Filing a Rowbotham Application to Obtain a Calgary Defence Lawyer

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Want to know more about Rowbotham Applications and your defence? Here's info straight from a Calgary defence lawyer.

Finding yourself facing a criminal charge in Calgary can be a scary thing. If you don't have the funds available for an experienced defence lawyer, it can be even scarier. Fortunately, many in Calgary who are facing a serious criminal charge but are unable to pay for their own defence lawyer can obtain a government-funded lawyer by filing what is known as a Rowbotham Application with the court. Based on this application, the judge in your case may grant you a lawyer at a reduced out-of-pocket cost or even no cost at all.

Here's how you go about filing your Rowbotham Application to receive financial assistance for your defence against criminal charges in the Calgary courts.

1. Apply for—and Be Denied—Calgary Legal Aid
The first step towards a successful Rowbotham Application is applying for assistance through the Calgary office of Legal Aid Alberta. If you are below the income eligibility threshold and are facing a serious charge—one where a conviction will likely lead to jail time—you may qualify for assistance paying for your defence lawyer through this program. If you can receive help from Legal Aid, you won't need to file a Rowbotham Application and can still work with the Calgary defence lawyer of your choice, even if you are unable to pay them at the time of your case.

2. Demonstrate Financial Need and an Inability to Pay Your Calgary Defence Lawyer
As with Legal Aid, you will need to demonstrate that you are not in a position to pay for your own defence lawyer in order to receive assistance through a Rowbotham Application. The Calgary judge hearing your case will review your application and the income and asset/debt information you provide in order to determine your ability to pay. You may qualify for assistance via a Rowbotham Application even if your income exceeds the limits set for Legal Aid.

3. You Must Be Facing a Serious Charge in the Calgary Courts
Because government resources are limited, assistance in paying for your Calgary defence lawyer is only provided in cases where you are likely to go to jail if you are convicted. If the Crown prosecutor is only seeking a fine, community service, and/or other penalties that do not involve imprisonment, it is very unlikely that you will be provided with assistance either from Legal Aid Alberta or from the Calgary courts via a Rowbotham Application.

4. Your Calgary Court Case Must be Too Complex for You to Defend Yourself
The final determination the judge in your case will make after reviewing your Rowbotham Application is the complexity of the charge you are facing. Most charges that are serious enough to warrant a jail sentence upon conviction are also complex enough that you shouldn't try to represent yourself, so the complexity of your case is unlikely to prevent a successful Rowbotham Application. Every case is unique, however, and the Calgary judge overseeing your case will look at all of the facts of your situation to determine whether you should receive assistance.

Contact a Dedicated Calgary Defence Lawyer Today

If you still have questions regarding a Rowbotham Application for a serious charge currently ending against you, please don't hesitate to contact my office today for a free consultation with one of Calgary's most dedicated defence lawyers.

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