Persons arrested and arraigned on a criminal warrant/charge are given the opportunity to apply for court appointed counsel at their initial court appearance. The Circuit and District Courts appoint qualified private attorneys to represent individuals accused of crimes who cannot afford to hire their own lawyer if:
The court determines that it might sentence the defendant to jail
The offense charged is punishable by more than 92 days in jail
The offense charged requires upon conviction a minimum term in jail
There are minimum requirements to qualify for court appointed counsel. Defendants fill out a short form verifying income/debt information which the Judge reviews. If the defendant meets the criteria to qualify for a court appointed attorney, the Judge will sign the form.
A copy is then given to the defendant at the time of his/her court appearance and is instructed to call the phone number at the bottom of the form to acquire the name of their court appointed attorney. Once appointed, the assigned attorney will contact the defendant by mail prior to their next court date. The attorney will meet with the defendant at the time of his/her pretrial.
Defendants may be required to reimburse the court for court appointed counsel costs at the conclusion of their case.