Can you get Public Defender involved before the first court appearance?

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Can you get Public Defender involved before the first court appearance?

The States Attorney has filled charges but has not issued a warrant. He set NTA for a court date 9 months ago for 2 misdemeanors (misdemeanor A charges for domestic battery). I spoke with the Public Defender’s office and they say they cannot get involved until ordered by the court. I cannot afford a private attorney. How do you get information on the charges (details)? How will they give you an NTA for court date meaning mail, police serving court order or warrant and should you call or present yourself to the police so this can be accomplished? Can you get an earlier court date and, if so, how? Can you get a motion of discovery to find out what is going on and why?

Asked on December 26, 2014 under Criminal Law, Illinois

Answers:

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

Answered 6 years ago | Contributor

Generally speaking, they are assigned at arraignment.  Please calm down.  One can tell that you are very upset here and while I understand that, it won't help the situation.  I have no idea what an "NTA" is but generally you can get a copy of the complaint against you from the Prosecutor's office.  Your attorney will conduct discovery.  If you are anxious go and see if you can speak with an attorney from your local Bar Association referral service for a free consultation (there are generally legal clinics too at law schools).  If the charges are filed but you have not been arrested you can turn yourself in (surrender).  Then at arraignment an attorney will be appointed.  


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