Can I be denied rights to a public defender?

UPDATED: Jul 2, 2012

Advertiser Disclosure

It’s all about you. We want to help you make the right legal decisions.

We strive to help you make confident insurance and legal decisions. Finding trusted and reliable insurance quotes and legal advice should be easy. This doesn’t influence our content. Our opinions are our own.

UPDATED: Jul 2, 2012Fact Checked

Get Legal Help Today

Compare Quotes From Top Companies and Save

secured lock Secured with SHA-256 Encryption

Can I be denied rights to a public defender?

Judge said that if you can bail out of jail you can afford your own attorney and that he will not appoint me one, I have no income and he said if I do not retain counsel by end of week he will revoke my bail and lock me back up. I thought it was my right to an attorney..I didn’t pay for my bail. I don’t have a job. I do start work tomorrow but thats not enough time to retain attorney. How can I get legal counsel?

Asked on July 2, 2012 under Criminal Law, Tennessee


Russ Pietryga / Pietryga Law Office

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

     Usually, a determination of indigency or continuing indigency of any defendant may be made by the court at any stage of the proceedings.
     Any defendant claiming indigency shall file with the court a fully complete affidavit verified by a notary or other person authorized by law to administer an oath and file a copy of that affidavit with the prosecuting entity. The affidavit shall contain the factual information required in this section and by the court.
     "Indigency" means that a person:
     (i) does not have sufficient income, assets, credit, or other means to provide for the payment of legal counsel and all other necessary expenses of representation without depriving that person or the family of that person of food, shelter, clothing, and other necessities; or (ii) has an income level at or below 150% of the United States poverty level as defined by the most recently revised poverty income guidelines published by the United States Department of Health and Human Services; and (iii) has not transferred or otherwise disposed of any assets since the commission of the offense with the intent of establishing eligibility for the appointment of counsel under this chapter.
     In making a determination of indigency, the court shall consider:(i) the probable expense and burden of defending the case; (ii) the ownership of, or any interest in, any tangible or intangible personal property or real property, or reasonable expectancy of any such interest; (iii) the amounts of debts owned by the defendant or that might reasonably be incurred by the defendant because of illness or other needs within the defendant's family; (iv) number, ages, and relationships of any dependents; (v) the reasonableness of fees and expenses charged to the defendant by the defendant's attorney and the scope of representation undertaken where the defendant is represented by privately retained defense counsel; and (vi) other factors considered relevant by the court.
     Upon making a finding of indigence, the court shall enter the findings on the record and enter an order assigning a defense services provider to represent the defendant in the case.

     However, if the prosecutor indicates that they are not requesting jail/prison, sometimes the court will not appoint a public defender.

Hope this helps

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

Get Legal Help Today

Find the right lawyer for your legal issue.

secured lock Secured with SHA-256 Encryption