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We provide legal representation to people who have been charged with a crime and cannot afford an attorney. We also represent youth, people facing civil commitment, people who could lose their children in a dependency petition, and others in need of legal advocacy who cannot afford an attorney.

Screening services now available by phone!

If you'd like to apply for a public defender, you can now do so by phone. Call 206-477-9727 to talk to one of DPD's interviewers, who will screen you to see if you qualify. Screening services are available from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday. You can also screen in person. Come to Room E-820 at the King County Courthouse, 516 3rd Avenue, in Seattle, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Mondays and Wednesdays. Come to Room 1B at the Maleng Regional Justice Center, 401 4th Ave. N., in Kent, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesdays and Wednesdays. For more information about how to screen for an attorney, visit this page.

The Department of Public Defense (DPD) provides quality legal representation and advocacy to people in need of legal help in King County and the city of Seattle. Generally speaking, anyone facing a criminal charge, civil commitment, or a dependency proceeding - and who is found to be income-eligible and in the jurisdictions DPD covers - is entitled to a public defender, as are children facing contempt of court in truancy proceedings.

Our attorneys are highly skilled and dedicated to making sure you get the defense promised by both the U.S. Constitution and the state Constitution. DPD staff also tries to help clients address what brought them into the criminal justice system: We can connect people with drug treatment programs, mental health services, or other alternatives to incarceration, as well as programs from housing to job training. We work with people to break the cycles that can lead to arrest. In 2015, DPD represented more than 15,000 clients.  


DPD provides on-call attorney services 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Call 206-477-8899. This service is available to anyone in custody in King County or under investigation who is seeking the advice of an attorney. It is also available to a police agency seeking the involvement of legal counsel.

Interim King County Public Defender
Anita Khandelwal

If you'd like to invite Anita or someone else from the Department of Public Defense to speak to your organization, please send your request to DPD at