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What are the Guidelines for Determining Eligibility

Determining eligibility for a Public Defender lawyer is based on net income and assets. All applications are done in person with a Client Service Agent. Each District Office operates under different hours, and depending on the office the individual wishes to apply, determines the times applications will be processed (office hours). The Public Defender Department uses Federal Poverty Guidelines to calculate eligibility. The department considers an individual’s net take home pay and the number of dependants in the household as the key factors in determining eligibility.

If it is determined that an individual is not eligible for a lawyer based on income, a reimbursement contract will be offered which allows the individual to receive representation by the Public Defender lawyer at a reduced rate. Contracts are based on a sliding scale and will be determined at the time an application is processed. Some out of pocket expenses may be considered and deducted, but no cost of living expenses will be accepted.