Free Legal Aid
Are you entitled to Free Legal Aid?
The question of whether you are entitled to a Free Legal Aid Solicitor is an important issue to clarify. Stephen O'Mahony Solicitors has an extensive practice as a Legal Aid Solicitor in Dublin. We will answer any questions you may have as set out below:
Who can apply?
Anyone who is charged with a criminal matter is entitled to apply for Free Legal Aid.
What are the criteria for qualifying?
The two criteria are firstly your means and secondly the seriousness of the charge. In relation to your means Free Legal Aid is granted on the basis of a defendants means which means their income and outgoing expenses, family circumstances and any other relevant details such as debts are taken in to account. In general terms if you are in receipt of Social Welfare or are earning a minimum wage then you should qualify for Free Legal Aid based on the means part of the test. Secondly, charges of a very minor nature may not qualify for Legal Aid for example some Road Traffic Offences. Please note that you may be unaware of what is a minor offence and we advise that you contact Stephen O'Mahony Solicitors to see if you will qualify for Free Legal Aid.
How do I apply?
Following your instructions to Stephen O'Mahony Solicitors we will advise you fully with regard to your possible entitlement to Free Legal Aid and we will assist you in completing a Statement of Means which will detail your means for the Court. On your first court appearance an application will be made on your behalf and the Statement of Means will be handed in to the presiding Judge who will then consider the Legal Aid application.
What Solicitor can I choose?
Once a Solicitor is on the Criminal Legal Aid panel you are entitled to choose that Solicitor. Stephen O'Mahony Solicitors are available on the Dublin Legal Aid Solicitor panel along with most courts nationwide.
What Legal Service does Legal Aid cover?
If you are granted Legal Aid, your legal costs in relation to the preparation and appearances in court will be covered. If a Barrister is required then this cost will be covered as well. If there is a need to hire experts e.g. forensic scientists then their fees will be covered as well, if sanctioned by the court.
Is there Legal Aid for legal advice in a Garda Station?
You may be entitled to Legal Aid to cover the costs of your Solicitor attending for any Garda Station attendance. If you are in receipt of Social Welfare or you earn less than €20,316 gross it is likely that you will qualify for Legal Aid. Please note that Legal Aid is means tested so your ownership of assets may also be taken in to account.