Honolulu, HI asked in Criminal Law and Civil Rights for Hawaii

Q: Can I consult with a public defender prior to the first hearing?

I was told that I could only request a public defender at the first hearing. However, I want to consult with an attorney asap.

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1 Lawyer Answer
James L. Arrasmith
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  • Criminal Law Lawyer
  • Sacramento, CA

A: It's understandable that you would want legal advice as soon as possible. Typically, a public defender is appointed during or after the first court appearance. However, this process can vary depending on the jurisdiction.

Before your first hearing, you might not be able to consult with a public defender. They are generally assigned to cases after the court determines a defendant's eligibility for a public defender, usually based on financial need. This is often assessed during the first hearing.

However, you don't need to wait for a public defender to seek legal advice. You have the option to consult with a private attorney beforehand. Many attorneys offer initial consultations, sometimes free of charge, where they can provide preliminary advice and help you understand the legal process.

Remember, it's crucial to have legal representation, especially if you're facing serious charges. So, exploring all your options for legal counsel promptly is advisable. This includes seeking a private attorney if immediate legal guidance is needed before a public defender can be appointed.

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