Maryland Courts

How to Apply for a Public Defender

Where to Apply?

You may apply at any District Court Commissioner's Office, not just in the county where you go to court.

Resources

Maryland Case Search

Office of the Public Defender

Peoples Law Library A resource for legal help

Pro Bono Resource Center
A resource of free or low cost legal help organizations

When to Apply with a District Court Commissioner

A District Court Commissioner will determine whether you qualify to be represented by the Office of the Public Defender for District Court or Circuit Court criminal cases that carry a penalty of incarceration.

You will be interviewed by a District Court Commissioner and complete a written application, Form DC-099 and release, Form DC-099A. and You will need to provide information about your income, expenses, and assets.

Bring the following papers, along with the DC-099 Application for Representation and DC-099A Informed Consent Release Form, if you have completed ahead of time:

  1. Court charging documents/traffic tickets. (Statement of Charges/all documents issued to you by the Court.)
  2. Trial date notices from the Court. (You may apply even if you haven't received your trial date notice.)
  3. If you are employed: written proof of salary, pay stubs, or other written verification of income for the last two (2) pay periods.
  4. If you are unemployed: proof of public assistance, medical assistance, Social Security or Supplemental Security Income (SSI), or other assistance you are receiving.

When to Apply Directly with the Public Defender

  • Child in Need of Assistance (CINA).
  • Juvenile Court cases.
  • Appellate Court cases.
  • Any case that holds no penalty of incarceration, but has a fine over $500.

Visit the Office of the Public Defender website for District/County Offices www.opd.state.md.us or toll free 1-877-430-5187

District Court Commissioner Locations

Commissioner locations can be found at:

mdcourts.gov/district/directories/commissionermap.html

You may also call 1-833-453-9799 for location information.

You may apply at any District Court Commissioner's Office, not just in the county where you go to court.

Important

If the District Court Commissioner determines that you are eligible, you must go to the Office of the Public Defender, with your written determination of eligibility to be represented by the Public Defender. Failure to do so will mean that you will not be represented by the Public Defender at trial.

IF YOU DO NOT HAVE A LAWYER ON THE TRIAL DATE, YOU MAY HAVE TO GO TO TRIAL WITHOUT THE ASSISTANCE OF A LAWYER.


To Check Your Qualification Status

You may check Maryland Judiciary’s Public Case Search to check your status on the website at: mdcourts.gov/courts/courtrecords.html

maryland flag