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Public Defender Homepage

Contact Information

500 E. San Antonio
Suite 501
El Paso, Texas 79901
[view map]

Monday - Friday
8:00am - 5:00pm

Phone (915) 546-8185
Fax (915) 546-8186
publicdefender@epcounty.com

Juvenile Cases

6400 Delta Dr.
El Paso, TX 79905
Phone: 915-849-2625
Fax: 915-849-2537

Other Information

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How do I find a lawyer?

If you have the money to hire a lawyer you can search the internet or the phone directory for a list of lawyers, you can ask someone who you know has used a lawyer or you can contact the Attorney Referral Service from El Paso Bar Association (reference at the bottom of the page).

How do I get a court appointed lawyer to represent me?

The first step is to apply for one. If you are in jail, a representative of Pretrial Services will contact you and help you fill out the application. If you are out on bond, you can go to Pretrial Services on the lower level Courthouse to apply. You will need to bring proof of your income and expenses with you. If you are already in court, tell the judge, or court staff, you want to apply, and the judge will tell you where to apply, or have someone take your application. If you meet the guidelines for indigency, the court will appoint a lawyer for you, either from the Public Defender’s Office or the private bar.

Can I hire a PD?

Public Defenders are full time County employees and are not permitted to accept private legal cases.

Who is my lawyer?

Jaime Gandara, our Chief Public Defender, assigns one of our Deputy Public Defenders to represent each of the clients our team is appointed to represent.   Any of our staff members can provide you the name of the attorney who will be handling your case.

Public Defenders and  Private Practice Attorneys

El Paso County appoints cases to both the Public Defender’s Office and attorneys in private practice, who agree to accept court appointments.  Public Defenders are full time County employees who focus exclusively on the criminal, juvenile, child support, and child protective services clients we are appointed to represent.  Attorneys in private practice may choose to accept court appointed cases, they also have private clients whom they represent.

Know your rights

NOTICE: This site is maintained by the El Paso County Public Defender's Office as a public service. It is intended for informational purposes only. The information here is not legal advice. If you are in need of legal advice please CLICK HERE.

Every person accused of a crime in the United States has the following rights:
1. The right to remain silent.
2. The right to a lawyer when accused of an offense which could put him in jail.
3. The right to have a lawyer present during questioning by law enforcement.

Other rights you’re entitled to:
*In addition, the Texas Constitution guarantees accused individuals.
*If you are not a United States Citizen, the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations also guarantees
*If you are stopped for driving while intoxicated (DWI)

Know Your Rights

1) You have the right to remain silent.
Under the 5th Amendment of the United States Constitution, you cannot be forced to give testimony against yourself. This means that no one can make you admit to having committed a crime, or even make a statement that could make it appear that you committed a crime. So if you have ever heard “I’ll plead the fifth,” it means the person intends to remain silent. Some law enforcement officers act negatively or try to pressure you if you decide not to talk to them. But this is your right and you are entitled to stick to it. Our law says remaining silent is not evidence of guilt, and the fact of your silence cannot be used against you in court.

Do not assume that law enforcement understands you plan to not make a statement—you must tell them clearly that you don’t intend to answer their questions. They may repeat the question more than once “just to make sure.”

But if you choose to make a statement, that statement—whatever it may be—will be used against you. When you are in the custody of law enforcement (not free to leave), they must warn you of your right to remain silent. If you find yourself in a situation where you are being asked about a crime, the best option is to have a lawyer present to advise you.

Police will not automatically ask if you can afford a lawyer, nor will they know that you cannot afford a lawyer if you don’t tell them. If you want a lawyer, tell the officers you want to have the lawyer with you before discussing anything else. Also if you cannot afford a lawyer, you must tell the police you cannot afford to hire a lawyer, and you are asking to have one appointed to represent you.

Never lie to a police officer. If an officer asks for your name and date of birth, you must give it, because failure to identify yourself, or giving a false name and/or date of birth is a crime.