Reimbursement to the State

If a person is granted an appointed attorney, the person is generally required to reimburse the state for the total cost of legal assistance provided to the person to the extent the person is reasonably able to pay. “Legal assistance” includes not only an appointed attorney, but also transcripts, witness fees, interpreter fees, expenses, and any other goods or services required by law to be provided to an indigent person entitled to an appointed attorney.  A minor appointed a court-appointed attorney or guardian ad litem under in a juvenile court proceeding typically is not assessed the cost for legal assistance.

Due Date for Payment

After receiving a report of the time spent by a public defender on the case or the report of the amount paid to another court-appointed attorney, the court will determine the amount to be paid and may order the amount due to be paid in reasonable installments or immediately due and payable.  If the person granted an appointed attorney is convicted, the reimbursement obligations are ordered to be paid as restitution or community service.

Wage Assignment

If a person is granted an appointed attorney or is receiving legal assistance and the person is employed, the person may execute an assignment of wages. An order for assignment of income, in a reasonable amount to be determined by the court, shall also be entered by the court.


If any costs and fees are not timely paid, a judgment is entered against the person for any unpaid amounts.

Juvenile Cases Judgment for Attorney Fees and Expenses

Any payment (by a parent) ordered by the court is a judgment against each of the child’s parents and a lien as provided in section §624.23. If all or part of the amount that the parents are ordered to pay is subsequently paid by the state, the judgment and lien shall thereafter be against the parents in favor of the state to the extent of the state’s payments.