What are the Guidelines for Determining Eligibility
Pursuant to Chapter 802, Hawai`i Revised Statutes, any indigent person who qualifies for public defender services will be entitled to legal services at any point in the criminal and juvenile justice process from arrest to conviction and appeal, or detention in the case of civil commitment, to disposition.
In determining whether a person qualifies for public defender representation, the Office of the Public Defender follows the provisions of HRS § 802-4 and the guidelines pronounced by the Hawai`i Supreme Court in State v. Mickle, 56 Haw. 23, 525 P.2d 1108 (1974).
HRS § 802-4 provides that “… the determination of indigency … shall be based upon an appropriate inquiry into the financial circumstances of the person seeking legal representation and an affidavit or a certificate signed by such person demonstrating the person’s financial inability to obtain legal counsel.”
Unless otherwise ordered by the court, the Office of the Public Defender makes the initial determination of indigency, based upon an appropriate inquiry into the financial circumstances of the person seeking public defender representation and an affidavit or declaration signed by such person demonstrating his or her financial inability to obtain legal counsel. See HRS § 802-4. Public defender services will be provided to such persons subject to review by the court. A person waives the right to counsel by refusing to furnish any information pertinent to the determination of indigency.