Important notice regarding applying for a Public Defender and coronavirus: To help protect your health and the health of our staff, if you are out of custody and are able to do so, please submit your application for a Public Defender via email, fax or by United States Mail rather than in person. Click here for a pdf form version of the application that can be filled out with Adobe Acrobat Reader (in Spanish) and emailed to the appropriate office. Contact information for each Public Defender Office is listed on the Public Defender Offices page of our website.
Note: If your only way to access the internet is through a smartphone, you can still fill out the application. First, download the “Adobe Fill & Sign” app from the app store on your phone. Next, touch and hold the link above for the application and choose the download option; open the Adobe Fill & Sign app, navigate to the downloaded application, then fill out and sign the application in that app; finally use the share feature in the app to email the application to the appropriate office. (On an iPhone the share button is a box with an arrow pointing up; on an android it is this symbol < with dots in the corners.)
Adult Charges and Revocations
In-Custody: If you are in custody and felony or misdemeanor charges have been filed or you have a court date for a revocation, you are automatically eligible for court-appointed representation. If you are released from custody after counsel has been appointed, you must fill out the Application for Public Defender/Court Appointed Counsel in a Criminal Case JDF208 (in Spanish). If you fail to timely complete an application, the court-appointed counsel may withdraw from your case.
Out-of-Custody: You may apply for court-appointed counsel at any Public Defenders Office regardless of where your charges were filed. For a list of the Public Defenders 21 state-wide regional offices and contact information for those offices see the Public Defender Offices page.
To apply for court-appointed counsel, you must fill out each section of the Application for Public Defender/Court Appointed Counsel in a Criminal Case, JDF208 (in Spanish). Proof of your gross (before taxes) household income must be provided which may include pay stubs, income tax returns, letters from employers, or award letters from SSI or unemployment. Household income includes documentation from any family member living in the household who is working and contributing to the common support of the household. It does not include a roommate’s income unless you have access to and proprietary rights in your roommate’s income. Please refer to form JDF208 for more information regarding the required financial documentation.
When applying for representation, in addition to your financial information, you should also provide all paperwork you have received regarding the case, including charging documents.
In-Detention: If you have been detained by law enforcement and placed in a detention facility rather than being issued a summons or ticket, you will be represented by court appointed counsel at your detention hearing if your parents do not hire private counsel to represent you. To continue this representation after the detention hearing, your parents, guardians or legal custodians must complete the Application for Public Defender/Court-Appointed Counsel in a Juvenile Delinquency Case, JDF219 (in Spanish).
Issued a Summons/Ticket: If you were not detained but instead were issued a summons or a ticket, you should apply for the Public Defenders at least 5 days before your scheduled court date which is noted on your ticket. Contact information for the Public Defender’s office should be on the back of the ticket you were issued.
To apply for court appointed counsel, your parents, guardians or legal custodian must complete the Application for Public Defender/Court-Appointed Counsel in a Juvenile Delinquency Case, JDF219 (in Spanish). Proof of parental/guardian/custodian/juvenile income must be provided which may include pay stubs, income tax returns, letters from employers, or award letters from SSI or unemployment. Please refer to form JDF219 (in Spanish) for more information regarding the required financial documentation.
When applying for representation, in addition to your financial information, you should also provide all paperwork you have received regarding the case.