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Welcome To The Public Defender's Office

Welcome To The Public Defender's Office

Mission Statement 

The mission of the Public Defender is to provide responsible representation of indigent persons charged with crimes, including juveniles charged with delinquency.

Department Operations

For health & safety reasons, the Berks County Public Defender's Office temporarily will only allow applicants and clients to enter the Public Defender's Office.  If you are not in custody, and would like to apply for legal representation, you may do so in person between the hours of 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Monday through Friday or online by clicking the "Online Application to Apply for a Public Defender" link on the left navigation bar.  For in custody applicants, the Berks County Public Defender's Office will take applications at the Berks County Jail System.

About the Department

Under the Public Defender Act, each county except Philadelphia County, shall fund a Public Defender’s system.

Under the Act, the Chief Public Defender and Assistant Public Defenders shall be attorneys at law admitted to practice before the Superior and Supreme Courts of the Commonwealth of PA.

Pursuant to the Public Defender Act, the Berks County Commissioners have funded the Berks County Public Defenders’ Office.

The County Commissioners have appointed a Chief Public Defender. The Chief Public Defender, with the approval of the County Commissioners, has appointed Assistant Public Defenders’ and support staff to perform the duties of the office.

Pursuant to the Public Defender Act, the Berks County Public Defender provides legal counsel to any indigent person in the following type of cases:

  1. Juvenile delinquency;
  2. Preliminary Hearings;
  3. State trials;
  4. Appeals;
  5. Parole proceedings;
  6. Extradition; and
  7. Any situation where representation is constitutionally required.

The Berks County Public Defender’s Office also provides legal counsel to persons subject to mental health commitment proceedings.

Every person that requests Berks County Public Defender representation shall provide, under verification, financial information on a written application. The Berks County Public Defender after being satisfied that the person is indigent shall provide counsel.