Asked in Criminal Law for Oklahoma

Q: If you are bonded out of jail when you go to your court date can you still get a court appointed attorney?

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1 Lawyer Answer
Tracy Tiernan
Tracy Tiernan
  • Criminal Law Lawyer
  • Tulsa, OK
  • Licensed in Oklahoma

A: This is a bit of a difficult question to answer as it varies from county to county, from Judge to judge (particularly with the coronavirus pandemic having ravaged the country this past year or so.

In many instances the courts have dramatically reduced bonds to get people out of custody as quickly as possible due to this virus in the jails. When bonds have been reduced to nominal amounts and, of course, when defendants are released without having to post any bond at all, you definitely have a much stronger chance of getting a court appointed attorney. Even in those instances a judge will often times request you to complete a “paupers affidavit” form where you must consult three lawyers, list the attorneys fees they have quoted you for them to handle your case, and then provide proof of indigency or your inability to pay.

Alternatively, if you have posted a meaningful bond, where you or someone in your family or circle of friends have paid a substantial amount of money to secure your release, the courts are quite reluctant to overburden the public defenders office (or OIDS attorneys: Oklahoma Indigent Defense lawyers) by giving such defendants a free attorney when they have clearly evidenced an ability to come up with money to secure their release. In those instances a judge will often pass your case a few times and strongly urge you (if not threaten you) to find the money to hire a private attorney or they will put you back into custody in order to get free counsel. The logic here is that when the chips were down you somehow found the money somewhere to secure your release where many other less fortunate criminal defendants were forced sit behind bars while their cases percolated through the criminal justice system.

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