What are the requirements by the State to assign a public defender on a felony?

Asked over 4 years ago - Payson, AZ

My daughter is on SSI and has been charged with having drug paraphanelia in her car. At the time of the arrest, she had two other people with her and she says the paraphanelia was theirs. She was willing to do a drug test at the scene but was denied. The county of Gila wants to charge her with 3 felonies, charge her $3000 in fines, they WON'T give her an attorney. How can this be??

Attorney answers (1)

  1. Karyn T. Missimer

    Contributor Level 18

    Answered . I do not practice in AZ, but, because no one has answered yet, I can give you some general advice. In my experience, people on SSI usually qualify for public defender assistance. The likely reason she was denied a public defender is she has too many other, valuable assets. You stated she has a car. If she owns a car, that alone would be enough to disqualify her in WI, as she could sell the car to pay for legal services. (No joke.)

    To find out specifically why your daughter was denied, you should contact the public defender's office that rejected her.

    One thing is for certain: Your daughter needs an attorney. If the public defender's office will not provide her with one, she should determine if the court will appoint a low cost attorney to her case. If neither of those options work, she needs to do everything in her power to hire a private attorney. Some private attorneys do take payment plans.

    Good luck!

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