How can I obtain a public defender for an automotive case to represent me? Are public defenders only available for misdemeanor and felony cases?

To clarify, I’m pretty certain that it’s the state not the person I collided with who’s taking me to court. It reads as a “Misdemeanor summons and complaint” issued by the undersigned officer with “conditions of release” information on the back. Both of my charges are infractions, “Improper Turn 14-212” and “Insufficient insurance 14-2136”, according to my own web search, but could the two result in me being charged with a misdemeanor if I’m at fault? My insurance card in my car was old, but the policy number on the card was 100% valid so I feel I could at least argue that.

Asked on June 27, 2009 under Criminal Law, Connecticut


B. B., Member, New Jersey Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

I'm not a Connecticut attorney, and the laws and procedure differ from one state to the other.  However, in most states, the "Improper Turn" isn't serious enough for you to qualify for a public defender.  If the insurance was actually in force at the time you were pulled over, be sure to take that with you to the court;  in some states, that will either get the "Insufficient insurance" charge dismissed or reduced to something along the lines of "failure to produce proof of insurance" or something like that.  Most traffic courts are much more concerned about whether you actually had the insurance or not.

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