Your first opportunity to ask the court to appoint a lawyer for you will be at your first court appearance, normally called an arraignment. At that time, a judge will ask you whether you are represented by an attorney or need a public attorney appointed to your case. Many public defenders are very good and aggressive attorneys. The only disadvantage to having a public attorney is that he/she only starts working for you after the arraignment. A private attorney begins working on your case and legal strategy as soon as you retain them.
Each county is also different in regard to getting a public defender. If you are judged to be indigent facing serious charges with potential jail time, then you are likely eligible to receive a public defender. If you don’t qualify as an indigent, you may obtain the services of a court-appointed attorney. Most counties provide for “partial indigency,” meaning at the conclusion of your case you will be liable for reimbursing the state or county for a portion of the costs associated with your representation.
Delicino & Vialtsin, LLP answer general legal questions emailed to us on this blog. Feel free to send us YOUR question by email. Please do not email us confidential or time sensitive information, but call 619-357-6677 The answer suggested here is for general information ONLY and not to be construed as a legal advice. Further, the Q & A does not establish an attorney-client relationship with Delicino & Vialtsin, LLP. Anton Vialtsin Google+