Navajo County

Proudly Serving, Continuously Improving Since 1895

Navajo County Public Defender
Frequently Asked Questions

My lawyer hasn’t contacted/visited me yet and my hearing is tomorrow. Why not?

Your lawyer may not have your paperwork (for example, police report) and may not get it until the day of the pre-trial or preliminary hearing in Justice Court, or after arraignment in Superior Court. Also, see Client Responsibilities. You may contact your attorney to arrange an appointment. Be sure your address and telephone number(s) are updated.

My lawyer won’t return my mother / father / wife / brother / sister / son / daughter / other relative / friend / boss phone calls concerning my case.

The lawyer’s professional and ethical responsibilities are to the client. Our office discourages telephone calls from third parties inquiring about a client’s case. We have a duty to protect the attorney/client relationship, and general information about hearing dates can be requested of the Clerk of Court.

Are public defenders real attorneys? What kind of training do they receive?

Yes, they are licensed by the Arizona State Bar. As for training and experience, please peruse the “Meet Our Attorneys” section.

What is the difference between a Public Defender, the Legal Defender, and an attorney in the private sector?

The Legal Defender’s Office is similar to the Public Defender’s Office. Legal Defenders however represent people that the Public Defenders are not able to represent because of conflicts of interest or other legal reasons. The Office of Court Appointed Counsel provides a roster of private lawyers available for appointment to represent indigents who cannot obtain the Public or Legal Defender to represent them. These lawyers work under the Office of Court Appointed Counsel to ensure the availability of additional lawyers when the Legal Defender’s and Public Defender’s caseloads become too great. Any person charged with a crime is at liberty to hire their own private counsel to represent them.

Can my Public Defender handle my civil case?

Public Defenders by law are restricted to representing indigent persons accused of serious crimes in Navajo County. By law, Public Defenders are prohibited from defending anybody on any matter other than cases assigned to their office.

Do Police have to read me my rights before they talk to me?

The Miranda advisory applies when a person is taken into custody or is not free to leave the presence of officers. Consensual encounters in which police ask questions but have not detained a person, are generally not subject to Miranda advisories.

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