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King County Department of Public Defense

King County Department of Public Defense

An independent voice advocating for our clients' dignity and objectives

The Department of Public Defense (DPD) provides legal representation to adults and juveniles who have been charged with a crime and cannot afford an attorney, as well as people facing civil commitment, parents who could lose their children in a dependency action, and family members in inquest proceedings. DPD also works with partners to address racial disproportionality in the criminal legal system, the collateral consequences of system involvement, and other structural and systemic issues that harm our clients.

In 2022, DPD attorneys represented more than 14,000 individuals in King County courts and Seattle Municipal Court and handled more than 18,000 assignments. Read more about DPD's work in its 2022 annual report.


Legal services and advocacy

DPD provides legal services to adults and youth charged with a crime or facing another potential loss of liberty. Learn if you qualify. 


Employment and internships

DPD is an excellent place to work. We hire people who have a passion for indigent defense and a commitment to fight for justice.


Policy and partnerships

DPD works with partners to dismantle a harmful and racist system and to develop pathways that allow our clients to succeed.

Videos by DPD

If Your Loved One Is Incarcerated

Jails are frightening, and the legal system is confusing. This video walks you through the first few days of incarceration so that you're better able to support a loved one who has been arrested and put in jail. And visit this page on our website for more information about jail, the legal system, and how you can help your loved one. The video is available with Spanish subtitles. To view it with Spanish subtitles, click “cc” at the bottom of the screen. Then click the gear symbol (or settings). Choose “subtitles,” then choose “Spanish.”

Este video está disponible con subtítulos en español. Para verlo con subtítulos en español, haga clic en “cc” en el fondo de la pantalla. A continuacion, haga clic en el símbolo del engranaje (o ajustes). Elija «subtítulos» y, a continuación, elija «Español».

What to Do If Your Child Is Removed by CPS

One of the most painful experiences a parent can face is the removal of their child by CPS. DPD's video explores this difficult issue, profiling two parents who experienced both removal and reunification and who have guidance to offer others as a result. 

Know Your Rights!

This video features three young people delivering a powerful message born of their own experiences in King County. When stopped by the police, they urge viewers, ask if you're free to leave. If you're not, ask for a lawyer, then stay quiet. 


We can help you! 

Financial Interviews


If you have been charged with a crime or are facing another legal issue, you may qualify for a public defender. Contact us for a financial interview -- also called a screening -- to see if you qualify. Note: Due to COVID-19, we are only conducting interviews by phone. Call 206-477-9727 Monday to Friday, from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. To make inquiries regarding screening, you may email Appointments are not necessary.

On-Call Attorney Advice

206-296-7662 (during business hours)
206-477-8899 (weekends and evenings)

The Department of Public Defense provides on-call attorney services seven days a week. If it is after normal business hours and the police want to question you or you're facing another situation that requires immediate legal help, call 206-477-8899. During business hours, please call our main office at 206-296-7662.

Drug convictions 

If you've been convicted of a drug crime in Washington state, that conviction may no longer be valid, thanks to a recent State Supreme Court decision (State v. Blake). Public defenders at DPD can help people in King County with drug-related convictions. Go here to learn more.

Juvenile Records Sealing


Public defenders can help people who have juvenile records. DPD works with clients to get their name off of the sex registry for juvenile offenses and to have their juvenile records sealed. DPD can also help to lower the amount of money owed on a juvenile case so that those records can be sealed. Call 206-477-9727 Monday to Friday, from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., to learn more. Read a flyer about this service.

Contact your attorney

Need to talk to your attorney? If you know your attorney's name, you can find their direct number by going to the King County Employee Directory and entering their first and last name into the search window. Most attorneys are listed. If you can't remember your attorney's name, call DPD at 206-296-7662, and we'll help you figure it out. 


King County Public Defender
Anita Khandelwal

If you'd like to invite Anita to speak to your organization, please email DPD at Visit this page to read a brief bio about Anita and to learn about the members of her management team.

For media inquiries, please contact William Casey, communications manager, at 206-477-9215 or at