Paying for a Public Defender

It depends on your personal financial situation. Under California law, every person who is represented by a court-appointed attorney, including the Public Defender's Office, may be asked to pay a registration fee of up to $25 to the County of Napa. You will not be forced to pay anything if you cannot afford to pay the registration fee.

When your case ends, if you have been represented by appointed counsel, such as the Public Defender's Office, the judge may conduct a hearing to determine whether you have the present ability to pay all -- or a portion of -- the costs of your court-appointed attorney. At this hearing, depending upon your income and expenses, the judge may order you to pay for all costs of the services of your attorney, some of the costs or none. If the judge determines you have the ability to pay some or all of the costs, you will be ordered to pay according to your financial situation and the level of service provided. If you cannot afford to pay, you will not be required to do so. In the past, most defendants were not required to pay. Now, in each case, the court will make enquiry into your ability to reimburse.