Can I Just Use a Court Appointed Attorney?Written on October 28, 2015
If you are a fan of television police dramas like “Law & Order” or “NYPD Blue” you have heard the Miranda warning read to countless suspects. You have heard all about the right to remain silent and the right to have an attorney. There’s also that important line that says “If you can’t afford an attorney, one will be appointed for you”.
On television, the court appointed attorney usually comes into the police interrogation room and dramatically halts the questioning at a pivotal moment. It doesn’t, however, work like that in real life.
In most counties, the Circuit Defender’s Office is responsible for appointing attorneys to people that can’t afford one. In order to have a lawyer appointed to you, there are a number of steps that are followed. It’s much more in depth than simply making a phone call.
According to the Cobb County Circuit Defender’s web site, the office is responsible for:
- To maintain an indigent defense program as required by state law, and as specified by the Georgia Public Defender Standards Council for those persons who are not able to afford legal representation in criminal cases in Cobb County.
- To determine eligibility of those individuals requesting a court appointed attorney with the use of an application which includes a financial statement of the defendant. Appointing attorneys to those individuals that qualify as set forth in the Georgia Public Defender Standards Council’s guidelines.
- Maintain a list of qualified attorneys to serve on the panel.
- Provide support services to the various courts and panel attorneys involved in appointed criminal cases.
If you, or a loved one, are arrested and want a court appointed lawyer, the application and interview process can take several weeks. It could be as long as a month before you even talk to a lawyer. That can seem like an eternity when criminal charges are hanging over your head. It can also be difficult to contact your court appointed attorney, especially if you are locked up, to get updates on your case or share details with them about the case. You may only see them once before your court date, so it’s very important not to forget anything!
The attorneys that serve in a court appointed capacity are qualified court officers. That being said, each attorney has a tremendous caseload to keep up with. The Silverbach Group recommends calling us to discuss your legal needs and how we can help you.
Instead of placing your freedom in the hands of an overwhelmed court appointed attorney, we highly recommend hiring one of our qualified and experienced lawyers that will give your case the attention it deserves. You can reach us at 770-635-0334.