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Do I Get a Court-Appointed Attorney?

Monday / September 10, 2012

Am I entitled to a free attorney? That question can only be answered if a number of factors are met when an individual is charged with a crime. When individuals are charged with misdemeanor crimes they are only entitled to an attorney if they are facing jail time and meet the court’s financial requirements to qualify for an attorney. While each crime technically could result in jail time, it is only when the prosecutor’s office is seeking a jail sentence that a court will recognize that an individual is facing jail time and consider the appointment of an attorney. Additionally, an individual seeking appointment of an attorney must qualify financially. The financial requirements vary depending on the individual court. There is no bright line rule or requirement that a court is required to follow. Moreover, a court may require that you pay a fee that helps the court cover the cost of a court-appointed attorney.

When individuals are charged with felony offenses, they are entitled to counsel to represent them. Again, those individuals are required to meet strict financial qualifications in order to be entitled to the assistance of an attorney free of charge. In Maricopa County, the office of the public defender, legal defender, and the Office of Public Defense Services handle indigent representation. While these attorneys are certainly qualified and competent attorneys, their caseloads are substantial. If you are facing criminal charges and you would like a little more one-on-one attention, hiring a private attorney might be the best way for you to receive that personal attention. Private attorneys generally can limit their practice so that their caseload is not overwhelming so that they can focus and give attention to the individuals who need it. If you have been charged with a crime state of Arizona and would like a free case evaluation please contact my office at or by calling at 480-331-7568.

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