Who Can Get a Public Defender?

To be appointed a public defender, you must meet BOTH FINANCIAL ELIGIBILITY AND CASE ELIGIBILITY standards. Financial Eligibility To be appointed a public defender, you must be considered "indigent." The following circumstances meet Washington indigency standards pursuant to RCW 10.101

  • You receive public assistance (temporary assistance for needy families, general assistance, poverty-relate veterans' benefits, food stamps or food stamp benefits transferred electronically, refugee resettlement benefits, Medicaid, or supplemental security income); OR
  • You are involuntarily committed to a public mental health facility; OR
  • You receive an annual income, after taxes, of 125% or less of the current federally established poverty level; OR
  • You are unable to pay the anticipated cost of counsel for the matter before the court because the available funds are insufficient to pay any amount for the retention of counsel.
  • When you are screened for indigency, make sure to follow instructions and to bring any documents requested by the screening authority.

Show All Answers

1. Who Can Get a Public Defender?
2. How do I apply for a Public Defense?
3. I have a warrant. What are my options?
4. I don’t like my public defender. What can I do?
5. What are my rights when charged with a crime?