Public Defense

Our Mission

The Lewis County Public Defense Coordination provides the courts with attorneys to represent persons charged with certain state and county criminal, probation violation, and juvenile offender cases when the person is unable to afford an attorney (indigent).


Qualifying

Lewis County Public Defense Coordination determines whether a person qualifies for the appointment of an attorney at county expense. Individuals who want an attorney appointed must financially qualify according to state statute. A financial statement is completed when the person first appears in court or is in custody. Lewis County Public Defense Coordination then decides whether to appoint an attorney. If an attorney is appointed, a judge may order repayment of the public defense cost at the conclusion of the case.

A person wanting to be screened by Lewis County Public Defense Coordination staff for eligibility for an appointed attorney needs to provide income, debt, and asset (house, vehicle, pension) information.


Representation

Attorneys who provide public defense services are attorneys in private practice who are contracted with the County.

Our mission is to ensure effective and cost-efficient legal representation is available to persons who are eligible for court-appointed counsel, consistent with the Washington and United States Constitutions, laws, and national standards of justice.