When You Don`t Qualify for Legal Aid

To find free legal aid in your area, check out FindLaw`s legal aid resources for all 50 states and the District of Columbia. There are specialized legal aid organizations and programs for communities such as veterans, survivors of sexual assault, seniors and people with disabilities. To be eligible for these services, you must meet these requirements. And even if you qualify for free legal aid, you may have a hard time finding a free legal aid agency that can handle your case – especially if the agency has limited staff and resources, or if your legal problem is not part of what the agency covers. Some legal aid organizations and clinics offer free legal assistance to individuals and non-profit or not-for-profit organizations seeking to improve the economic, cultural, social or environmental well-being of disadvantaged or underserved communities. Community problems can include neighbourhood deterioration, inadequate housing and homelessness, unemployment, substance abuse, racial discord and crime. Check with your state`s individual Community law programmes for specific admission and admission requirements. If the other party to your dispute lives with you, do not count their income as part of the household income and do not count it as part of the household. Another alternative to legal aid is to take out prepaid legal expenses insurance.

Like a health plan, these insurances provide you with basic legal support and advice. Prepaid legal membership can range from $25 to about $50 per month. In addition, some companies pay statutory insurance premiums on behalf of employees as part of their benefit plan. Through a “provider” that deals with plan members, you can access quick answers to most legal questions. What is a legal service/legal aid office? Legal aid firms, also known as legal aid offices, employ lawyers hired to provide legal assistance to poor clients. Lawyers are usually experts in the types of problems that poor clients most often face. Check out our link to the directory of Legal Services Corporation legal aid programs in your state. Many agencies provide free legal advice to immigrants and other non-citizens who need help with issues such as visa applications, green cards, deportation procedures, and work permits. Conditions for participation vary from program to program. If you currently receive financial assistance through other public assistance programs such as SSI/SSP, Food Stamps Program, County Relief, Older Americans Act, and Developmentally Disabled Assistance Act, you may be eligible for additional free legal services in your state. What should I do if I don`t get free legal aid? If you can`t find help from a legal or pro bono aid program, some alternatives include contacting a legal placement service (some may be able to refer you to a low-fee lawyer) or hiring a lawyer to do only some of the legal work and other parts yourself (this is called “unbundled” legal services).

You can also try to get legal information and try to solve the legal problem yourself. Please visit our section on other free resources for more information. Private lawyers, legal aid clinics and advocacy groups with lawyers often handle cases that fall within their particular area of interest. For example, you might be able to get free help from a lawyer for a wage discrimination lawsuit against an employer if it has the potential to become a larger class action lawsuit. Created by FindLaw`s team of writers and legal writers| Last updated June 20, 2016 Lone Star Legal Aid is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit law firm focused on advocating for low-income and underserved populations. Lone Star Legal Aid serves millions of people in 125% of federal poverty guidelines, living in 72 counties in the eastern and Gulf Coast regions of Texas and 4 counties in southwestern Arkansas. Lone Star Legal Aid focuses its resources on maintaining, enhancing and protecting income and economic stability; housing preservation; improve outcomes for children; create and maintain family security and stability, health and well-being; and support for vulnerable groups, such as people with disabilities or the elderly, the homeless or limited English skills. To learn more about Lone Star Legal Aid, visit our website in www.lonestarlegal.org. Who is entitled to independent counsel? The Constitution guarantees free legal aid to persons accused of a crime punishable by imprisonment and who cannot afford a lawyer. If you find yourself in this situation, ask for the appointment of a public defender at your first court appearance.

When a court decides that someone is “destitute” — with little wealth and no funds to pay for a lawyer — usually either a private attorney is appointed by the court and paid with district funds, or a public defense attorney program is appointed to represent the person. Some public defense programs are allowed to charge customers an “application fee,” though this is usually a small amount. If your income is currently below the national average for the number of people in your household, you may be eligible for free legal aid. Most legal aid clinics and pro bono lawyers (private lawyers who offer free legal aid) serve people whose household income is less than 125% of the government-recognized poverty line. The exceptions are Alaska and Hawaii, which have higher income thresholds. Student legal assistance is available at Ontario`s seven law schools. Legal services are provided by volunteer law students who are under the supervision of a full-time lawyer. Services are available to financially eligible full-time students and low-income residents.

In some cases, you may be eligible for free legal aid if you can prove to a judge that you are eligible for “poor” representation. In the case of indigent representation, you may have to reimburse the court for part of the cost of the legal services provided to you. The specific qualifications of lawyers provided by the courts vary considerably from state to state and sometimes between different courts in the state. If you are in court, for family law, mental health, landlord and tenant, or a criminal matter, and you do not have a lawyer, courthouse lawyers called duty counsel may be able to help you. In some cases, you may need to be financially eligible before you can get help. Duty counsel provides information, advice and representation at bail hearings and convictions. A duty lawyer is also available for minors (under the age of 18) who have been charged with an offence. If you want duty counsel to help, you should check with the courthouse to see if duty counsel is available to assist you. Community legal clinics have lawyers and lawyers trained to advise and represent you. The clinics cover housing, social assistance, pensions, worker security and insurance, employment insurance, workers` rights, and landlord and tenant issues. They must pass a financial test to make sure you are eligible for their services. If you are a victim of domestic violence or fear for your safety, you may be eligible for free legal aid from agencies that can help you gather evidence of abuse, including seeking injunctions.

For immediate help wherever you are, contact the National Domestic Violence Helpline at 1-800-799-SAFE (7233). If you do not qualify for legal aid, you may be able to get help from a number of other regions. Non-Texas residents can search the National Directory of Legal Aid Organizations or the American Bar Association`s Legal Referral Service for legal assistance. Who is still eligible for independent counsel? In non-criminal or “civil” cases, you are not entitled to a free lawyer. But there are many legal and pro bono aid programs that provide free legal aid to the poor in civil matters.