If I got caught shoplifting $300 worth of merchandice and have no lawyer, if I have a court date tommorow can I ask for a public defender?

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If I got caught shoplifting $300 worth of merchandice and have no lawyer, if I have a court date tommorow can I ask for a public defender?

Asked on January 19, 2015 under Criminal Law, Iowa

Answers:

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

Answered 6 years ago | Contributor

You can ask for a court appointed attorney any time that you cannot afford an attorney on your own.  However, the court does have the authority to establish minimum guidelines for determining who is too poor to pay for an attorney.  If you are denied a court appointed attorney, ask the court to appoint you an attorney and authorize you to make payments into the registry of the court to pay for that attorney.  Part of the expense will still be on you-- but it is often cheaper than obtaining a private attorney.


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