In what type of criminal cases can a public defender be appointed?

How do you get one?

Asked on May 7, 2017 under Criminal Law, New York


M.D., Member, California and New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 3 years ago | Contributor

The appointment of a Public Defender (or court appointed lawyer) is only permitted in cases in which the accused is facing the possibility of a jail sentence. Therefore, if a jail sentence is not authorized by law, or if the government has agreed not to seek a jail sentence, the accused is not entitled to the appointment of a PD. That having been said, regardless of the charge, PD's are appointed by the court only for those who cannot afford to hire a private attorney. If the defendant has not bonded out, a PD will automatically be appointed the court at theirr first court date (i.e. "arraignment"). If the defendant bonded out and wishes to be represented by a PD, they must fill out an application and present it to the judge at their next court date.

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