Public defenders are government-appointed attorneys and lawyers who represent people who can't afford to pay for legal services. According to the U.S. Constitution, the state guarantees citizens the right to legal representation. Taxpayer money pays for public defenders, and they work to defend people in criminal cases. When the state charges someone with a serious crime such as a felony, yet they do have the financial resources to hire an attorney, the court will appoint a public defender to do so. Public defenders represent indigent defendants during all phases of criminal proceedings, including arraignments, trials and post-conviction appeals.
Am I entitled to get a DUI lawyer free of charge?
In most circumstances, you are entitled to free legal aid for DUI offenses because they are felonies. When you are assigned public defender, that attorney is paid to defend you to the best of his or her ability.
How do I find a Public Defender to represent me in court?
In order to receive the services of a public defender, you must tell the judge or court clerk that you can't afford to hire an attorney. After investigating your financial status, the court should then appoint a public defender to represent you.
How do I know if the offense I committed constitutes a misdemeanor or a felony?
Misdemeanors are light crimes while felonies are serious ones. Although the rules vary in different jurisdictions, a felony is typically any crime for which you could be sentenced to one year or more in prison, if convicted. Public defenders are usually assigned to represent people charged with felonies, not misdemeanors.