A project through the Texas Tech University School of Law Clinical Programs, the Caprock Regional Public Defender Office provides free legal representation for needy defendants facing misdemeanor or juvenile charges. The legal process is confusing and complicated but you have rights. Our program provides education and counsel, and helps to protect you.
Unfortunately, we CANNOT represent you unless the judge appoints our office to you. If you want a court-appointed lawyer and cannot afford one, the Caprock Regional Public Defender Office may be able to help you if:
- You have been charged with a crime in one of the counties where we provide services;
- You complete and submit an Affidavit of Financial Status form; and
- Your county or district judge finds that you qualify for our services and appoints our office to you.
When do you have a right to a lawyer?
- Within 48 hours of being arrested even if a prosecutor is not aware of arrest
- When the police question you after an arrest
- In a police line-up after you are charged with a crime
- Anytime you appear in court
- During a plea
- When being sentenced or punished
- At a probation revocation hearing
If you do not know how to answer a request made by a police officer or prosecutor, ask to speak to a lawyer before you do anything else.
How might a misdemeanor conviction affect you?
- Limit your job opportunities
- Cause loss of custody of your children
- Cause eviction by your landlord
- Stop your federal and state assistance (TANF case assistance, food stamps, public housing, and education grants/loans)
- Cause your deportation, loss of immigration status, and ineligibility for immigration benefits, such as lawful permanent resident status or U.S. citizenship
- Cause suspension of your driver's license
- Cause increased fees for the renewal of your driver's license
- Cause increased punishment if you are ever arrested for another crime
- Keep you from having or receiving a handgun or ammunition
Appointment is NOT automatic.
If you cannot afford a private lawyer, you should tell the judge as soon as possible! If you think you qualify for a court appointed lawyer, fill out Affidavit of Financial Status form. Then, give it to the judge or mail it to the Caprock Regional Public Defender Office and we will file it with the court.
When you ask for an appointed lawyer, the judge will likely ask you questions like:
- Do you receive any government aid?
- How much money do you make?
- Are you married?
- Do you have children?
- What are your monthly bills?
What do we do for our clients?
It is a criminal defense lawyer's job to represent you in all criminal proceedings. Your lawyer should:
- Explain the crime you are charged with, all of the possible punishments and lasting consequences of being found guilty or entering a guilty plea, and any chance of probation
- Inform you about your rights and explain what to expect during the different steps of the criminal process.
- Look into the facts of your case and give you expert advice.
- Make sure that your constitutional rights are not violated by the police or in court.
- Ask questions of government witnesses, object to improper questions and evidence, and present your defenses if you go to trial.
- Discuss plea bargains with the prosecutor—possibly reducing your charges or reducing your sentence and/or probation—if you plead guilty.
Contact links for the counties we serve
In order to consider handling your case, the Caprock Regional Public Defender Office must be appointed by your county judge. Click on your county below for county judge contact information.
The CRPDO currently serves 14 counties in Northwest Texas: