Miami, FL asked in Criminal Law and Juvenile Law for Florida

Q: Just a small question about court because I am clueless to everything…

When I spoke to the sheriffs, they told me they would provide a “public attorney” since I do not have the funds for one and it’s been a week and ever since all I get are advertisements in the mail but not the one that has been told to me… so my question is when or how will I get in contact with this provided attorney? Will they call me or is it going to be on court day? I’m not sure what to do other than just call the sheriffs office to ask them the question…

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2 Lawyer Answers
Henry George Ferro
Henry George Ferro
  • Criminal Law Lawyer
  • Ocala, FL
  • Licensed in Florida

A: As a former judge and attorney of nearly forty years, my suggestion is that you actively pursue any appointed attorney or public defender so that you can keep yourself informed as to the status of your case…Nothing is worse than waiting for the day of court to find things out…This also applies to those that are represented by privately retained lawyers.

Michael  Mayoral
Michael Mayoral
  • Coral Gables, FL
  • Licensed in Florida

A: Hello there. If you (1) have been arrested or are charged with a crime and (2) cannot afford an attorney, an attorney will be appointed to you. How this typically works is that you will go to your first hearing on the case, which is usually your "arraignment." The arraignment is a hearing where the state attorney (also known as the prosecutor) will announce whether they are going to go forward with the case and charge you with the crime. At that time, the judge will ask if you have an attorney and/or if you can afford an attorney. You will usually fill out a form that asks questions about your assets and how much you make. If you don't make enough money, the Judge will appoint an attorney from the public defender's office. If you would like to speak to an attorney from the public defender's office before that hearing, then you can call your local public defender's office. Just google the name of your city or county and the term "public defender" and you will find the office. It is important that you keep your address updated with the court so that you receive all notices of hearings in your case. You should also look up your case on the Clerk's website (the clerk for your county or city) and you can see the hearing dates there. I wish you the best on your case.

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