How do you get a public defender?

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How do you get a public defender?

My friend got picked up for shoplifting. When she was taken to the police station, the officer coerced her to sign a paper allowing him to search her apartment. She asked if she needed a lawyer and he told her that she was on her own. He ransacked her bedroom looking for drugs. He then told her to tell him who her friends were and went through her cell phone. She admitted to another shoplifting a week earlier. They are now charging her with 2 charges of petty theft. He then arrived at her apartment again. She is 18 and has never been in trouble before. She is scared and we can’t figure out how to find a public lawyer. She is a college student and has no money. She admits she was wrong.

Asked on March 28, 2014 under Criminal Law, Montana

Answers:

Anne Brady / Law Office of Anne Brady

Answered 7 years ago | Contributor

At her first court appearance/arraignment she needs to tell the judge that she can not afford an attorney and wishes one to be provided for her.  The judge will appoint a public defender.


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