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Court Appointed Lawyer

Denton, TX |

How do we get a court appointed lawyer for a family member? He is currently in jail, but we cannot afford to post bail or hire an attorney. He is very trusting of others, and much like the rest of us, doesn't know much about the legal system and his right to have someone represent him. We've spoken to him once since he was taken in, and he knew nothing of having a lawyer assigned to him. How can we make sure he gets someone to help him ASAP, especially before he starts getting questioned more and is too intimidated to say no to anyone that may approach him trying to get more information?

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Attorney answers 4


I assume that he has the mental capacity to deal with his own case, right? Tell him not to talk to anyone but a lawyer after that lawyer has given him a business card showing that he is a lawyer.

You do not say how long he has been in custody. Generally not long after being taken into custody, a person is taken before the judge and the judge inquires whether the person is going to hire a lawyer or is indigent and needs to have a lawyer appointed. Your family member can write a letter to the judge advising the judge that he is in custody, will not be able to make bond, and needs to have a lawyer appointed to represent him.

As an aside, even if you are not going to make his bond, you might try to talk to a couple of local lawyers about representing him. You might find that you are able to afford to hire a lawyer for him - most lawyers have free consultations and many lawyers take payments.

Rick Hagen is in Denton. You would not be able to afford him - he has been around a long time and is a fabulous lawyer. But, he may have an associate or he may be able to refer you to a newer lawyer whose fees would be lower.



While he is not mentally incapable of dealing with his own case, he is not as mature as his age would suggest, and can be very naive, especially when it comes to dealing with authority. I told him not to talk to anyone until he has been assigned a lawyer, but I didn't know how that worked. He has been in custody for 4 days now and stated that while he did see a judge, no one asked him if he would need a court appointed lawyer (while we only have his word to go on, I do believe he was telling the truth). I was also considering talking to some local lawyers (as the charges against him appear to be serious), and as you've also suggested doing the same I'll probably do so tomorrow. I also appreciate the suggestion on whom to talk to, so thank-you for that. As my own aside, in coming across this site just this evening, I was doing some poking around and your name came up several times. Although you are located in Houston, I even considered contacting you for some advice based on what others had to say about you. So it made me very happy when I saw that someone had answered my question so quickly, and that it happened to be you. True to what others had to say, you have already been very helpful. Any other advice you could give would be highly regarded, thank-you.

Cynthia Russell Henley

Cynthia Russell Henley


Thank you. You are very kind. I sent Rick an e-mail telling him to expect you to contact him & asking if he cannot help to send you to someone who can. I hope you can get it all worked out. Cynthia


You should tell him not to discuss his case with anyone. This includes family members. Conversations are recorded at most jails. Find out the court his case is assigned to and write to the judge on his behalf or have write requesting a court appointed attorney.

This is intended as only general legal advice. Feel to visit my website, for my blog on crime and punishment in Texas You may also email me through my site.


In addition to what Ms. Henley and Mr. Jones noted above, he needs to request a court appointed attorney immediately. If he has not been indicted yet (assuming the charge is a felony) the court might be delaying on handling his matter but he has a right to counsel. If the attorney that Ms. Henley mentioned cannot help you, feel free to contact me. I am in Dallas but have many cases in Denton and I would be happy to discuss your situation.

Good luck

Although my intent in answering this question is to aid you in the legal process, my answer does not establish an attorney-client relationship in any way. You should seek the advice and counsel of a qualified attorney in your community to evaluate your legal needs and to advise you. No Attorney-Client Relationship is created without the specific intent of both parties.


He will be taken before a magistrate (judge) very quickly and he can request a court appointed attorney at that time. The judge will ask him to complete a financial worksheet and, if he is deemed indigent, the judge will appoint him an attorney at that time. If he judge does not appoint him an attorney, make sure you contact an attorney for a consult as he or she may be able to lower his bond.

He should never answer any questions about the offense unless his attorney is present.

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