Umpqua Valley Public Defender is a nonprofit dedicated to defending people whose liberty is at stake. The US Supreme Court determined 50 years ago in Gideon v. Wainwright that everyone is entitled to a lawyer, regardless of ability to pay, if they are prosecuted for a crime. In Oregon, the protection of a lawyer extends to termination proceedings (when the State is trying to take away your parental rights), juvenile proceedings, contempt proceedings (where the accusation is that you violated a court order), probation violation proceedings, and to all misdemeanor and felony cases. UVPD does not take civil cases, and we cannot advise you on civil matters.
To become a client, you will need the Douglas County Circuit Court to verify your eligibility for court-appointed counsel. This normally happens when you show up for the first time in court. We cannot represent you unless the court has said you are eligible and appointed us to represent you. Call the courthouse at 957-2437 if you have questions about the process.
There are 12 lawyers, 9 support staff, 2 investigators and 4 law clerks working at our office, so when you call, make sure you specify who you’re trying to reach.