Why is it that you can not get a public defender in Utah until you have been convicted of a crime? I am told you have to go to court first and then the judge will give you the OK to get a public defender.
2 Answers from Attorneys
you will get an attorney before being convicted. At your first appearance, you will be asked how you plead and if you are going to hire an attorney. Plead not guilty and tell the judge you want to apply for an attorney to be appointed. If you qualify, you will have one before you take the step in the process.
When you are accused of a crime, you must go to court and ask the judge for a public defender. The Judge will consider whether you qualify in circumstances for a public defender. If the accusation is for a crime that you would most likely not go to jail for (such as a traffic infraction) you will not qualify for a public defender. Your financial circumstances can be a disqualification as well.
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