Public defender

If you’re in the criminal justice system and can’t afford an attorney, the public defender's office can represent you. The public defender helps adults and juveniles accused of criminal offenses, and parents and children involved in child protection cases.

Types of cases you can be represented on

  • Misdemeanors and gross misdemeanors like theft, disorderly conduct, drunk driving, and assault
  • Felonies like murder, burglary, sexual assault, and property and drug offenses
  • Child protection and termination of parental rights

Types of cases the public defender doesn't handle

  • Appeals
  • Violation of prison supervision (parole)
  • Divorces
  • Child custody
  • Civil contempt
  • Other civil matters

If you need help with an appeal, contact

Minnesota State Appellate Defender
540 Fairview Avenue North
St. Paul, MN 55401


State of Minnesota Board of Public Defense

Applying for a public defender

To apply for a public defender, fill out an application at your first appearance. If you are eligible, the judge will appoint a public defender to represent you. A public defender will start working with you at that appearance.

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Adult Division

701 Fourth Avenue South
Suite 1400
Minneapolis, MN 55415

Juvenile Division

525 Portland Avenue South
Suite 1000
Minneapolis, MN 55415

We represent people at these locations

  • Hennepin County Government Center
  • Juvenile Justice Center
  • Suburban courthouses at Southdale, Ridgedale and Brookdale
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