Eligibility Requirements for DPD Services
DPD provides attorneys to those people facing the possibility of jail time or of losing their children in King County Superior or District Court who qualify based upon their financial status.
To receive an attorney, you must qualify as indigent under Washington State law. According to 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 (external); OR
- Is unable to pay the anticipated cost of counsel for the matter before the court because the available funds are insufficient to pay any amount for the retention of counsel.
DPD only provides attorneys to people facing certain charges. You may apply for a public defender if you have been charged with:
- a felony in King County Superior Court, Domestic Violence Court or Drug Diversion Court;
- a misdemeanor in King County District Court, Domestic Violence Court, King County Mental Health Court;
- a juvenile offense in King County Superior Court or Juvenile Drug Court or a Becca case in King County Superior Court; or
- Contempt of Court for failing to pay child support in King County Superior Court.
You may also apply for a public defender if:
- The state Department of Social and Health Services has taken away your children in a dependency action in King County Superior Court;
- you are filing a misdemeanor appeal in King County Superior Court; or
- you have been involuntarily committed to a mental health facility.
DPD does not provide attorneys for:
- civil lawsuits
- divorce cases
- child support hearings
- traffic infractions
- other civil matters or non-criminal charges
- cases filed outside of King County
If you do not qualify for a public defender for any reason, please see our Resource Links for information on other free or low-cost legal resources in the area.
If you have any questions about whether you would qualify for an attorney, call 206-296-7662, email firstname.lastname@example.org, or stop by one of our offices for an interview. No appointment is necessary. Office times and locations are listed here.