Welcome to the County of Berks
Welcome to the Public Defender's Office

DEPARTMENTAL OPERATIONS:

For health & safety reasons, the Berks County Public Defender's Office, with the approval of the county, temporarily will only allow applicants and clients to enter the Public Defender's Office.  If you are not in custody, and would like to apply for legal representation, you may do so in person between the hours of 8:00 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Monday through Friday or online by clicking the "Online Application to Apply for a Public Defender" link on the left navigation bar.  For in custody applicants, the Berks County Public Defender's Office will take applications at the Berks County Jail System.
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Glenn D. Welsh, Chief Public Defender
 
The mission of the Public Defender is to provide responsible representation of indigent persons charged with crimes, including juveniles charged with delinquency.
 
About the Department
 
Under the Public Defender Act, each county except Philadelphia County, shall fund a Public Defender’s system.
 
Under the Act, the Chief Public Defender and Assistant Public Defenders shall be attorneys at law admitted to practice before the Superior and Supreme Courts of the Commonwealth of PA.
 
Pursuant to the Public Defender Act, the Berks County Commissioners have funded the Berks County Public Defenders’ Office.
 
The County Commissioners have appointed a Chief Public Defender. The Chief Public Defender, with the approval of the County Commissioners, has appointed Assistant Public Defenders’ and support staff to perform the duties of the office.
 
Pursuant to the Public Defender Act, the Berks County Public Defender provides legal counsel to any indigent person in the following type of cases:
 
  1. Juvenile delinquency;
  2.  
  3. Preliminary Hearings;
  4.  
  5. State trials;
  6.  
  7. Appeals;
  8.  
  9. Parole proceedings;
  10.  
  11. Extradition; and
  12.  
  13. Any situation where representation is constitutionally required.
 
The Berks County Public Defender’s Office also provides legal counsel to persons subject to mental health commitment proceedings.
 
Every person that requests Berks County Public Defender representation shall provide, under verification, financial information on a written application. The Berks County Public Defender after being satisfied that the person is indigent shall provide counsel.
 
 

 Contact Information

 
Address
Berks County Public Defender
Berks County Courthouse
633 Court Street - 12th Floor
Reading, PA 19601
Phone: 610-478-6650
FAX: 610-478-6673
 
 
  • All Berks County Employees and anyone entering county buildings must wear a mask or they will be denied entrance.  County of Berks Offices are currently open only to individuals with appointments and to conduct essential business.  Essential business refers to those functions that cannot be postponed or conducted remotely.
  • If you have COVID-19 questions you may still email them to COVID@countyofberks.com.