Affording a Tampa Criminal Attorney

Hiring a Tampa criminal lawyer normally cost a fortune especially
the private criminal lawyers. In case that you can’t afford to hire a
private one, there is an option of requesting a court appointed
attorney. But you must prove that you are eligible to be provided by
an attorney to defend you.

For most people
affording a Tampa criminal attorney is an expensive venture, usually
because criminal cases are lengthy and require many hours of work on
the part of the attorney. If you cannot afford a private criminal
attorney then you may have the right to a court-appointed attorney
which is paid for by the state. It is every citizens right within
the United States to have free legal counsel, however the
requirements to qualify for this will vary from state to state.

If you find that
you cannot afford to hire a private Tampa criminal attorney and do
not wish to go down the route of representing yourself, then you can
request a court appointed attorney at the pre-trial hearing. You may
be asked to fill in a questionnaire and provide details about your
financial affairs in order for the court to determine if you are
eligible under state law. If you are eligible, then an attorney will
be appointed to you there and then. At each stage of the trial the
judge will inform the court that the defendant has free legal
counsel, what the cost is and that the state is paying the bill.

In some states the
appointment of a court appointed attorney could be delayed until you
have been cleared as eligible. Once an attorney has been appointed
to you, you cannot change legal counsel unless you are able to afford
a private criminal attorney at a later date. You may be able to
request a change of counsel by the judge if you can prove that the
court appointed attorney is not working within your best interests or
has committed serious malpractice. Even then the judge may still
decline your request. If you can come to an agreement with your
legal counsel, then they may request to be relieved of your case and
someone else appointed.

Aside from the
financial aspects of your circumstances, your application for a court
appointed attorney may be turned down on the basis that the charges
you are facing are only minor and that as you are employed you will
be able to afford private representation. Simply because a case is
lengthy and complex does not always mean you will be eligible either,
and in some instances the judge may rule that you are not eligible
for free state paid representation, but instead are eligible for
partial indigency where the state will meet only part of the cost of
legal representation and at the conclusion of the case you will be
asked to pay back part of this cost.

Before you begin
making enquiries with a Tampa criminal attorney is can be worthwhile
familiarizing yourself with the ways in which attorneys calculate
their fees. Some will charge an hourly rate for billable hours and
others will charge a fixed fee for which an upfront retainer must be
paid. It is often possible to negotiate on fees, but you should be
aware that criminal cases are lengthy and complex and as such your
attorney will need to put in a lot of hours preparing your case.