Court Appointed Counsel
Do I need a lawyer?
Benefits of A LawyerIf you are charged with an offense that has mandatory jail time or the State has filed notice that they intend to seek jail time, it may be wise to consult with an attorney. You have the right to have a lawyer represent with you at all stages of the proceedings. A lawyer can help you understand the charges against you and the defenses you can raise. You may ask for a continuance in your case to retain counsel.
EligibilityYou must be charged with an offense that has mandatory jail time as a punishment or in which the state has filed a notice of intent to seek jail time in order to apply for Court Appointed Counsel pursuant to ARS §9-499.09. You may qualify for a court appointed attorney at no cost to you. Court appointed attorneys must be requested from the judge, and you may be asked for information regarding your income or required to fill out paperwork justifying your request.
You must be able to prove you are indigent (not being able to afford legal counsel) and will be asked to divulge financial information verifying your situation. If the judge determines that you cannot afford counsel the request will be approved and you will be appointed an attorney to handle your case.
Cost & FeesIn most cases, court-appointed attorneys are not completely free of charge unless the defendant is not convicted of the crime they were originally charged with. Typically, if a defendant is convicted, a judgment is entered requiring payment based on several factors including financial situation, severity of the charge, and depth of defense. In most cases, court-appointed attorneys are less costly than private attorneys. You may be assessed the cost of the Court Appointed Attorney and / or the additional Court Appointed Counsel fee of $25, or you may receive no assessment at the Court's sole discretion.
If you do not qualify for a court appointed attorney and need information about hiring an attorney, you may contact the Arizona State Bar Association or check the yellow pages.