How can I qualify for Legal Aid?

Question Details: I am facing a criminal charge (drink driving) and I cannot afford to pay for lawyers. How can I qualify for Legal Aid in New Zealand? Under what circumstances, do I need to repay the Legal Aid fee that I received for my case?

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Answers by Lawyers

Community Law Wellington & Hutt Valley

In your situation you are unlikely to qualify for legal aid, unless you have been convicted of drink driving at least twice before.

Legal aid is available for criminal cases only if there is a possibility of being sentenced to six months or more in prison. And you cannot be sent to prison for six months for drink driving unless you have at least two drink driving convictions already.

If you do have two previous drink driving convictions - or if there is some other special reason that you think you should qualify for legal aid - talk to your Community Law Centre or to the Duty Lawyer at Court about getting legal aid, or read more about getting legal aid here: www.justice.govt.nz and here: www.communitylaw.org.nz

You can also talk to your Community Law Centre or the Duty Lawyer at Court about what to do if you do not get legal aid.

Read more about drink driving offences here: www.communitylaw.org.nz.

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