Public Defender services are provided by offices located in most counties in the state to people charged with a crime who cannot afford to hire a private lawyer. Public Defender services are available to people who qualify regardless of whether they are in jail or out of jail.

If you need a lawyer in a criminal case and cannot afford one, you should contact your local Public Defender Office. To find the number for your local Public Defender, look in the telephone book under County Government and find the listing for Public Defender. In determining whether you are eligible for a Public Defender, your income, size of family and special financial needs are considered as well as the type of crime that you are charged with. Your local Public Defender will make the determination and tell you if you qualify for their services.

This information was prepared to give you some general information on the law. It is not intended as legal advice about any particular problem. If you have questions about the law you should consult a lawyer. If you do not know a lawyer, you can call the South Carolina Bar Lawyer Referral Service weekdays between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. The number is 799-7100.