Washington State Poverty Guidelines
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services publishes an annual update of the federal poverty guidelines. RCW 10.101.010(3) provides one definition of indigency as, “Receiving an annual income, after taxes, of one hundred twenty-five percent or less of the current federally established poverty level.”
Court Indigency Screening
OPD, pursuant to RCW 10.101.020 (6), has developed a sample Indigency Screening Form for use by the local trial courts or courts' designee in the determination of indigency. The sample form below has been updated to reflect recent changes in the law.
Cost to Retain Private Counsel (2020)
In reviewing whether a person is indigent and eligible for public defense services, courts and indigency screeners are to consider, among other things, the usual and customary charges of an attorney in the community for rendering services; RCW 10.101.020 (2). Based on a 2020 survey of private criminal defense attorneys, OPD provides statewide average private fee information as a tool for courts/screeners who may not have collected private fee information specific to their community.
Criteria and Standards for Determining and Verifying Indigency
The enabling statute for the Washington State Office of Public Defense (OPD) requires the agency to periodically report to the Legislature on the criteria and process for determining whether a person is indigent and eligible for a public defense attorney.
Statutes and Court Rules related to Indigency Screening
- RCW 10.101-Definitions
- RCW 10.101.020-Determination of Indigency (generally)
- RCW 10.73.150-Right to Counsel (criminal appeals)
- RCW 13.34.090-Rights under Chapter Proceedings (dependency/termination cases)
- RCW 71.05.360-Rights of Involuntarily Detained Persons
- RCW 71.09.040-SVP Petitions-Probable Cause Hearings
- Rule CrR 3.1- Right to and Assignment of Lawyer
- Rule CrRLJ 3.1-Right to and Assignment of Lawyer
- Rule JuCR 9.2-Additional Right to Representation by Lawyer
- RAP Rule 15.2-Determination of Indigency and Rights of Indigent Parties