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Is there a time limit on getting a lawyer?

Paramount, CA |

i have court this month, do i need a lawyer before the court date?
or can i go to my first court date using the public defender, then decide if one is actually needed?

Attorney Answers 7

  1. Best answer

    There is no time limit and the Sixth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution allows you the right to an attorney when you assert such a right.

    It may save you some money to first see how zealous and energetic your public defender is before hiring private counsel. Not all public defenders are bad. There are many very good public defenders.

  2. There is no time limit, representation before a court date could help you clear the matter more expeditiously, good luck.

    The above answer is for information only; and does NOT constitute legal advice. This answer does not constitute, nor does it create, an attorney-client relationship between KaplunMarx, PLLC, Theodor Kapun and any receiver. The information provided on these pages is general only, and you should not act upon this information without consulting with a qualified attorney.

  3. Yes you can do that. You can appear first by yourself or a public defender and then get a lawyer and the new lawyer will sub in.

  4. You typically have to represent to the Public Defender that you cannot afford private counsel. If you can hire a private attorney from the get go, you should.

    California attorney Sarkis Jacob Babachanian handles criminal defense, personal injury, civil litigation and bankruptcy (ch. 7) matters in the greater Los Angeles area. To discuss possible representation, feel free to phone Mr. Babachanian at 818-500-0678 or email him at The information provided is as a public courtesy only and does not establish an attorney-client relationship. Only a formal written agreement establishes an attorney-client relationship. In criminal cases, speak with nobody except privately with an attorney about your case facts. In personal injury cases, all cases are governed by statutes of limitation which create deadlines to bring your case, and if you miss the deadline(s) you risk forever losing your rights.

  5. You can do both. The advantage of having an attorney before the hearing is that your attorney can discuss the matter with the prosecution before the prosecution files the actual complaint for the purpose of dismissing the charges or reducing the charges. Having an attorney before hand sometimes influences the court when making decisions about bail. Good luck.
    for Fairness / for Your Freedom because sometimes good people find themselves in bad situations
    (562) 216-2940
    (800) 409-7010

    The response above is not intended as legal advice since it’s impracticable to provide thorough, accurate advice based upon the query without additional details. It is highly recommended that one should seek advice from a criminal defense attorney licensed in your jurisdiction by setting up a confidential meeting. Moreover, this response does not constitute the creation of an attorney-client relationship since this message is not a confidential communication because it was posted on a public website, thereby publicly disclosing the information, which is another reason to setup a confidential meeting with an attorney.

  6. Public Defenders are actually lawyers, licensed by the State Bar just like any other lawyer. Many of them are excellent attorneys. The determining factor as to whether or not you are appointed a public defender is your financial situation, not how good a lawyer the public defender is. Some courts are stricter than others in evaluating your financial circumstances to determine whether or not you qualify for the appointment of a public defender. If you can afford an attorney, you should retain one in advance of the hearing. The sooner an attorney gets involved, the more expeditiously the matter will be handled. Requesting the public defender when you actually have an income and the means to retain an attorney is akin to applying for welfare when you actually have a job. The public defender is not there for you to "test" whether they are good enough to represent you or not, and then decide whether you want to spend your money on a lawyer. The public defender is there to represent the indigent. My advice is, if you have the means to do so, retain an attorney. If this is a misdemeanor, the attorney can appear on your behalf and you may not have to attend the first hearing and possibly the whole matter may be handled without you ever having to appear in court. This will save you from spending an entire morning, if not an entire day, in court waiting to meet with a public defender, if one is appointed at all. Good Luck.

  7. You can absolutely use the PD for your first appearance or you can ask the court for time to retain a private attorney. If we can help give us a ring.

    Brian Michaels
    Los Angeles Criminal Defense Attorney

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