Although everyone has the right to legal counsel, not everyone has the means to pay for it. In order to better balance the scales of justice, and in response to a key Supreme Court ruling in favor of an indigent defendant unable to afford counsel, states began hiring public defenders, assigned counsel, and contract attorneys. States and localities use these methods of delivering indigent defense services either alone or in combination.
The following resources can help you find a public defender and learn about the rules and procedures in your state. To suggest a resource for this page, please e-mail us.
State Guide to Public Defenders
District of Columbia
Get Help From a Public Defender or Private Attorney
Any time you've been charged with a crime in which your liberty is at stake, like when you're facing incarceration, you'll want legal representation. In fact, it's your constitutional right to such representation. If you can't afford an attorney, a public defender or other legal professionals may be able to help. Contact a local criminal defense attorney to learn more about your options.