Public Defense

Island County is seeking to contract legal services for conflict counsel when the primary provider is unable to provide counsel:  Download request for Proposal

Island County's Office of Public Defense has the responsibility of providing attorney representation for indigent persons facing criminal charges.  The sole responsibility of staff in the Office of Public Defense is to screen applicants to determine eligibility and assign counsel should they qualify. Staff members are not attorneys and cannot not give legal advice or hear information about a case. An applicant must meet certain financial guidelines to qualify for a Public Defender.  If you qualify for a Public Defender, an attorney will be appointed to represent you for your current case in Superior, Juvenile or District Court.

A financial interview is required to see if you are eligible for a Public Defender. These interviews, also called financial screenings, are done over the phone. To screen, call 360-679-7326. Interviewers are available by phone from 8 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Monday-Friday.

The following information will be needed when calling for a screening:

  • Your criminal citation, notice and summons and paperwork that you receive from the court which contains your charge(s), case number(s) and court dates.
  • Current pay stubs: unemployment, retirement income, pension income or Labor and Industries income, if also married you must have your spouse's income information.
  • If you are unemployed, you must provide information about whoever is providing you with shelter, food, transportation, or other support.
  • Any public assistance you receive (food stamps award letter, financial assistance award letter, current month's medical coupon, etc.).
  • Bank account information (it is easiest to get this from a teller at your bank or online).
  • Child support or court ordered fines that you pay or should pay.

Applicants MUST re-apply for public defense representation each time that you are charged with a new criminal offense or if you're Public Defender withdraws from your case because a warrant is issued, and you get a new court date.