- How do I get a Public Defender?
A Public Defender may be appointed by a Judge during an individual’s first Court appearance, or bond setting.
- Is a Public Defender a real attorney?
Yes! A Public Defender is a licensed attorney who has graduated law school and passed the state’s bar exam. The only difference is that private counsel is paid for by the client, and a public defender is paid for by county taxpayers.
- What is an alternate Public Defender?
At times, there are cases where there may be more than one defendant, or where the Public Defender’s office already represents another party to a case. An attorney cannot represent more than one party to a case, regardless of whether the individual is the defendant or a witness. This is referred to as a ‘conflict’. When this occurs, the Courts may appoint an alternate public defender to represent the defendant. An alternate public defender is an attorney who is contracted by the county to take cases that the Public Defender’s Office cannot.
- How do I contact my Public Defender?
Call the Sarpy County Public Defender’s Office at 402-593-5933 to speak to a receptionist, who will then connect you with your attorney or help you to set up an appointment with them.
- I forgot my court date. How can I find out when I am supposed to appear?
If the Public Defender has been appointed to represent you, you may call 402-593-5933 and we will be happy to help you. If you have not yet been appointed, please call the County Court Clerk at 402-593-5775.
- What is the difference between a misdemeanor and a felony?
In the state of Nebraska, criminal offenses are broadly divided into two categories: misdemeanors and felonies. Misdemeanors are less serious offenses that carry a potential punishment of less than a year in jail if convicted. Felonies are more serious offenses that carry a potential term of imprisonment of more than a year.
Although there are some exceptions, probation can be imposed for all misdemeanors and most felonies.
There is a third category of offense call Infractions. Infractions carry only a fine and are often categorized with traffic violations.
- My English is limited and/or I need assistance with reading and/or writing. What can I do? Mi inglés es limitado y/o necesito ayuda con lectura y/o escritura. ¿Qué puedo hacer?
The Courts are required to provide interpreters in your native language and/or to assist with any physical disability during Court proceedings. Make sure you notify your attorney and/or the Court of any assistance you may need.
If you are represented by the Sarpy County Public Defender office, we will use the assistance of an interpreter during our representation of you in order to provide you a zealous defense while at the same time maintaining client confidentiality. Notify your Public Defender of any interpreter assistance you may need.
Los Tribunales están obligados a proporcionarle intérprete en su idioma nativo y/o proporcionar ayuda con cualquier discapacidad física a través de los procedimientos judiciales. Asegúrese de notificarle a su abogado y/o al Tribunal sobre cualquier ayuda que pueda necesitar.
Si está siendo representado por parte de los Defensores Públicos del Condado de Sarpy, utilizaremos la asistencia de un intérprete durante nuestra representación para brindarle la mejor defensa posible y al mismo tiempo mantener la confidencialidad del cliente. Notifíquele a su Defensor Público de cualquier asistencia de intérprete que pueda necesitar.
- Does the Sarpy County Public Defender's Office have enough resources to zealously represent my case?
The Sarpy County Public Defender's office is funded through the Sarpy County budgetary process. The budget is fully funded to make sure that each client's case is fully and completely funded to provide the highest quality defense.
- I am a student. Does the Sarpy County Public Defender's Office offer clerking/internship programs?
The Sarpy County Public Defender offers both paid and unpaid law clerking and internship programs for law students as well as practicum placements for social work students. There is also a program for undergraduate and high school students to shadow attorneys for a day in order for them to experience the Public Defender's office. You should contact the Sarpy County Public Defender's office for more information regarding these programs.