Office of Indigent Defense Services

Oversees the provision of legal representation to indigent defendants and others entitled to counsel under North Carolina law.


In August 2000, the North Carolina General Assembly passed the Indigent Defense Services Act of 2000 (“IDS Act”), which created the Office of Indigent Defense Services (“IDS Office”) and its 13-member governing body, the Commission on Indigent Defense Services (“IDS Commission”). On July 1, 2001, IDS assumed a number of responsibilities, including: 

  1. Overseeing the provision of legal representation to indigent defendants and others entitled to counsel under North Carolina law
  2. Developing training, qualification, and performance standards to govern the provision of legal services to indigent persons
  3. Determining the most appropriate methods of delivering legal services to indigent persons in each judicial district
  4. Providing services in the most cost-effective manner possible

The goals of IDS are to recruit the best and brightest North Carolina attorneys to represent indigent defendants; to ensure that every attorney representing indigent defendants has the qualifications, training, support, resources, and consultation services they need to be effective advocates; to create a system that will eliminate the many recognized problems and conflicts caused by judges appointing and compensating defense attorneys; and to manage the state’s indigent defense fund in a more efficient and equitable manner. To accomplish these goals, the IDS Commission developed rules to govern the continued delivery of services in cases under its oversight. In addition, the IDS Office regularly works with the Office of the Capital Defender and Office of the Appellate Defender to recruit and evaluate attorneys for the statewide capital and appellate rosters; to ensure that qualified attorneys are appointed to those cases in a timely manner; to authorize necessary expert services to aid attorneys once they are appointed to such cases; and to compensate attorneys and experts for their services in such cases in a timely, uniform, and equitable manner.

Learn more about IDS.

More Information

Visit for more information

  • Defender offices and departments directories
    • Appellate defender
    • Capital defender
    • Juvenile defender
    • Public defender
  • Indigent appointment plans by county and district
  • Information for counsel, experts, or public
  • Training and resources


Find additional IDS contact information, or search the statewide public defender directory.

Telephone(919) 354-7200Mailing AddressOffice of Indigent Defense Services
123 West Main Street, Suite 400
Durham, NC 27701