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 appointment date to apply for a Public Defender (usually this appointment is scheduled the next Wednesday following your arraignment hearing). This appointment will be located at front window of the Municipal Court Clerk’s Office. At the appointment, you will be required to complete an Indigent Screening Form provided by the court to determine whether you qualify 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 with an Appointment to appear and apply for Public Defender.
Step 2: At your Appointment, the Court Clerk will require you to complete an Indigent Screening Form. Upon completing this Form, 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. 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!