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Frequently Asked Questions



Not directly. We would have to refer you to the Judge in the county where you are charged. Sheriffs, Jailers, and Court Clerks typically have forms on hand to apply for an OIDS attorney to represent you. Defendants in cases in Oklahoma and Tulsa Counties are not eligible for OIDS representation, but complete a similar application for the County Public Defender to be appointed.

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If the case is at the trial level, OIDS is neither appointed to or assigned the case. The district court may appoint OIDS to represent the defendant on appeal if an appellate conflict of interest exists between the defendant and the county indigent defender. If the case is on appeal, OIDS may also be appointed in Oklahoma or Tulsa County to any criminal case if the defendant had a private attorney at trial. In death penalty cases, OIDS represents all defendants in Oklahoma in post-conviction proceedings, regardless of the county in which the case was filed.

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District court judges determine whether a defendant is indigent by applying standards developed by the Oklahoma Court of Criminal Appeals. The defendant fills out a form about his/her assets, liabilities, and sources of income. If the judge determines the defendant is indigent, OIDS is appointed. An Oklahoma statute provides that any defendant who posts bond must prove to the court that s/he cannot afford a lawyer before the judge will allow OIDS to begin or continue representation. In practice, this presumption is not followed equally throughout the court system. Some judges do not penalize a defendant for being out on bond; others almost always deny indigency status and force the defendant to hire outside counsel. If you are already represented and make bond, discuss with your attorney how to request a hearing on your assets to show you still need an attorney.

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The indigency application procedure is repeated at the end of the trial. District court judges advise defendants about their right to an appeal and their right to a court-appointed lawyer if they cannot afford one. The judge will appoint OIDS if the defendant is determined to be indigent.

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No. OIDS is a creature of statute and can only be appointed to the specific criminal cases that it is authorized to accept under the Indigent Defense Act. OIDS cannot accept or be appointed to civil cases. Matters pertaining to contempt of court (civil), child support, termination of parental rights, juvenile custody determinations, and the like, are civil matters. You may wish to check with Legal Aid in your region to determine if legal services are available to you in your civil matter. In addition, OIDS is specifically prohibited from representing anyone in civil rights or other litigation related to prison conditions. OIDS can only represent a defendant in the defense of criminal charges brought by the State of Oklahoma.

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