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Criminal Cases

 How to obtain a Court Appointed Attorney

You may be entitled to a Court Appointed Attorney at public expense if you qualify as an indigent person and have been charged with a crime for which you may be sentenced to jail or prison if convicted. An indigent person is one who cannot hire an attorney without causing substantial hardship to himself/herself or dependent family. In addition, a court appointed attorney may be requested in a juvenile dependency (abuse or neglect), termination of parental rights, or juvenile delinquency proceedings. Persons who are involved in a civil proceeding, such as a divorce, personal injury, landlord/tenant or employment cases are not eligible for legal representation at state expense.
If you have been charged with a crime, you may request Court Appointed Attorney at your first court appearance. If you qualify, an attorney will be appointed for you. There is typically a $20 application fee, dependent upon financial eligibility, plus any contribution amounts that may be applicable. If you are convicted of a crime, the court may require you to repay some or all of the cost of your Court Appointed Attorney if it determines you are able.

Application Process

If you would like to apply for court appointed attorney, you will need to complete an Affidavit   of Eligibility. You must provide the court with information about income and assets for both yourself, your spouse or Registered Domestic Partner, and any legal dependents in your household

  • You will be asked to sign a Release of Information form to allow the court to verify your information including employment, public benefits, and account information.
  • The court may require proof of the information provided including pay stubs, bank statements, and mortgage or lease information.
  • You will be asked for your Social Security Number for verification and collection purposes. You are not required to provide your SSN and cannot be denied appointed counsel if you do not provide it.
  • Your financial information is confidential and will not be viewable by the public. The court may provide the information to an outside collection agency and/or the Oregon Department of Revenue if necessary.
  • If the court has reason to believe you knowingly provided false information, your financial statement may be sent to the district attorney. Criminal charges may be filed, your appointed attorney may be withdrawn, and you may be required to repay the cost to the state of providing court-appointed counsel.

The preferred way to complete your application is using the online form on Odyssey Guide & File:

You may apply BEFORE your arraignment date.

If you are unable to access the online application, you may print the forms below or get a packet from the Trial Court Administrator’s front counter: Monday – Thursday 8:30 am – 4:00 pm.,  Friday 8:30 am – 1:00 pm.

Please return your completed Application to the Columbia County courthouse at 230 Strand   Street, St. Helens, OR 97051. 

You may mail the original document to the address above, or place it in the drop-box, located by the stairs in the front lobby.

A court clerk will follow-up with you regarding your Application, you will be contacted by phone. Please ensure that you have listed the correct phone number on your Application.

If you have any further questions, you may contact the court verifier at (503) 397-2327 ext. 70129. Phone hours are Monday-Friday 8:30 am – 4:00 pm.

Forms for Requesting a Court Appointed Attorney

Set aside (expungement) of arrest and criminal court records

Release Agreement