According to the courts if you’re considered an indigent defendant you’re entitled to an appointed attorney.
Under federal law the right to appointment is dependent on a deprivation of liberty.
In Alabama v. Shelton, a 2002 U.S. Supreme Court case where the defendant plead guilty and granted probation in lieu of a jail sentence was unconstitutionally deprived of counsel at state expense on the theory that probation might later be revoked, resulting in an actual deprivation of liberty.
This means that if you’re facing a term of confinement you can have an attorney appointed if you cannot afford one.
A defendant is authorized to have counsel appointed if the charge could result in confinement or any other proceedings that the court deems an attorney is necessary.
[Tex. Code Crim. Proc. Art. 1.051(c)]. The procedure the courts must use in appointing counsel is outlined in Tex. Code Crim. Proc. Art. 26.04.
Next article – How Long Must I Wait to be Appointed Counsel?