You may apply for a public defender on the date of court. One will be appointed if you qualify financially. You may also retain provate counsel in which case, you may waive you first court appearance to have your attorney appear on your behalf.
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CALL 612-240-8005 for a Consultation. Disclaimer: Nothing in this email message creates an attorney client relationship absent a retainer agreement with this office. Any response to email inquiries should be considered general in nature and should not be relied upon as legal advice. You should always consult a lawyer in your state regarding your specific legal matter. Visit online at http://www.minnesotaLawyers.com
You are entitled to an attorney when charged with a criminal offense if you cannot afford to hire one. But yes that is determined at your first court appearance. And hiring an attorney will save you some court appearances...in some courts you can also have your attorney do a plea in absentia filing which allows you to finish your case without having to physically appear in court. You should consult with a local attorney in your state and ask if that is even an option for you. Good luck!
visit: www.attorneyraphael.com or call 440-610-9698 The answer provided is general in nature and because not all facts are known, it should not be construed as legal advice. The answer does not create an attorney/client relationship.
You can get a public defender application here: http://www.pubdef.state.mn.us/sites/default/files/english_version.pdf. Most people do not apply for the public defender until their first appearance, but there is no rule saying you cannot apply sooner. It is possible (though not guaranteed) that a judge would review the application prior to court and you would know in advance if you are accepted.
You may also want to consider hiring private counsel if you can afford it. Good luck to you.