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Frequently Asked Questions

Q:  Is a public defender a licensed attorney?
A:  Yes. A public defender is a licensed attorney and has been granted the same rights and privileges as a private attorney.

Q:  Am I eligible for appointment of the public defender?
A:  You may be eligible for appointment of the public defender if the court makes the determination that you are indigent and therefore unable to afford to hire private counsel.

Q:  If the public defender is appointed to represent me, will it cost me anything?
A:  The court may require that you pay a public defender fee in order to reimburse the county for the services of the public defender. The amount of any public defender fee is based upon your ability to pay.

Q:  If a friend or family member is represented by the public defender, will the public defender discuss their case with me?
A:   It depends. Due to privacy considerations and time constraints, a public defender may prefer to speak only with the client about his case.

Q:  Will I receive a copy of my discovery?
A:  No.  Illinois Supreme Court Rule 415 requires that defense counsel maintain the discovery material in his exclusive custody and control. However, defense counsel may permit the client to review those materials in counsel’s presence.