Can I get a public defender for an MIP in California? 8 Answers as of June 11, 2013

I recently got issued an MIP for possession of alcohol. I have been doing research on the consequences, and I read that I can get my driver's license suspended for one year. I am looking to avoid that punishment and do community service or attend alcohol classes instead. Because of this, I know I will need a lawyer to help me fight the misdemeanor in court; since I cannot afford one, do I automatically get appointed a public defender? If not, can I still request a public defender?

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Law Offices of Phil Hache
Law Offices of Phil Hache | Phil Hache
Whether or not you can get a public defender will depend your financial status. If you are indigent, and you qualify (financially), then yes. Keep in mind that sometimes people still have to pay fees for the use of public defender services. Also, people often get frustrated with public defenders because they often do not spend a lot of time with clients discussing their case. Keep in mind that public defenders have a very large case load and it is not personal. They only have so much time in a day, and often do not have the time to spend talking with people about their cases for the amount of time they would like. Good luck in your case.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 4/29/2011
Alanna D. Coopersmith, Attorney at Law
Alanna D. Coopersmith, Attorney at Law | Alanna D. Coopersmith
If it has been charged as a misdemeanor, you are entitled to a lawyer and a public defender will be appointed if you can't afford one. If it is charged as an infraction, you are not entitled to a lawyer and a public defender will not be appointed.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 4/27/2011
Law Office of Eric Sterkenburg
Law Office of Eric Sterkenburg | Eric Sterkenburg
Yes you can request a public defender at your first court appearance.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 4/27/2011
Robert Mortland
Robert Mortland | Law Office of Robert Mortland
You can request a public defender at your arraignment date.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 4/27/2011
Nelson & Lawless
Nelson & Lawless | Terry Nelson
Yes, if you qualify financially. Ask the judge at your first court appearance.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 4/27/2011
    Law Office of Peter F. Goldscheider
    Law Office of Peter F. Goldscheider | Peter Goldscheider
    MIP is a misdemeanor so if you cannot afford an attorney you can be appointed one.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 4/27/2011
    Law Office of Jeff Yeh
    Law Office of Jeff Yeh | Jeff Yeh
    No, you must fill out an income statement and asset declaration. Upon review, the Judge will decide whether to appoint a PD for you. However, PD's are not recommended in cases that also involve the DMV, because a PD cannot and will not represent you with the DMV.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 4/26/2011
    Dennis Roberts, a P.C.
    Dennis Roberts, a P.C. | Dennis Roberts
    Yes.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 6/11/2013
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