The Mission of the Office of the Public Defender is to provide legal representation to defendants by safeguarding fundamental individual rights and to guarantee protection afforded by the United States Constitution.
The Public Defender handles only criminal proceedings, which include:
Common Pleas Court Trial, from pretrial motions through post-trial motions
Criminal extradition proceedings
Critical pretrial identification proceedings
Juvenile delinquency proceedings
PFA contempt hearings
Post conviction proceedings at both the trial and appellate levels
Probation and parole proceedings, including revocation thereof
State habeas corpus proceedings
Superior Court and Pennsylvania Supreme Court appeals
And any other situation where representation is constitutionally required
Right to Counsel
Every person arrested or accused of an offense in Pennsylvania has the right to the assistance of counsel for his defense. The right to counsel includes the right to representation even if the accused is indigent and cannot afford counsel.
Although entitled to free counsel, an indigent defendant does not have the right to defense counsel of his/her choice.
In a prosecution for a summary offense, which carries a fine but not a jail sentence an indigent defendant is not entitled to court-appointed counsel. This is true even if a (payment of the fine could result in imprisonment).