If you've been charged with a crime, you're entering the world of the criminal justice system. In this world, an experienced attorney is critical to help manage your case and obtain the best possible outcome. Many defendants will be able to get a public defender to represent them at no cost, but others may not qualify financially or prefer to hire a private attorney. In this section we'll explain who can get free legal representation, and who must (or should) hire their own criminal defense attorney. You'll also find information on finding an attorney, what you should expect from your attorney, and how to manage your lawyer.