Last updated: November 15, 2013
Representing yourself against an experienced lawyer is a losing proposition. But hiring a lawyer of your own is not always possible. For individuals in vulnerable position or earning an income less than 125% of the federal poverty threshold, free representation from one of Poughkeepsie’s Legal Aid groups is an excellent way to even the odds. Look for a lawyer who specializes in your particular legal issue and you speak comfortable speaking with. To make your search easier, FindLaw has compiled this list of reputable Legal Aid groups in Poughkeepsie.
Good to know: Legal Service of Hudson Valley offers free legal representation to low-income residents and vulnerable individuals. They have eight branches in the lower Hudson Valley, including one in Poughkeepsie. They provide representation in wide variety of civil matters, including children’s advocacy, disability advocacy, elder law, domestic violence protection, public benefits law, social security or disability claims, landlord-tenant issues and representation for veterans and their families.
Good to know: The Legal Aid Society is literally the largest legal aid group in the nation. They are fairly unique among legal aid groups because they practice civil, criminal and juvenile law. On the civil side, they can help you with housing, benefits, disability, domestic violence, family law, heath law, employment issues, immigration, HIV/AIDS, prisoner’s rights and elder law. The major downside is that all of the Legal Aid Society’s branches are located in New York City.
Good to know: The New York Legal Assistance Group provides legal representation to low-income or otherwise vulnerable individuals for all sorts of civil matters, such as anti-discrimination, consumer protection, elder law, employment law, public benefits, foreclosure, landlord-tenant issues, immigration, family law and social security disability. Their hotline shuts down at 3 p.m. so be sure to call them early. Like the Legal Aid Society, all the Assistance Group’s office are located in New York City.
Good to know: The Public Defender provides legal representation individuals who have been charged with a crime and who have been determined to be indigent. To qualify for their services you need an ID, proof of income and your court documents. Most legal aid groups don’t practice criminal defense because of the availability of the Public Defender’s Office, so if you’ve been charged with a crime this is your best option.
Good to know: Despite their affiliation with the Catholic Church, Catholic Charities Community Services provide legal representation to individuals of all religious creeds on immigration matters. Call their hotline 1-800-566-7336 for immediate assistance. Catholic Charities is also a shelter and kitchen for homeless individuals and recent immigrants.
Good to know: The Grace Smith House specializes in providing safe housing for victims of domestic violence and their children. They also provide advocacy to guide you to through the police and court system, and will search for employment and housing to help you become self-sufficient. Moreover, they provide free legal representation in Family Court for divorce or child custody matters. If you are the victim of domestic violence, call their 24-hour hotline 1-845-471-3033 right away to escape your abuser.
Good to know: House of Hope operates a domestic violence shelter and the domestic violence hotline listed above. They can also provide job skills training and legal support in civil issues including temporary custody orders, divorce and child/spousal support, custody and visitation and protective orders.