What if I cannot afford a lawyer?

If you are involved in a criminal case, in most circumstances you may have a lawyer appointed to you if the court decides you cannot afford a lawyer. You might also have the right to a court-appointed lawyer in some civil cases that involve the loss of a civil liberty such as a mental health commitment or loss of parental rights.A lawyer referral service is typically offered by state and local bar associations as a public service. The purpose of a lawyer referral service is to increase access to justice by referring members of the general public to lawyers in private practice or to legal aid organizations or agencies for a nominal fee. Increasingly, the public is turning away from these services.

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