How to get an attorney
Here are a few more things you should know about the screening process.
The screening is a financial interview to see if you are financially eligible for a public defender. At the interview, either over the phone or in person, an DPD screener will ask you questions about your financial situation.
The DPD screener will determine if you qualify for a public defender.
- If you are found indigent, it means you cannot afford an attorney. You will be assigned to a public defense division.
- If you are found able to contribute, it means you have enough money that you cannot be found indigent, but you do not have enough money to hire a private attorney. You will be assigned to a public defense division, but you will be asked to sign a promissory note. The note means that you will make payments to help pay for your attorney. King County will send you a monthly bill, giving you up to 12 months to pay for your attorney.
- If you are found not indigent, it means you do not qualify for a public defender. In this case, you must hire an attorney on your own. Please see the resources page for places to find legal help in the area.
If you are assigned to a public defender division, call the division four business days after your interview to find out the name of your attorney.
Make sure you show up at your scheduled hearing. There will be an attorney there to represent you.
The screener is not an attorney and cannot give you legal advice.