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A public defender is an attorney appointed by the Court to represent a person who cannot afford to hire a private attorney. In Pinal County, public defenders represent adults and juveniles in misdemeanor criminal cases, felony criminal cases, and mental health civil commitment cases. A public defender is just like any other attorney. He or she graduated from an ABA-accredited law school, passed the Arizona bar exam, and is licensed to practice law in Arizona.
A public defender can represent you only if the Pinal County Superior Court or a Justice Court within Pinal County determines that you cannot afford to hire a private attorney and appoints the Public Defender’s Office.
There are several things you can do to help your attorney while your case is pending:
As the client, you always get to decide:
You should make these decisions after talking to your attorney about them.
Your attorney is responsible for making strategic decisions, such as:
Contact your attorney immediately. If the judge issued a warrant for your arrest, your attorney can arrange a self-surrender. If you turn yourself in voluntarily, there is a possibility that the judge will quash the warrant and allow you to remain out of custody while your case is pending. If the police arrest you on the warrant before you turn yourself in, it is highly unlikely that the judge will grant a request to allow you to remain out of custody until your case is resolved.
The Pinal County Public Defender's Office is open Monday through Friday from 8 am to 5 pm, except on holidays.