The State Public Defender is required to assess attorney fees in adult cases. The fees collected help to offset the cost to taxpayers for agency operations. Although clients of the State Public Defender have very limited income and assets, many are able to reimburse the state taxpayers for part of the cost of the legal representation furnished to them.
The fees are set by administrative rule for each case type. The fees are based on the average length and complexity of the different types of cases; they are not calculated on an hourly basis in each individual case. For each case type, there is a maximum (full) payment amount and a lower prepayment amount. At the beginning of their representation, clients are given payment envelopes and told the applicable payment amounts.
By paying the prepayment amount within 60 days, client can satisfy their payment obligations for an amount substantially less than the full payment amount. For example, the prepayment amount in a misdemeanor case is $60, in contrast to the full amount of $240.
Clients who are unable to make any payment may complete a financial form to defer their payment obligation. However, if their financial circumstances improve in the future, the State Public Defender will seek payment at that time.
For more information regarding fees for representation, you may contact the Collections and Verification Unit, State Public Defender, 315 N. Henry Street, Madison WI 53703, 1-800-445-2230.