County of Ventura

Since 1968


Does the Public Defender work on my type of case?

Most of our clients need our help in one of the following:

  •  Criminal Defense: Defense of both indigent adults and minors who are charged with a crime.  We also defend someone accused of violating probation and/or parole.
  • Guardianship or Conservatorship:  Some people are not mentally able to represent themselves in legal matters, such as in court or for forced medical treatment.  Our attorneys can represent them and help protect their rights.
  • We do not represent people charged with “infractions”, like traffic tickets.  These are not crimes.

Am I financially eligible to get a Public Defender?

This depends upon your income, assets, expenses, and type(s) of charges.  During your first court appearance you can apply.   You will fill out a financial information sheet (we call it “the green sheet”).  That will help us decide if you qualify for our services.  By statute, our office may only represent those persons accused of crimes who cannot afford to hire their own attorney.  Representation for guardianship or conservatorship matters is based upon statute.

When do I meet my Public Defender?

There will be a Public Defender in court for you on your first court date. Usually that attorney will not be your permanent Public Defender.  It takes a few days for your case to be assigned to your personal Public Defender.

Are Public Defenders lawyers?

Yes.  “Lawyer” and “attorney” means the same thing in California.  A Public Defender must take and pass the same legal and ethics tests as any other California attorney.  All of them work only on criminal defense or guardianship/conservatorship cases.   For that reason we are the most experienced law firm in Ventura County in these areas of law.

Will I have to pay for the Public Defender?

Yes.  All clients must pay at least $50.  After that, it depends.  All of our adult clients are expected to pay for Public Defender services, based on their income, assets and expenses.  After the case is over, a judge can legally order you to pay more money to the Public Defender.  This is usually based on how much time they spent on your case.  But, if Public Defender fees are assessed you are entitled to a hearing on your ability to pay any ordered fees.  Many times Public Defender fees are ordered for less than $300.00.

Can I get a Public Defender if I don’t live in Ventura County?


Yes.  If the crime that you are accused of happened anywhere in Ventura County, we can represent    you, even if you live in another county, state or country.

Will the Public Defender talk about my case with my family or friends?

Not without your permission.  All of the information that you give us is confidential.  However, if you let us, we will speak to your family about some parts of your case.  We may advise you not to talk to anyone except the Public Defender about your case.  This includes family and friends.

What does it mean to be put on probation?

Probation is a contract between you and the judge after you have been convicted of, or plead guilty to, a crime.  Instead of additional jail/prison time, the judge may agree to let you be “on probation”.  During probation you must obey all laws, be supervised by a probation officer and meet any other conditions ordered by the judge.   If you break the agreement, you can go to jail/prison.  There are different types of probation, depending on the crime you are convicted of.  

Frequenty Asked Questions

    Visit  Us                         Office Hours: Mon -Fri 8:00 - 5:00 PM

Hall of Justice

800 S. Victoria Avenue

Room # 207

Ventura, CA 93009

(805) 654-2201

Juvenile Justice Center

4353 Vineyard Room #296

Oxnard, CA  93033

(805) 981-5990

       Contact us

Staff Directory

Paralegal Walk in Hours

8:30 am  to 11: 00 am

1:30 pm  to 4:00 pm

Public Defender   County of Ventura