Every child has a right to have an attorney, or lawyer, to help with their case. When a child cannot pay for an attorney, the court will give that person a public defense attorney. This person is also called a public defender. A public defense attorney is a free lawyer who works for the child. The prosecutor is an attorney as well, so it is important that the child has an attorney to make sure the process is fair.
If an attorney is not given to you or your child at the first court hearing, ask the judge to appoint one. You may have to tell the judge why you cannot pay for an attorney. It is important to have an attorney with you at every hearing. Sometimes you may have to wait for your attorney before your case can be heard in court. Once an attorney is appointed, make sure you have a good number to call him or her.
Attorneys have all gone to law school. They can help you figure out what to do in your case. They know how to write letters, or motions, to the judge, and know how to prepare for a trial. Attorneys can give you advice about what may happen to you and ways that you can resolve your case. The attorney will tell the judge what you want in your case.