Is there a law for the length of time a defendant has to have a public defender appointed to their case? 32 Answers as of April 26, 2011

Defendant's lawyer has recently withdrew from case. The defendant is to make application for public defender services. Is there a time frame for the defendant to apply for these services and a public defender to be appointed?

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Clifford Clendenin & O'Hale, LLP
Clifford Clendenin & O'Hale, LLP | Locke T. Clifford
He needs to apply for a public defender as soon as possible so that the public defender will have plenty of time to prepare. There technically is no deadline for a public defender appointment, but the judge doesn't have to grant a continuance based on the fact that a defendant has asked for a public defender.
Answer Applies to: North Carolina
Replied: 4/26/2011
Austin Legal Services, PLC
Austin Legal Services, PLC | Jared Austin
There is no timeframe as such that I am aware of, but usually they get appointed fairly quickly usually within a few days after the request at the most. They will have to appoint you one before your next court date. If the appointment is so close to your next court date that the attorney doesn't have time to prepare, he can request and will probably be granted an adjournment.
Answer Applies to: Michigan
Replied: 4/22/2011
Law Office of Neal L. Weinstein
Law Office of Neal L. Weinstein | Neal L. Weinstein
Generally the defendant must apply immediately to the Court financial officer for appointment of new counsel. IF the defendant delays, the Judge can order the defendant to go on trial without an attorney
Answer Applies to: Maine
Replied: 4/20/2011
Edward  D. Dowling IV Attorney at Law
Edward D. Dowling IV Attorney at Law | Edward D. Dowling IV
There is generally no time limit but as a practical matter it should be done right away and at the latest at the next court date.
Answer Applies to: New York
Replied: 4/20/2011
Lacy Fields, Attorney at Law, LLC
Lacy Fields, Attorney at Law, LLC | Lacy Fields
No. Oftentimes, a defendant charged with a serious crime is held in jail so long that they lose their job and have no source of income. They become indigent at that time. They can then ask the judge for an application to the PD's office.
Answer Applies to: Missouri
Replied: 4/20/2011
    Nelson & Lawless
    Nelson & Lawless | Terry Nelson
    You can ask anytime. If you qualify, one will be appointed.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 4/19/2011
    Harris Law Firm
    Harris Law Firm | Jennifer C. Robins
    You should apply for court appointed counsel as soon as possible, as many courts to not appreciate delays in cases for lack of an attorney. Once an attorney is appointed by the court, they usually receive notice within two business days. There is no law regarding this, as the actual appointment occurs in court, even though the Defendant might not know their attorney's name for a while. Large public defense groups have many attorneys, so it can take a couple days for the new public defender to be given the defendant's case.
    Answer Applies to: Oregon
    Replied: 4/19/2011
    Beaulier Law Office
    Beaulier Law Office | Maury Beaulier
    I am not sure that I understand the question. If a person makes an application for a public defender, the Judge must review the application within a reasonable time, and in most cases, not beyond the next hearing.
    Answer Applies to: Minnesota
    Replied: 4/19/2011
    Law Office of Phillip Weiser
    Law Office of Phillip Weiser | Phillip L. Weiser
    A person may apply for a court appointed attorney at any time, if he qualifies.
    Answer Applies to: Kansas
    Replied: 4/19/2011
    Law Office of Jonathan T. Sarre
    Law Office of Jonathan T. Sarre | Jonathan T. Sarre
    You should probably contact the court asap to figure out the process for applying for a public defender. Oftentimes judges get a bit aggravated when a person hires a lawyer, the lawyer withdraws and then the person shows up unrepresented. The judge then needs to reset the court dates so you can either hire a new attorney or get a public defender appointed on your case. Most counties require you go through a verification process where you provide financial data and the judge or the court staff determine if you qualify for a public defender. Best thing to do is call the court and request the forms and get started on the paperwork.
    Answer Applies to: Oregon
    Replied: 4/19/2011
    Law Office of Brendan M. Kelly
    Law Office of Brendan M. Kelly | Brendan M. Kelly
    I would guess that the court ordered the defendant to make application so he should do it as soon as possible. If by the next court date the defendant has not made application the judge may force them to represent themselves.
    Answer Applies to: Nebraska
    Replied: 4/19/2011
    Arnold & Wadsworth
    Arnold & Wadsworth | Brian Arnold
    The judge will usually impute that time period. You need to get that form done as quickly as possible so you can get representation in your case. If you have any questions feel free to contact us.
    Answer Applies to: Utah
    Replied: 4/18/2011
    Michael Anthony Wing, P.C.
    Michael Anthony Wing, P.C. | Michael Anthony Wing
    The trial court sets that time in his or her discretion. Stay well.
    Answer Applies to: Alabama
    Replied: 4/18/2011
    Law Office of Joseph A. Katz
    Law Office of Joseph A. Katz | Joseph A. Katz
    Yes, the time frame is prior to pleading guilty to any charge.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 4/18/2011
    Law Office of Peter F. Goldscheider
    Law Office of Peter F. Goldscheider | Peter Goldscheider
    There is a time frame set according to the schedule provided by the court.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 4/18/2011
    Law Office of Eric Sterkenburg
    Law Office of Eric Sterkenburg | Eric Sterkenburg
    the Public Defender should be appointed at your next court date. You do have to qualify for the Public Defender and this is on an income and expense determination. You may also have to pay some of the cost of the Public Defender.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 4/18/2011
    Mercado & Hartung
    Mercado & Hartung | Stephanie Hartung
    It would be helpful to know what stage of the process the criminal proceedings are in, but generally speaking if the defendant is not represented by a private counsel and is not going to hire private counsel, he/she needs to apply for the public defender as soon as possible. Once the screening process is complete, and the defendant is found eligible for an a public defender one is assigned very quickly. It is benecifial to all parties to complete this process as soon as feasible, you may have an upcoming court date, and the public defender will need sufficient time to work on your case....so the sooner the better.
    Answer Applies to: Washington
    Replied: 4/18/2011
    Timothy J. Thill P.C.
    Timothy J. Thill P.C. | Timothy J. Thill
    No time limit, however, if the case is old, the judge may think you are trying to delay the case by asking for a public defender, but there is generally no time limit, and you certainly should ask for a public defender to be appointed to represent you, if you qualify for his services.
    Answer Applies to: Illinois
    Replied: 4/18/2011
    Law Office of Richard Williams
    Law Office of Richard Williams | Richard Williams
    There is no time frame. However, applying for a public defender, after your previous public defender has withdrawn, should be done immediately.
    Answer Applies to: Alabama
    Replied: 4/18/2011
    Goolsby Law Office
    Goolsby Law Office | Richard Goolsby
    Unless there is a local rule or practice to the contrary, generally, there is no set amount of time or deadline; however, any judge would expect you to retain counsel or seek a public defender as soon as possible, so that any trial date is not delayed. So, move ASAP! Good luck!
    Answer Applies to: Georgia
    Replied: 4/18/2011
    Ferguson & Ferguson
    Ferguson & Ferguson | Randy W. Ferguson
    No. It really depends on each judge or court personnel. You normally get someone appointed within thirty days. You can call them and ask just to make sure you did not slip through the cracks.
    Answer Applies to: Alabama
    Replied: 4/18/2011
    Law Offices of John Carney
    Law Offices of John Carney | John Carney
    If you were told to contact the Assigned Counsel Program or Legal Aid you will be expected to have the attorney appear at your next court date. Since you must supply proof as to your income, property, and assets, you should call immediately and make an appointment with the attorney assigned to your case.
    Answer Applies to: New York
    Replied: 4/18/2011
    Crippen & Cline, LC
    Crippen & Cline, LC | Stephen Howard
    A person charged with a crime that could result in jail or prison time is constitutionally entitled to have an attorney represent him or her. If the person cannot afford an attorney (even if he or she previously had an attorney), the court should appoint an attorney to handle the case. Whenever the person becomes unrepresented, assuming that they qualify financially, the court should appoint an attorney.
    Answer Applies to: Utah
    Replied: 4/18/2011
    Law Office of Tracey S. Sang
    Law Office of Tracey S. Sang | Tracey Sang
    A defendant can apply for the PD whenever needed. There is no particular window of time.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 4/18/2011
    Law Office of James A Schoenberger
    Law Office of James A Schoenberger | James A Schoenberger
    When an attorney withdraws, the court will set a Return With Attorney (RWA) date. You need to be screened promptly so that the public defender's office can appoint an attorney, if you qualify, before the return date.
    Answer Applies to: Washington
    Replied: 4/18/2011
    Dennis Roberts, a P.C.
    Dennis Roberts, a P.C. | Dennis Roberts
    I don't think so but I would do it immediately anyhow.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 4/18/2011
    Lawrence Lewis
    Lawrence Lewis | Lawrence Lewis, PC
    The defendant may be appointed a PD at any time. The later the PD is appointed, the more delayed the case may be.
    Answer Applies to: Georgia
    Replied: 4/18/2011
    Law Offices of Phil Hache
    Law Offices of Phil Hache | Phil Hache
    I am not sure if there is a time frame or not, but I would recommend moving forward with filing the paperwork for the public defender sooner as opposed to later. If your former attorney withdrew from your case at the last hearing, even if the case has been going on for a while, you should not have any issues. Have there been any hearings where you represented yourself Pro Per (without an attorney at all?)
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 4/18/2011
    The Law Office of Harry E. Hudson, Jr.
    The Law Office of Harry E. Hudson, Jr. | Harry E. Hudson, Jr.
    The question is a bit confusing. I am not sure what you are asking. It sounds to me as if you are asking the following: When a defendant's attorney is allowed to withdraw from representing a defendant how long does the defendant have to obtain those services. There is no statute or case law, of which I am aware, that sets a limit. Generally, if the defendant otherwise qualifies, the court makes an appointment immediately.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 4/18/2011
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