If I have a court date for a Class A misdemeanor, do I go to the court date and ask for a court appointed attorney or do I need to get one before the court date?

If yes, how do I do that?

Asked on September 29, 2015 under Criminal Law, Texas


B.H.F., Member, Texas State Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

The court's usually like for defendants to try to secure an attorney before they show to court.... it's not generally required though... it just shows the judges that you've made a good faith effort to find one before you go.  If you show up and say I want a court appointed attorney without any effort, they may want you to try to go find one first.  When you do reach to an attorney, make sure you keep a list of who you contacted and when.  Many judges feel that when a defendant shows up and says "I tried to find an attorney" and then can't name one person they talked to, they presume the defendant is lying. 
When you do show up to court...you can ask for an attorney then.  If you want to start the paperwork early, some courts will allow you to visit with an indigent defendense coordinator.  To know who that is, call the court cooridnator and see if the county where you are being charged has one.  (Not all counties have indigent defense coordinators)  If your county does not have a coordinator, then you'll have to wait until court. 

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