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Public Defense

The Office of Public Defense represents Island County's interest and responsibility when providing attorney representation to persons charged with a criminal or dependency action.  The staff of the Office of Public Defense / GSA are not attorneys and will not give legal advice. You 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.

You should schedule a screening appointment with the Office of Public Defense by calling (360) 679-7326.  You will not be meeting with an attorney at this appointment.  The appointment is only to determine if you qualify for a Public Defender. IF WE HAVE NOT SCREENED YOU FOR A PUBLIC DEFENDER AT LEAST 2 WORKING DAYS PRIOR TO YOUR NEXT COURT DATE, WE MAY NOT BE ABLE TO PROVIDE YOU WITH COUNSEL ON THAT COURT DATE.


MONDAY THROUGH FRIDAY (except Island County Holidays)


You should gather the following items before you call for an appointment as you will be required to provide them at 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;

  • Verification of all of your income including employment (2 current pay stubs), unemployment, retirement income, pension income or Labor and Industries income; if married also bring in spouse's income information.  If you are unemployed, you must provide a letter of support from whoever is providing you with shelter, food, transportation, or other support.  These letters must be signed, dated, and have a phone number on them that we can verify

  • Proof of any public assistance you receive (food stamps award letter, financial assistance award letter, current month's medical coupon, etc.);

  • Current 30 day print out for all your bank accounts dated within 3 days of your appointment (it is easiest to get this from a teller at your bank or online);

  • Proof of any child support or court ordered fines that you pay or should pay.

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