You have the right to have an attorney represent you on any criminal charge. If you cannot afford an attorney, you may qualify for the appointment of a public defender. Eligibility for a public defender is determined through a financial application and review. You must qualify as indigent under Washington State law, RCW 10.101.
A person who is indigent:
- Receives public assistance (temporary assistance for needy families; aged, blind or disabled assistance benefits; medical care services under RCW 74.09.035; pregnant women assistance benefits, poverty-related veterans' benefits, food stamps or food stamp benefits transferred electronically, refugee resettlement benefits, Medicaid, or supplemental security income); or
- Is involuntarily committed to a public mental health facility; or
- Receives an annual income, after taxes, of 125 percent or less of the current federally established poverty level; or
- Is unable to pay the anticipated cost of an attorney for the matter before the court because the available funds are insufficient to pay any amount to hire an attorney.
If you are found to be indigent, your case will be assigned to one of the following public defenders:
If you do not qualify for a public defender, you will need to hire an attorney on your own. Please visit the King County Public Defense Resources page for more information on other legal resources.