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What does the Public Defender do?

The Public Defender's office provides representation to persons accused or convicted of a crime who cannot afford private counsel in the Fourth Judicial District - Washington and Madison counties.  Our goal is to provide effective and impartial defense legal services and to protect the Constitutional rights of defendants.

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How do I get a public defender?

Public defenders are requested and appointed by your Judge during arraignment. The Judge determines if you are eligible for a public defender based on your current financial situation. The Office of the Public Defender is not permitted by law to provide legal advice until officially appointed.

How and when do I meet with my appointed public defender?

You must call the Public Defender's office within two weeks after your arraignment to make an appointment with your attorney. If you do not meet with your attorney to assist in the preparation of your trial, the Judge may revoke your bond and place you in jail until your next court date.

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Can a public defender help with my divorce or child custody?

Public defenders are only appointed for criminal cases including felonies, misdemeanors, and mental health hearings.

Other Information

  • The Washington County Public Defender's office was established in 1974.
  • The office is funded by both the State of Arkansas and Washington County.
  • The office's caseload varies. On average, the office has 390 open felony cases, 400 open misdemeanor cases, and 85 open juvenile cases.

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This website in no way gives legal advice and is for general information only.