What to do if I can’t afford an attorney and the court has rejected my application for a public defender?

UPDATED: Jun 2, 2011

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What to do if I can’t afford an attorney and the court has rejected my application for a public defender?

I got arrested on public intoxication but come to find out they’ve also charged me with assault and battery on a police officer. I have no recollection of committing that crime and would like to see if I could get that charge dropped. I posted bond and that made me ineligible or a public defender, I did not know that at the time. I have court coming up and I cannot afford an attorney to represent me in this case. I’ve contacted legal aid and they haven’t got back with me. I have no previous criminal record and was wondering what will happen if I go to court without a lawyer?

Asked on June 2, 2011 under Criminal Law, Oklahoma


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

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

Keep checking back with Legal Aid.  But also check if there is a law school nearby to where the arrest took place; they typically run free/low cost clinics that handle these type cases.  Additionally, contact the local Bar Association in the county where the proceedings are being held; they may have a list of attorneys who will take his case "pro bono" (for free) or at least for a reduced fee based on his income/circumstances.  Bottom line, if at all possible do not go to court on this without legal representation.

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