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Frederick J. Brynn, P.C.

Criminal Defense Attorney

If you find yourself involved in a court case, you have probably heard the advice to hire a criminal defense attorney in San Francisco, CA immediately. This is the number one advice that is always given for anyone involved in a legal conflict. However, lawyers are not cheap. What happens if you simply cannot afford to hire an attorney? Are there attorneys available for people in this situation? This guide will answer this question.

Public Defenders

If you are involved in a criminal case, then you are guaranteed the right to an attorney no matter what. Whether or not you can afford a lawyer, you can receive one. These lawyers are called public defenders. Even if you can afford an attorney, you can opt to have a public defender instead if you want to. At your arraignment, you will be asked if you need a public defender.

Legal Aid

If you are involved in a civil case, or if you do not want a public defender, then you still have a few options. Remember, public defenders are only a guaranteed right in criminal cases. In civil cases, you are responsible for providing your own legal representation.

In these situations, you may still be able to receive legal representation at no or little cost to you. In most areas, there are several forms of legal aid available to the general public. Legal aid may come in the following forms:

  • Free Clinics – In some areas, there are legal clinics available. Just like a traditional clinic that allows people to come in and receive simple medical examinations for free, legal clinics provide legal advice and simple services for free.
  • Legal Aid Firms – Some law firms are considered legal aid firms, which means the state or private sources fund them. These law firms provide legal representation to individuals who cannot afford to hire a private attorney. Check if there are any legal aid law firms near you.
  • Pro Bono Attorneys – The American Bar Associations urges every lawyer to provide about 50 hours of free legal service to their community each year. Keep in mind that this is not a requirement, but the recommendation is enough to convince many lawyers to provide this service. You may be able to find a private lawyer willing to take your case for free.

You should never try to represent yourself. This challenge is much more difficult than you might think, especially if you have no legal experience or training. Even most lawyers choose to hire another lawyer, rather than represent themselves.


Thanks to The Morales Law Firm for their insight into criminal law and how to get a lawyer if you can’t afford one.

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