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Public Defense

The Office of Public Defense represents Island County's interest and responsibility when providing attorney representation to indigent 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.

DUE TO THE COVID-19 VIRUS, ALL SCREENINGS WILL TAKE PLACE OVER THE PHONE

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

You should gather the following items before you call:

  • 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 married also 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.

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.