Public Defender's Office
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.
The Public Defender's Office represents indigent individuals as appointed by trial courts and as authorized by the indigent defense plans of the Criminal Courts of Bexar County. The Public Defender’s Office does not decide whether a person is indigent or unable to hire a lawyer. We must be appointed by the jail magistrate or one of the County or District Judges in Bexar County. The Public Defender's office is monitored by an oversight board. Its budget is controlled by Bexar County Commissioners Court.
Our goal is to provide our clients the best defense. The Public Defender’s Office prides itself in providing client-centered representation to all of our clients.
Our Divisions & Who We Are
The Public Defender's Office is appointed by the judges of the courts of Bexar County to represent indigent defendants in seeking post-conviction relief. The judges of the misdemeanor courts, criminal district courts and juvenile courts appoint the Public Defender's Office to represent persons on appeal.
The Magistration was created in 2015 through a grant from the Texas Indigent Commission. This division provides representation to indigent arrested persons suffering from a mental illness at their initial bail hearing pursuant to Texas Code of Criminal Procedure § 15.17. Arrested persons who suffer from a mental illness and are represented by this division at magistration are them passed to the Mental Health - Misdemeanor and Mental Health - Felony Division to provide continuity of representation. In addition, the mission of the Central Magistration was expanded in January 2019 to include representation of persons not currently represented by counsel, who do not have a bond set and who consent to the representation for all charges.
Created in 2014, this division provides criminal defense to indigent clients accused of a misdemeanor offense.
This division provides criminal defense to indigent clients accused of felony offenses.
Attorneys in this division represent indigent accused persons who have been diagnosed with a mental illness and who are charged with a misdemeanor offense.
Attorneys in this division represent indigent accused persons who have been diagnosed with a mental illness and who are charged with felony offenses.
This division represents "proposed patients" who are the subject of civil orders of protective custody and/or commitment proceedings in the Probate Courts of Bexar County. This division is appointed pursuant to Texas Health and Safety Code § 574.003.
- Do I have a Public Defender or Court appointed attorney?
If the Public Defender’s Office is appointed, you will receive a letter from the Public Defender’s Office or if you are in jail, you will get a visit from your Public Defender within 72 hours.
- What’s the difference between a Public Defender and a Court appointed attorney?
Members of the private bar may be appointed to represent accused persons who cannot afford to hire a lawyer. The difference is the Public Defender’s Office is a department within Bexar County. A court can appoint the Public Defender’s Office to represent accused persons who do not have the money to hire a lawyer.
- If I am in jail, how will my Public Defender contact me?
Your Public Defender will visit you on video within 72 hours.
- Can I hire or change to a Public Defender?
The Public Defender’s Office does not take applications nor can they be hired. Public Defenders are assigned by the Courts or Pretrial Services.