Contact Info

  • phone201-209-6761
  • 365 Summit Ave, Suite 239
    Jersey City NJ 07306

    Andrew Abrams, Chief Public Defender

  • Directions

Office of the Municipal Public Defender

 Andrew Abrams headshot
Andrew Abrams, Chief Municipal Public Defender
Both the United States Constitution and the New Jersey State Constitution have firmly established that all individuals have the right to be represented by a lawyer in criminal proceedings. Even if a person can’t afford to pay for a lawyer, one may be appointed to assist any individual, if the court has determined that such a person is indigent and in need of counsel.

The Jersey City Public Defender’s Office represents indigent individuals charged with certain offenses in the Jersey City Municipal Court. Such representation is provided free of charge. If you have a low income and qualify as indigent, you have a right to have a court-appointed lawyer represent you in municipal court if it is “likely” that you may be sentenced to jail in the event of a conviction or if a finding of guilty may cause you a “consequence of magnitude,” such as a large fine or a loss of your driver’s license.

You may request a municipal public defender at your first court appearance. You must meet the financial eligibility requirements. To qualify for representation by the public defender’s office the municipal court Judge will determine if the defendant meets the income guidelines 2022 Income Eligibility Guidelines for Indigent Defense Services ( The court shall have the defendant submit a financial questionnaire to determine if you are qualified for a public defender. Based upon the financial information you provide in the court form, a municipal court judge will decide if you are eligible for or not eligible for a municipal public defender. For those individuals who qualify, counsel will be assigned to make sure all rights of an individual are protected throughout the pendency of the case regardless of a person’s wealth or standing, as the search for justice knows no price nor bounds. If you need an attorney and you absolutely cannot afford one, we will provide you with the very best legal representation and compassionate counsel, once appointed by the court to assist you.

My name is Andrew Abrams. I was born here in Jersey City, and for over 20 years, I have been proud to serve as the Chief Public Defender for Jersey City. Our office is located at 365 Summit Avenue, in the Jersey City Municipal Courthouse. With the support of a dozen outstanding attorneys, and a dedicated staff committed to assisting you, we are here and ready to help.

If you should have any questions about the process or need to get in touch with us, feel free to call our office at 201-209-6761