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HOW TO APPLY FOR A PUBLIC DEFENDER

From Jail

When a person is first arrested, the court must hold a hearing within 72 hours to confirm that there was "probable cause" for the arrest.  At that time the public defender has a staffer on hand and if the arrestee tells the court a lawyer is needed and cannot be afforded, the client is referred to the public defender.  Generally people locked up are presumed to qualify for a public defender.  An attorney will be assigned.

If arrested but no jailed.

If a person is charged or arrested but not jailed, an application for legal help has to be filled out.  That affidavit includes financial information and determines whether somebody qualifies for appointed counsel and how much they might be required to pay for their legal representation.  Once the attorney is assigned, the client is contacted by the attorney.

COST

There is a $40 application fee due at the time the person applies.  Other fees and reimbursement to the PD office will be due during or after the case processing.