The Department of Public Advocacy is a subdivision of the Kentucky criminal justice system that manages public defenders in the state. Kentucky’s Public Defenders has a mission to ensure that all individuals have access to high quality legal counsel and defense regardless of socioeconomic status. Individuals of all ages who demonstrate an inability to obtain representation on their own may be eligible to receive assistance from a public defender. In order to work with a public defender, a judge must appoint you counsel after determining indigence. The Department of Public Advocacy recommends that all individuals request an attorney or public defender during their first meeting with the judge and before they speak with either investigating officers or the prosecution. Individuals can locate the form required by the court on the Department of Public Advocacy website. This form is mandatory before a public defender will be assigned, so it is important to complete and turn it in as soon as possible.