Skip to main content

Do I need to be unemployed to qualify for a public defender?

Whittier, CA |

I called a lawyer and talked about my case and he told me that because I am over the age of 18 and unemployed I qualify for a public defender. But I am in need of a job and my court date isn't until May. I do not want to wait until May just so I can qualify for a public defender.

Attorney Answers 3


You do not need to be unemployed to qualify for the Public defender services. You however may need to pay for their services after your case is closed but that will depend on your financial ability to pay.

Mark as helpful

4 lawyers agree


You don't need to be employed. Whether or not you qualify is another story. I'd call the public defender's office now to inquire. but in all likelihood, you may have to wait until your court date to fill out the application paperwork. Good luck.

Mark as helpful

3 lawyers agree


Every county is different in terms of what is considered indigent in order to qualify for the public defender. Some counties like Sacramento generally do not as to one's financial status and just appoint the PD except in DUI cases. In other counties, they make you fill out a financial declaration signed under penalty of perjury as to your income. I would say if you bring home less than $1,000 gross income a month you would qualify. If you bring home more than that, then they might ask about your obligations - food, rent, car payment, electric and gas bills and if you support anyone other than yourself.

Mark as helpful

2 lawyers agree

Civil rights topics

Recommended articles about Civil rights

What others are asking

Can't find what you're looking for?

Post a free question on our public forum.

Ask a Question

- or -

Search for lawyers by reviews and ratings.

Find a Lawyer

Browse all legal topics