Last updated: October 18, 2013
Are you facing a legal problem, but can’t afford to hire an attorney? There are many free or low-cost legal service options for residents in the Gold Country. The main options are through legal assistance programs, such as the Legal Aid Services of Northern California, a nonprofit organization providing free legal aid to low-income residents and seniors, or through law school clinics. There may be income limits that apply for you to qualify for free/low-cost help. Contact the specific agency to learn more. Below is a list of several organizations available to help you.
Areas of Law: Discrimination, Election and Voting, Freedom Speech, Freedom of Religion, Immigration Rights, LGBT Rights, Privacy, Police Practices, Jail and Prison Conditions, and other issues of fair treatment by government.
Good to Know: The ACLU does not usually assist in the following types of cases: criminal defense or post-conviction appeals, divorce or child custody disputes, property disputes, tax problems, workers compensation issues, consumer complaints, landlord-tenant disputes, building code issues and complaints about lawyers or judges. To apply for services, fill out an intake form.
Areas of Law: Adoption, Bankruptcy, Child Support Collection/Modification, Divorce
Domestic Violence, Driver's License Problems, Eviction, Foreclosure, Garnishment, Guardianship, Landlord Repairs, Medicaid/Medicare/Title 19, Paternity, Public Housing & Section 8, Repossession, Social Security Disability Income & Overpayments, TANF, Food Stamps, Veterans' Benefits, Wills
Good to Know: This agency does not handle criminal cases.
Areas of Law: Criminal, Family Law, Chapter 7 Bankruptcy, Probate
Good to Know: Volunteer attorneys provide civil legal representation to low-income residents of Sacramento, Yolo, San Joaquin, El Dorado and Placer counties only. They do not handle criminal (except expungements), prisoner’s rights or personal injury cases.
Areas of Law: Disability, Domestic Violence, Abuse, Neglect, Public Benefits
Good to Know: This is a statewide service providing to those with physical and mental disabilities. Call to learn intake procedures.
Areas of Law: Domestic Violence, Sexual Assault, Human Trafficking
Good to Know: In addition to providing crisis support, this organization also houses a women's shelter.
Areas of Law: Domestic Violence, Family Law
Good to Know: WEAVE provides free and low-cost legal services for eligible domestic violence victims. They offers a series of legal workshops addressing the most common legal questions and needs including Court Preparation for a Domestic Violence Restraining Order hearing, Divorce Preparation, and the Child Custody process.
Areas of Law: Domestic Violence, Family Law, Guardianship, and Probate
Good to Know: The Self-Help Center provides free legal, procedural assistance to unrepresented persons the areas of Family Support, Domestic Violence, Family Law and Probate. The Self-Help Center also houses a Community Resource Room for anyone in need of referrals to community services. All services are provided free of charge. Attorneys do not provide legal advice or representation, but can provide referrals to local attorneys.
Areas of Law: Domestic Violence, Immigration, Naturalization
Good to Know: This organization provides free/low-cost immigration legal services for low-income individuals.
Areas of Law: Civil, Tax, Tribal Law
Good to Know: This is the oldest organization in the U.S devoted to assisting Native Americans with civil cases. Income limits apply for free services.
Area of Law: Public Benefits Assistance
Good to Know: This is a government agency providing counseling and advocacy services for Medicare beneficiaries in Sacramento County. They also assist children or other representatives of Medicare beneficiaries, persons planning for retirement, and seniors planning to purchase health insurance.
Areas of Law: Civil, Probate, Caregiver Assistance
Good to Know: This is a free legal aid telephone advice service for people over 60 (or caregivers of minors over 55) in Sacramento County.
Area of Law: Small Claims
Good to Know: The clinic is staffed by attorneys and legal interns who provide procedural and legal information and legal advice to Small Claims litigants. They do not provide direct legal representation.
Good to Know: Cases are only accepted certain times of the year or by referral from a judge. Call for consideration.