Did the court error in not offering me a public defender?

UPDATED: Oct 1, 2022

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Did the court error in not offering me a public defender?

I had an attorney that I hired for the case but couldn’t afford to pay him anymore, so I just lost my criminal harassment and phone harassment case due to no representation. After I lost my attorney, the judge never offered for me to apply for a public defender. I was under the understanding that the court is required to offer me the service and have me sign a waiver if I did not want the service. The court case notes don’t show a waiver for that just the jury trial waiver. Can I possibly use that to get the charges dropped?

Asked on April 4, 2019 under Criminal Law, New Mexico


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 3 years ago | Contributor

No, they did not err vecxause you initially had an attorney. Because you started off being represented, there was no need to initially offer you a public defender. After you dismissed your attorney or he quit working for you, that did not reinstate an obligation on the part on the court to inquire into whether you needed a public defender--that moment, when they had to do that, had already passed. You were free to request a public defender, and if you had, the court would have needed to consider your request, but they did not, in these circumstances, have to affirmatively inquire of you whether you wanted one.

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