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Houston DWI Lawyer > Blog > Criminal > What If I’ve Been Arrested And Can’t Afford A Lawyer?

What If I’ve Been Arrested And Can’t Afford A Lawyer?


If you are unable to afford a lawyer and you are charged with a criminal offense in the state of Texas, you may be assigned a court-appointed lawyer. People without resources are deemed indigent, meaning they can’t afford an attorney, and they qualify for public defense so their rights can be protected.

But it is important to recognize that there are differences between private attorneys and public defenders. Because while private practice attorneys and lawyers who work as public defenders are both required to complete their law education and pass the state bar exam, a public defender is a government employee who often manages a large caseload. A private Houston criminal lawyer builds their own client base, which typically means they have more time to spend with each case.

Requesting a Texas Public Defender

A person’s indigency will be reviewed should they make a request for a public defender. Essentially, your assets and income will be assessed, including where your income lands on the federal poverty line and how many people live in your household. If it is determined that you are not able to financially afford legal counsel, a public defender will be assigned to your case.

Asking for a public defender does not mean you will be appointed one, and if you are, the relationship you build with the lawyer will typically not be as extensive as the one you would build with a private attorney. Even the best public defenders do not enjoy the same time scheduling abilities as most private defense lawyers. You may have difficulty reaching your public defender, or find that when you do, you are only able to speak to them for a few moments. This is because they are busy with a wide range of cases.

Opting for a Private Attorney Means You Can Choose Your Lawyer

You also need to recognize that a court-appointed lawyer is assigned to your case. The person assigned is then your lawyer, there is not the possibility of talking to a couple of legal professionals and then deciding who should provide you with legal counsel.

Having a successful attorney-client relationship often relies on trusting one another and sharing information throughout the process. When you select a private attorney, you can choose the lawyer who has had successful outcomes for clients in cases similar to your own.

Whether you have assets to protect yourself when facing criminal charges or have a family member who is willing to provide resources for your defense, hiring a Houston criminal lawyer could be the best path to protect yourself from harsh penalties.

Do you want to speak to a private attorney about how they can strategize and build a defense? Criminal charges need to be taken seriously. When you connect with the right lawyer, it may be possible to protect you from freedom loss and large monetary fines. To have your arrest reviewed by a Texas law professional, reach out to the legal team at Ayson Law Firm. Contact us today for a free consultation.

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