Written by attorney Bill Powers

"Indigency" in North Carolina - Definition - LEGAL REFERENCE MATERIALS


Article 36.

Entitlement of Indigent Persons Generally.

§ 7A-450. Indigency; definition; entitlement; determination; change of status.

(a) An indigent person is a person who is financially unable to secure legal representation and to provide all other necessary expenses of representation in an action or proceeding enumerated in this Subchapter. An interpreter is a necessary expense as defined in Chapter 8B of the General Statutes for a deaf person who is entitled to counsel under this subsection.

(b) Whenever a person, under the standards and procedures set out in this Subchapter, is determined to be an indigent person entitled to counsel, it is the responsibility of the State to provide him with counsel and the other necessary expenses of representation. The professional relationship of counsel so provided to the indigent person he represents is the same as if counsel had been privately retained by the indigent person.

(b1) An indigent person indicted for murder may not be tried where the State is seeking the death penalty without an assistant counsel being appointed in a timely manner. If the indigent person is represented by the public defender's office, the requirement of an assistant counsel may be satisfied by the assignment to the case of an additional attorney from the public defender's staff.

(c) The question of indigency may be determined or redetermined by the court at any stage of the action or proceeding at which an indigent is entitled to representation.

(d) If, at any stage in the action or proceeding, a person previously determined to be indigent becomes financially able to secure legal representation and provide other necessary expenses of representation, he must inform the counsel appointed by the court to represent him of that fact. In such a case, that information is not included in the attorney client privilege, and counsel must promptly inform the court of that information. (1969, c. 1013, s. 1; 1981, c. 409, s. 2; c. 937, s. 3; 1985, c. 698, s. 22(a); 2000-144, s. 5.)

***Powers Landreth, pllc does NOT handle appointed matters.

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