Frequently Asked Questions

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SMALL_1Monterey County Public Defender

111 W. Alisal Street
Salinas, CA 93901
Tel.: (831) 755-5058 Fax: (831) 755-5873


How do I get a Public Defender Appointed to my case?
Can I speak with a Public Defender if I already have an Attorney?
Can I drop by the Public Defender’s Office for legal advice if the court hasn’t appointed me?
Do clients have to pay for the services of the Public Defender?
What are the staffing levels of the Public Defender’s Office?
Where does the Public Defender get funding?
 
How do I get a Public Defender Appointed to my case?

If you are out of custody the court will make the determination if you qualify for the services of a Public Defender after you have completed a financial declaration, under penalty of perjury. In general, if you are in custody the court will automatically appoint a Public Defender unless you have already retained the services of a Private Attorney. If you have obtained Private Counsel but are unable to afford continued services, notify the court and request that a Public Defender be appointed.   

Can I speak with a Public Defender if I already have an Attorney?  

No. Once you are represented a Public Defender will not speak with you about your case. In special circumstances your attorney may provide a Public Defender with permission to speak with you about your case.  

Can I drop by the Public Defender’s Office for legal advice if the court hasn’t appointed me?

No. Our office welcomes the public to drop by however; the Public Defender is only allowed to represent clients that the court has appointed. If you need general information our office may be able to assist.   

Do clients have to pay for the services of the Public Defender?

Clients who are appointed a Public Defender are required to pay for the services to the extent they are financially able. The Public Defender will provide the court with the costs incurred and the court will make the determination of the client’s financial responsibility.  

What are the staffing levels of the Public Defender’s Office?

Public Defender Staffing Levels, Fiscal Year 2012-13:

  • Administration - 5
  • Legal Defense (Attorneys) - 25
  • Investigations - 7
  • Administration and Legal Support  - 9.5
Where does the Public Defender get funding?

The bulk of funding for the Public Defender comes directly from the County General Fund. A small portion of funds is directly from the clients and state reimbursement programs. The Public Defender is continually researching alternative funding sources.