. Frequently Asked Questions – Alternate Public Defender Website
What is an Alternate Public Defender?

An Alternate Public Defender is an attorney employed by the County of Los Angeles and assigned to the Alternate Public Defender's Office. APD attorneys represent persons charged with a crime who cannot afford to hire a private attorney and where the Public Defender has a conflict of interest. This situation most typically arises where more than one person is charged with a crime in the same case. The Public Defender can only represent one person in those types of cases since each person charged with a crime is entitled to have their own lawyer devoted to protecting their interests in the case. If the other person or persons are indigent, the court must appoint other counsel to represent them and that is typically an Alternate Public Defender.

What is the difference between an Alternate Public Defender and a Public Defender?

The Alternate Public Defenders Office is a second public defender office created by the County Board of Supervisors to handle cases where the regular Public Defenders Office has a conflict of interest. An Alternate Public Defender (“APD”) is an attorney who works for and handles cases assigned to the Alternate Public Defenders Office. A Public Defender (“PD) is an attorney who works for and handles cases assigned to the Public Defender’s Office. Both are highly qualified, trained attorneys who specialize in criminal defense. All APD and PD lawyers have completed law school, passed the California State Bar exam and are licensed by the State Bar to practice law in California.

How do I get an Alternate Public Defender to represent me?

You can only get an APD attorney to represent you if you are: 1) charged with a crime; and 2) cannot afford to hire a private attorney; and 3) the Public Defender cannot represent you due to a conflict of interest. APD attorneys cannot be hired to handle your case.

How do I contact my APD attorney?

Call our main number at 213-974-6626 and you will be put in contact with your attorney. Or, click on "Office Locations" to find the address and local phone number for the office handling your case. You can also email us Info@apd.lacounty.gov / Helpdesk@apd.lacounty.gov

How do I contact my attorney if they work for the Public Defenders Office?

We cannot place you in direct contact with your attorney in the public defender’s office, but you can call their main number at 213-974-2811.

Where can I find general information about the Los Angeles County criminal courts?

The Los Angeles County Superior Court website provides information about court resources and services.  The website can be found below:

http://www.lacourt.org/division/criminal/criminal.aspx

http://www.lacourt.org/division/criminal/CR0010.aspx