Online Application Instructions

To find out if you qualify for legal representation by the Public Defender's Office, fill out the online application below. Please read the following instructions carefully.

If you are unable to complete the online application for any reason, the Public Defender's Office accepts telephone and walk-in qualifications Monday through Friday, 8:30 a.m. - 3:30 p.m.

In-person applicants: No appointment is necessary. You will be seen on a first come, first -served basis. Bring your Court paperwork with you.

Telephone qualification: please call 412-350-2401 between the hours of 8:30 and 4 p.m. Please have all your Court paperwork available.

For any questions about the online application, telephone application, or walk-in qualification process, call 412-350-2401.

Before Applying

You must have either your Docket Sheet number or your Offense Tracking Number (OTN) to complete the application. Applications without these numbers will not be accepted. Where to find these numbers(PDF, 65KB).

Don't have your Court paperwork? Search for your case. Choose "Participant Name" from the drop-down menu, then choose "Allegheny" for county, fill out your last and first names, and click Search. Write down the OTN or Docket Number. You will need it for the online application.

You must have an active email address that you are able to access in order to apply.

Submit your application at least three business days before your next Court date, or it will be rejected. If it is less than three business days from your next Court date, go to Court and ask for a continuance to obtain an attorney. Examples of three days:

  • If you call on Monday, the Public Defender can be available for a hearing scheduled on Thursday.
  • If you call on Thursday, the Public Defender can be available for a hearing scheduled on the following Tuesday.
2024 (175%) Federal Poverty Guidelines
Household Size Annual Income
1 26,355
2 35,770
3 45,185
4 54,600
5 64,015
6 73,430
7 82,845
8 92,260
9 101,675
10 111,090
11 119,430
12 129,920
13 139,335

After Applying

After submitting your application, a member of the intake team will review it. A completed application does not mean you have qualified for an attorney.

You will receive one automated email indicating the application was received, and a second automated email within three business days indicating whether you were approved or rejected for representation.

Please do not call the Public Defender's Office until three business days have passed. The Office will not have any updates while your application is under review.

When Not to Apply Online

The online application is available only for adults actively facing criminal charges and is to be filled out only by the person actively facing charges. Please do not submit an application on behalf of someone else.

To seek assistance for a friend or family member, call 412-350-2401.

For legal representation of a juvenile, call 412-350-3504.

For legal representation for an Indirect Criminal Contempt Complaint for Violation of Protection from Abuse Order, call 412-350-2401.

For legal representation to appeal a conviction, call 412-350-2403.

The Public Defender's Office cannot assist with landlord/tenant issues, child custody disputes, or lawsuits. If you are not facing criminal charges and need the assistance of an attorney, consider contacting Neighborhood Legal Services or the Allegheny County Bar Association.

Application Checklist

Applicants who meet the conditions above must make sure to have the following:

  • Either the Docket Sheet or OTN number
  • An active email address
  • At least three business days before the Court date

Apply Online