How do I get a public defender?

UPDATED: Sep 12, 2011

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How do I get a public defender?

I had a complaint filed against me 9 months ago for performing massage therapy without a license and advertising services without a license. I was served a summons the end of last month with a court date in about 10 days. Both are Class 1 mmisdemeanors. Who can I contact to find information on having a public defender represent me? What should I expect to come from this? I have a clean record, have never even gotten a parking ticket, so I am feeling like a fish out of water concerning this.

Asked on September 12, 2011 under Criminal Law, South Dakota


FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

If you have been cited for misdemeanor offenses and cannot afford a lawyer, the court is required to appoint a public defender to represent you. You will have to demonstrate documentation to the court that you cannot afford legal representation.

You can ask the court for an appointment of an attorney at the next court hearing or you can go down to the public defender's office in the county where the criminal charges are pending and ask for an appointment to see one to discuss your situation and to determine if you qualify.

Good luck.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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