Welcome to the King County Department of Public Defense (DPD). We provide legal help to people who are accused of a crime and cannot afford an attorney. We also provide legal help to people who cannot afford an attorney and are facing certain other matters such as juvenile dependency, civil commitment, or civil contempt.
DPD (previously the Office of Public Defense) is a new department within King County. Under an interim structure recently approved by the Metropolitan King County Council, DPD has four divisions, each with its own staff of public defenders, investigators, social workers and paralegals. The county also has a panel of assigned counsel, attorneys who provide legal work for the County on a contractual basis.
The department’s attorneys are highly skilled and dedicated and are committed to ensuring quality legal representation and advocacy for anyone facing a criminal charge, in keeping with both the U.S. Constitution and the state Constitution. DPD staff also tries to help clients address the underlying issues that brought them into the criminal justice system by placing them in drug treatment programs, mental health programs, or other alternatives to incarceration. The department strives to connect clients to a holistic suite of services – from housing to job training – so as to break the cycles that can lead to arrest.
Anyone facing a criminal charge, civil commitment, or a dependency proceeding - and who is found to be income-eligible - is entitled to a public defender, as are children facing contempt of court in truancy proceedings. To find out if you qualify for DPD services see who we serve. Here is where to find out how to get an attorney. Even if you do not qualify for help from DPD, you can still find out about other local low-cost legal resources on our web site.
David K. Chapman
Director, Department of Public Defense