Who Qualifies

What Types of Cases Qualify

  • All misdemeanors
  • All felonies
  • Summary offenses: all cases in which there is a substantial likelihood that a jail sentence will be imposed, such as
    • Driving under Suspension if Habitual Offender
    • Driving under Suspension DUI-related
  • Summary conviction appeals: appeals from a conviction by MDJ of a summary offense for which the MDJ has imposed a jail sentence
  • DRO - contempt for failure to pay child support if scheduled before a judge
  • ICC - violation of a PFA Order
  • Probation and parole violation hearings
  • Appeals
  • PCRA - only if appointed by the judge
  • For juvenile cases please refer to the 'Juvenile Court' section

What We Need From You to Determine Financial Qualifications

The Public Defender's Office is only permitted to represent those who are indigent and cannot afford an attorney. For this reason, we need to determine whether or not an applicant qualifies for representation by the Public Defender's Office. We base our qualification guidelines on the federal poverty guidelines and look at a number of other factors such as the number of dependents, child support obligations, and ownership of real estate.

When you come in to apply, please bring along the following documentation:

  • Proof of income such as paystubs or a tax return
  • Proof that you receive SSI or welfare
  • Copy of court order directing you to pay child support
  • If you own real estate, a mortgage statement showing the balance of the mortgage
  • Proof of any other major financial debt or assets

The Chief Public Defender will make the final determination of eligibility and may require that you provide further documentation. In addition, if your financial situation changes significantly during the course of the representation, we require that you inform the Office of any such changes.