Does Pennsylvania have public defenders?

The Pennsylvania General Assembly enacted the Public Defender Act in 1968. If a specific office contact is not listed for a county, please contact the your county courthouse, using the general contact information listed, for information on obtaining a public defender in the county. …

How do I get a public defender in PA?

Most criminal cases begin with a preliminary hearing at the District Judge level. You should contact the District Judge office where your preliminary hearing is to be held, inform them that you are requesting a public defender. They will then make the determination as to whether you qualify.

Can I apply for public defender online?

Go to the Online Application to Apply for a Public Defender page on the Public Defender’s website. Click on the document link to open it. Once the document is open, look to the bottom of the screen to see “Open with”. You will have several choices, but choose a pdf reader (i.e., Adobe Reader).

What does a public defender do?

Public defenders are fully licensed lawyers whose sole job is to represent indigent defendants in criminal cases. Because they typically appear in the same courts on a daily basis, public defenders can gain a lot of experience in a short period of time.

Are public defenders free?

Public defenders are appointed to those who cannot afford an attorney. Generally, you must apply for a public defender and a judge must approve your application before appointing an attorney for you. Contrary to what most people think, public defenders are not usually free.

What makes you eligible for a public defender?

To qualify for a public defender, a person must have an income that is no more than 25% above the poverty line, based on the number of people in the household.

Do you have to pay for public defender?

Q: Is a Public Defender free? A: No. An application fee of $50 is required by state law. Also, if you enter a plea or are convicted at trial, the court will enter an order requiring payment of reasonable attorneys’ fees.

Why public defenders are bad?

It Comes Down to Workload The truth is, public defenders get a bad reputation mostly because they’re so overloaded with work. Because everyone has the right to an attorney, public defenders can’t choose which cases they take the way private attorneys can. They must take any and every case they are assigned.