Criminal Law Questions? Ask a Criminal Lawyer.
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There is no deadline to obtain an attorney. If you can not afford an attorney, you can ask to be appointed the public defender, which can be done at your next court appearance. If it is determined you do not qualify and have to retain a private one, you should try and do it by the next court date and if you can not, ask the Judge for more time to hire one and a continuance in the matter. If the Judge thinks you are just trying to delay the process, he/she may require you to proceed on your own but as long as you make a good faith effort to obtain one, the court should not have a problem giving you more time, if needed.