Applying for a Public Defender
- To apply for a public defender you may:
- Request a public defender at your arraignment (your very first court appearance);
- Go to walk-in court and ask the Judge for a Public Defender;
- Request a Public Defender any time you are in Court and believe you need representation. However, if you wait until court to request a Public Defender, rather than coming to court before your appearance, you run the risk of having that request denied
- If your case is set over to apply for a public defender, you will have a mandatory court appearance to meet with the public defender to review your eligibility for a public defender. If you miss that court appearance, a warrant for your arrest could issue.
- When you apply for a public defender, you must bring :
- Most recent pay stubs from your job, your spouse’s or significant other’s employment information;
- Proof of government benefits: social security; financial aid; unemployment; food stamps;
- Lease agreement or letter from person with whom you are living
- Proof of child support and/or alimony
- Proof of assets: bank statement, real property, home, property that is readily converted to cash to pay for a lawyer.
- Proof of expenses.
- There is a $25 application fee which must be paid by most people who apply for the public defender. There are some people who are indigent for whom the fee is waived.
- If you have a copy of the application, you will spend less time at the application hearing if you fill it out completely before your public defender hearing.
- Indigency is determined by the evaluation of household income; household size; assets; and expenses.
If the Public Defender's Office is Appointed:
- Immediately after the Court appoints a public defender to represent you, you must make an appointment to meet with your public defender; if you don’t make and keep appointments with the public defender’s office, or you fail to communicate with the public defender’s office, the Public Defender’s Office could withdraw from your case, leaving you without a lawyer.
- It is your responsibility to appear at all court dates as ordered, and to keep the Public Defender advised of changes in your address and phone number.
If the Public Defender's Office is Not Appointed to Represent You:
- You may hire a lawyer to represent you;
- Represent yourself;
- Apply to the DU student law office for representation by a student attorney.