If you can't find a lawyer or attorney on our site or elsewhere on the Internet, you can always ask for a court-appointed attorney at your arraignment. You must satisfy the judge that you are too indignent (poor) to hire an attorney. If you can't afford to bond out of jail, then obviously you can't afford a lawyer. If you can afford to make bond, it is harder to convince the judge that you are too poor to hire an attorney. If you are supported by your parents while going to college but have no money yourself, it is difficult to convince the judge that you need an appointed attorney.
An appointed attorney is ethically bound to do his or her best to represent you as well as a hired attorney would. Some cities have a public defender officer that represents you in these cases. In cities that don't, a private attorney will be appointed.
Plea bargaining: During the time between your arraignment and trial, your attorney will attempt to bargain with the prosecuting attorneys to get you the best deal possible. If an acceptable bargain is reached, you will plead guilty in exchange for a specific punishment probation or deferred adjudication promised by the prosecuting attorney. This can work out best for everyone. You save money in attorney's fees by not going to trial, and you aren't gambling with what the punishment will be.
Trial: If no plea bargain is reached, or you want to go to trial, then a trial date is set. It will usually be several months, sometimes a year, before the trial. The more serious the crime, the longer it takes to get to trial, as a general rule. You can change your mind and plead guilty at any time.
If you go to trial, you should be represented by an attorney. Technically, you can represent yourself in any court, but it is not wise to do so.
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