Office of Assigned Counsel

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Office of Assigned Counsel

Director: Letty Alvarez-Gubitosi

Standards for Eligibility for Court Appointed Counsel


In RCW 10.101, the legislature finds that effective legal representation should be provided for indigent persons and persons who are indigent and able to contribute, consistent with the constitutional requirements of fairness, equal protection, and due process in all cases where right to counsel attaches.

A person must be looking at potential jail time to be entitled to a public defender for representation.

A determination of indigence shall be made for all persons wishing the appointment of counsel in criminal, juvenile, involuntary commitment, dependency cases and civil contempt of court. Counsel shall be provided to any person who is financially unable to obtain adequate representation without substantial hardship to the person or the person's family.

If a person wants representation for all other civil court matters (divorce, parenting plans, paternity, small claims, etc.) he/she must hire a private attorney to help with the case or resolve the case without counsel.