The Public Defender Isn’t Free

It may come as a surprise to some that the public defender is not usually 100 percent free to poor defendants.  Typically, at the end of a criminal case, a judge will order a defendant to pay a small sum of money as a public-defender fee.  For example, in Coles County misdemeanor cases, the public-defender fee is usually somewhere between $50 and $100.

Is there a limit as to how much a judge can order a poor person to pay as a public defender fee?  Yes.  According to the Illinois Compiled Statutes, “Any sum ordered paid [. . .] may not exceed $500 for a defendant charged with a misdemeanor, $5,000 for a defendant charged with a felony, or $2,500 for a defendant who is appealing a conviction of any class offense.”  725 ILCS 5/113-3.1(b).

Jeremy Richey

Jeremy J. Richey, Attorney at Law
© Jeremy J. Richey and The East Central Illinois Criminal Law & DUI Weblog, 2008-2012. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited.