Asked in Criminal Law for Colorado

Q: Charged with poss sched 2 in Co dont qualify for public def but I cant pay for a private

What happened to "if you can not pay for an attorney one will be appointed to you"?

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1 Lawyer Answer

Brian K. McHugh

Answered
  • Criminal Law Lawyer
  • Littleton, CO
  • Licensed in Colorado

A: An excellent question and one the courts have struggled with. A more accurate way to describe the reality of the situation is "a public defender will appointed if you qualify based on their income guidelines".

There are many people charged with crimes whose income is too high to qualify for a public defender, but who do not earn enough to hire a private attorney. One effort that has been made to help such people are attorneys who agree to accept cases at a reduce fee or who accept payment plans. Most courts keep a list of these "low pay/slow pay" attorneys. It is not a perfect solution by any means, but it does provide some assistance to defendants who don't qualify for the public defender, but can't afford to hire a private attorney at the going rate.

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