The Private Defender represents clients with active criminal cases or warrants in San Mateo, assuming the client cannot afford to pay for their own attorney. While your client may not know the name of his/her attorney, the private defender office can direct them to that person, who is best suited to assist the client unless the client wants to pay for private counsel.

If the client has questions related to criminal actions, or potential criminal actions, in another County, he/she must contact the public defender in that county.

Ways to Contact

Call 650.298.4000, Monday to Friday 8:30am – 5pm (closed 12-1), and ask for the attorney of the day, who can answer questions, concerns, or complaints.

This is a privileged call!


After you call in, the organization will tell you next steps.


Be prepared to provide your name and date of birth. If possible, compile questions in advance so you get the information you need from the call.