If not incarcerated, a person charged with a crime is usually asked to appear on a specific court date or within a certain number of days after receiving a ticket from a police officer. At that time, the Judge will ask if he or she needs an appointed attorney. Typically, he or she will fill out a form which asks questions about income and expenses. Then the Judge decides whether or not the Public Defender will be appointed to represent the person.
If a person is incarcerated, the person will be brought before a Magistrate or Judge and asked about his or her income and expenses. After reviewing the information, the Magistrate/Judge will make a decision as to whether or not a Public Defender will be appointed. If the Public Defender is appointed, the attorney assigned to the case will go to the Muskegon County Jail to meet with and interview an incarcerated client.