How to Apply

It is important that you apply as soon as you receive any criminal charges filed against you, or at least ten 10 days prior to your scheduled hearing date. It is also important that you apply with the Public Defender's Office from the beginning of your criminal case.

Proceeding Without Counsel

Occasionally, Defendants choose to proceed without counsel, pro se, until they realize that they should have legal counsel, or receive a plea offer that seeks imprisonment as a sanction. It is important for a Defendant to keep in mind that the Pennsylvania Rules of Criminal Procedure contain specific time limitations as to various pre-trial motions and procedures. A Defendant risks not being able to present a full legal defense by not timely seeking the services of the Public Defender's Office.


In Butler County, an individual must complete an application for each new criminal case filed against them. You must call the Public Defender's Office to schedule an appointment and fill out an application in person. The main phone number is 724-284-5335. You must have an appointment!!! Our office hours are from 8:30 am to 4:30 pm. Please refer to the Qualifications page for more specific information. 

Your initial appointment with the Public Defender's Office is to assess an individual's financial qualifications and application and is not to meet with an attorney at this time.