will provide everyone – including convicted criminals – with help in finding a lawyer, filing legal papers, and preparing a case.
Like a public defender, Legal Aid societies are funded by the government, and provide free or low-cost legal assistance to low-income individuals. They also educate their clients on their rights, the court process ahead, and the options.
Depending on the focus of the charge, a person may be appointed a criminal defense lawyer, or someone who is more schooled in family law. It simply depends on what the accusations are.
In addition to financial assistance, Legal Aid societies exist to secure and support the integrity of the convict. They help protect the rights and freedoms of each individual, and are fueled by human rights and volunteers.
Gain Assistance from the Office of Justice Program (OJP)
Like Legal Aid societies, the Office of Justice Program (OJP) was created to help offer equal justice to those in need, such as convicted criminals and those who need criminal defense lawyers.
This program was developed as a research and grant-writing organization; its primary goals are to provide local and regional law agencies with information, training, and strategies for handling law enforcement issues. By contacting them directly, you can gain access to direction, assistance, and suggestions by professionals in the field of justice.
In addition to offering legal aid, an OJP also offers resources, support, and educational opportunities in order to improve the justice system. To get a hold of the OJP, you can find them online, or listed in any phone book.
If you are a convicted criminal in need of professional legal advice from someone like a criminal defense lawyer, do not delay. By using one of the resources listed above, you can gain access to knowledgeable help that may be detrimental in the success of your case.