How to Get a Public Defender to Represent You
The Public Defender's Office does NOT decide who it will or will not represent.
You must apply for a public defender at Pre-Trial Services if you desire a public defender for:
- Any adult criminal charge that is filed in Spokane County Superior or District Court.
- A felony probation violation
- A felony legal financial obligation (LFO)
- Adult misdemeanor, or misdemeanor "show cause" matters.
The Pre-Trial Services office is located on the second floor of the Public Safety Building. This is north across the courtyard behind the main courthouse. The phone number is 477-3960. You can find the Public Safety Building on the map of the courthouse campus.
The process can be lengthy so if you are bringing young children with you we suggest that you contact the Children's Waiting Room by calling 477-6815 to arrange for free childcare. The Children's Waiting Room is located in the Broadway Center Building at 1120 W Broadway (diagonally across from the Courthouse).
Typically, Pre-Trial Services does not accept applications over the phone, and will not appoint a public defender if you are not formally charged with a crime. If you are in jail, a representative of Pre-Trial Services will automatically come to jail and ask if you wish to apply for a public defender.
Pre-Trial Services will ask a series of questions about your employment, household size, monthly bills and assets. None of this information can or will be provided to the prosecutor.
It is very helpful if you bring any court paperwork with you when you apply for a public defender and please do so before your first court date.
For All Other Cases
For other kinds of cases, there is a different process for getting a public defender:
- If you are charged with a crime in juvenile court, and are under age 18, you will automatically be appointed a public defender. You do not need to apply.
- If you need an attorney in a dependency case, the judge in your case, at your first court date, will assist you with an application.
- In a civil commitment case, you do not have to apply for a public defender. The judge will appoint one.
- In Truancy contempt cases, the judge will automatically appoint a public defender for the youth.
- To get a public defender in At Risk Youth (ARY) or Children in Need of Services (CHINS) cases you should either call the Juvenile Court Facilitator at 477-2459, or ask the judge at your first court date
REMEMBER: IF YOU HAVE A COURT DATE, YOU MUST APPEAR AT THAT COURT DATE EVEN IF YOU HAVE NOT ARRANGED FOR A PUBLIC DEFENDER YET