How to get Public Defender if you have already refused one?

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How to get Public Defender if you have already refused one?

My fiance was sitting in a gas station and they keys were not in the ignition when cops pulled in. He was asked to give a breath test and refused therefore he was arrested and the car was impounded. He went to court on 11/22 and plead not guilty and waived his right to a public defender because he wanted to hire a lawyer. He has called a bunch of lawyers and cannot afford the fees. He is scheduled to be back in court on 12/06 and we would like to know how we can or if we can still get a public defender if we have already waived those rights?

Asked on December 2, 2010 under Criminal Law, New Jersey

Answers:

M.T.G., Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

Generally speaking, yes, you can ask for a public defender on your next appearance even though you waived it the first time around.  it is really discretionary by the court.  In other words, it is up to the Judge to decide.  He may have to find that he is indigent (unable to afford one on his own) before he reverses the waiver but it is doubtful that any Judge would take the chance of going to trial with a Defendant that is not represented by counsel.  make sure that he makes the request on the record and indicates that he tried to obtain counsel but that he can not afford one and that he now wishes to reverse his waiver and have the public defenders office represent him.  Good luck.


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