Public Defender's Office
Public Defender Overview
The Bexar County Public Defender's Office is authorized to represent indigent defendants in Bexar County, Texas charged with committing both felony and misdemeanor crimes. In addition, our office handles the appeal of cases from all courts in Bexar County, Texas. Cases are assigned to our office by appointment from the judges in the various courts in which we practice.
Our office has four departments which includes:
- Mental Health, and
- Central Magistration Divisions
Each of these departments is designed to provide zealous, effective and dignified legal representation to accused who cannot afford legal counsel.
A Public Defender is a lawyer who works for the Public Defender's Office. You may be appointed a lawyer to represent you in your criminal case if you do not have enough money to hire one. The lawyer who is appointed to your case may work for the Public Defender's Office or may be a private attorney appointed to you by the court.
Requesting a Lawyer
The first step is to ask for one. When you were first arrested the judge asked you if you wanted to be interviewed for a court appointed lawyer. If you answered "yes" you should have been interviewed to determine if you qualified for one. Even if you answered "no", you have the right to request a court appointed lawyer at any time.
In order to qualify for a court appointed lawyer, you have to show that you cannot afford to hire a lawyer on your own. If you request a court appointed lawyer, you will be interviewed to determine if you meet the standards set based on a person's income and expenses.
Anything you tell your Public Defender, or any lawyer representing you, must be kept private. Your Public Defender cannot tell anyone, including the police, the judge or your friends and family what you have told them without your permission. However, if you give us your written permission to share information with your family, we will do so. However, please know that any information you ask us to share with anyone will not be protected by the attorney-client privilege and that person can be forced to testify about that information in court.