Every accused person has the right to be represented by an attorney in the Joplin Municipal Court. Defendants also have the right to represent themselves without an attorney, but use of a trained, legal, professional to represent accused persons cannot be underestimated and is strongly encouraged by the Court.
In certain cases involving a potential jail sentence, a waiver of counsel form must be executed before a defendant can represent him or herself.
Court-appointed attorneys are NOT an automatic right for all accused persons facing charges in Municipal Court. Defendants seeking a court-appointed attorney or public defender must meet certain legal conditions and financial guidelines established under law and by the Court before a public defender can be appointed. Only a judge can make the determination of whether an accused is to receive a court-appointed attorney.