How Do I Get a Public Defender?

The Public Defender is appointed by a judge for people who cannot afford to hire a private attorney.

  • At your first court appearance, the court will have you fill out an Affidavit of Assets and Liabilities to see if you are financially able to hire a private attorney.
  • It is up to the judge to determine whether or not the Public Defender will be appointed.
  • If you are in custody, the Public Defender is usually appointed unless private counsel has already been hired.
  • If you have retained a private attorney but are unable to afford his or her continued representation, inform the court as soon as possible that you would like a Public Defender.

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