Public defenders are only appointed by a judge, in court, after a determination is made that you qualify for such an attorney. At your initial court date called an arraignment hearing, you will have the opportunity to request a Public Defender. If you request a Public Defender at your arraignment, then the Judge/Court will provide you with a separate mandatory court appointed to apply for a Public Defender (usually, this mandatory court appointment is scheduled the next Wednesday following your arraignment hearing). This mandatory court appointment will be located at front window of the Municipal Court Clerk’s Office. At the mandatory court appointment, the defendant will be required to complete an Indigent Screening Form provided by the court to determine whether he/she qualifies for a Public Defender. The defendants must bring documentation their income.
The following illustrates the process:
Step 1: At your Arraignment, request a Public Defender to assist you on your criminal case. The Judge/Court will provide you will a Mandatory Court Appointment to appear and apply for Public Defender. IMPORTANT NOTE: IF YOU DO NOT APPEAR AT THIS APPOINTMENT, A WARRANT WILL BE ISSUED FOR YOUR ARREST!
Step 2: At your Mandatory Court Appointment, the Court Clerk will require you to complete a Indigent Screening Form (hyper link). Upon completing this Application, the Court Clerk will notify you whether you qualified for a Public Defender.
Step 3: If you qualify for a Public Defender, the Court Clerk will provide you with an information sheet called the Appointment of Counsel (hyper link). The Appointment of Counsel provides the name and contact information of your Public Defender. More importantly, it provides your next mandatory court hearing. IMPORTANT NOTE: IF YOU DO NOT APPEAR AT THIS HEARING, A WARRANT WILL BE ISSUED FOR YOUR ARREST!