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Hiring a lawyer

Who can help me before I find my own lawyer?

When you're with the police

If you're being questioned by the police, held in custodyBeing held in custody means that you're not free to go. You might be held in custody by the police. For example, you're in police custody if the police arrest you and are taking you to the police station. Or, the court might order that you be held in custody. This might happen if you're found guilty and sentenced to stay in a youth custody facility, which is often called jail.X , or at the police station, you can ask the police to call the Duty counsel hotline.

When you're at court

Duty counsel lawyers help people who don't have their own lawyer. They can help you if you don't have a lawyer at your first court date.

Make sure to arrive at court at least 30 minutes early and find the duty counsel office. Bring any papers from the police or the court that relate to your case.

You might have to sign up on a list and wait to talk to the duty counsel lawyer.

Have a list of questions ready when you see the duty counsel lawyer. They may not have a lot of time to spend with you as there will be many other people who also want to meet with them.

If it's almost time for you to be in court, make sure to tell the court staff if you're waiting to speak to duty counsel.

Before you go into the courtroom

A duty counsel lawyer can:

When you're in the courtroom

A duty counsel lawyer can:

What a duty counsel lawyer can't do

A duty counsel lawyer can't represent you if you go to trial. And they can't meet with you outside of the courthouse and spend time with you the way your own lawyer can.

(Reviewed August 2015)