Criminal defendants have an absolute right to be represented by counsel. For defendants who can afford their own counsel, the city is not obligated to provide an attorney. If the defendant is not financially able to employ counsel (indigent), the municipal judge must appoint counsel to represent any defendant who is charged with an offense punishable by a jail sentence.
The judge must determine if a defendant is indigent. In order for the judge to make this determination, the defendant must complete a sworn Affidavit of Indigency. This affidavit contains various questions regarding the defendant’s income, expenses, and financial resources. As a sworn statement, all information on the form must be truthful. It is a felony to falsify a sworn statement. If the judge decides the defendant is indigent, the court will appoint an attorney for the defendant.
For non-indigent defendants, the court cannot recommend attorneys. The state bar website may serve as a useful resource.