How did I get a Public Defender assigned to my case?

Following your first appearance/arraignment on one or more criminal charges, the court will make a determination of whether you are indigent and can afford counsel. This simply means the Judge inquires whether you have funds to hire your own attorney. The United States Constitution guarantees that every person who is financially unable to hire her or his own attorney in a criminal proceeding must be provided with a competent attorney at the government's expense.

Other Responsibilities

In the 15th Judicial Circuit Court, Lee County, the attorneys employed by the Office of the Public Defender represent a substantial percentage of persons who are determined to be indigent. The court also appoints attorneys engaged in the private practice of law to represent persons charged with crimes who cannot afford to hire their own lawyer when the Public Defender has a conflict of interest. Such attorneys are not Public Defenders and are not employed by the Public Defender's Office.

Show All Answers

1. What do Public Defender’s handle?
2. How did I get a Public Defender assigned to my case?
3. What if I am able to hire my own attorney?
4. What else happens at my first appearance/arraignment?
5. What about bond and bond reductions?
6. What if I am on probation or parole?
7. When do I get to speak with my attorney?
8. What is a pre-trial conference?
9. Will I get to see the police reports and witness statements?
10. What can I do to help my lawyer help me?
11. What about courtroom security?
12. What about courtroom dress and times?
13. Are Public Defender's real attorneys?