Bexar County Courts-at-Law are committed to providing access to counsel for all defendants deemed indigent per the Texas Fair Defense Act. Qualified attorneys are encourage to apply for the Misdemeanor Attorney Wheel if they are interested in serving the public who may not have the funds necessary to hire counsel.
In 2018, Bexar County spent approximately $2.7 million in indigent defense costs. With over 15.2% of Bexar County's population in poverty, indigent defense is a critical component to ensuring the constitutional rights of defendants are upheld. At the time of magistration, defendants are informed of their right to counsel and given the opportunity to apply for a court-appointed attorney. If eligible, defendants are appointed counsel or a public defender at the time of magistration. If defendants appear at their first court hearing without an attorney present, they are typically asked if they will be retaining a counselor or if they elect to reapply for a court-appointed counsel. If qualified, an attorney will be appointed immediately and the defendant may have the opportunity to speak with their attorney before the hearing.