An accused is presumed indigent if any of the following conditions or factors are present:
1. At the time of requesting appointed counsel, the accused or accused’s dependents are eligible to receive food stamps, Medicaid, Temporary Assistance for Needy Families, Supplemental Security Income, or public housing.
2. The accused’s net household income does not exceed 125% of the Poverty Guidelines as revised annually by the United States Department of Health and Human Services and published in the Federal Register.
3. The accused is currently serving a sentence in a correctional institution, is currently residing in a public mental health facility, or is subject to a proceeding in which admission or commitment to such a mental health facility is sought.
An accused who does not meet any of the standards above shall nevertheless be considered indigent if the accused is unable to retain private counsel without substantial hardship to the accused or the accused’s dependents. In considering if obtaining private counsel will create a substantial hardship, the appointing authority shall take into account:
1. the nature of the criminal charge(s)
2. anticipated complexity of the defense
3. the estimated cost of obtaining competent private legal representation for the matter(s) charged
4. the amount needed for the support of the accused and the accused’s dependents
5. accused’s income
6. source of income
7. assets and property owned
8. outstanding obligations
9. necessary expenses
10. the number and ages of dependents
11. spousal income that is available to the accused
Qualifying for an Appointed Attorney
Not all cases are eligible for an appointed attorney. In order to qualify for an appointed attorney, the charges must be either a felony or misdemeanor which could result in imprisonment. If the accused is convicted. If it is a fine-only offense, the accused will not qualify for an appointed attorney. If the accused cannot afford to pay an attorney, he is considered indigent and may ask for an attorney to be appointed to his case.
In determining whether the accused is indigent, the court will consider a variety of financial information about the person, including the person's income, assets, outstanding monetary obligations, necessary monthly expenses, the number and ages of any dependents, and spousal income that is available to him.
After the court determines the accused is charged with a qualifying offense and that he is indigent, he will have an attorney appointed to his case.