Eligibility requirements for OPD services
OPD 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, general assistance, poverty-relate 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% 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.
- When you come in for a financial interview, an OPD screener will determine whether or not you meet these qualifications. You should bring all your financial paperwork with you, including: paycheck stubs from the last three months, last year's tax returns and your most recent bank statement, or any items that show you are receiving public assistance or unemployment compensation.
OPD 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, Shoreline Municipal Court, Kenmore Municipal Court, or Redmond Municipal Court
- a juvenile offense in King County Superior Court or Juvenile Drug Court a Becca case in King County Superior Court
- Contempt of Court for failing to pay child support in King County Superior Court
You may also apply for a public defender if:
- DSHS/CPS 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
- you have been involuntarily committed to a mental health facility
OPD 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 email@example.com, or stop by one of our offices for an interview. No appointment is necessary.Office times and locations are listed here.