How much does a court-appointed lawyer cost

Public Defender - When does he have to be appointed?

Anyone who is threatened with legal action because of a violation of criminal law often asks the question of how to present themselves in an appropriate manner dishdefend can. In some situations it is even absolutely necessary to be represented by a lawyer. The term public defender is often used in this context.

But what exactly is a public defender? How and when do you get a public defender? Which requirements must be fulfilled and where is the assignment of the public defender in the Code of Criminal Procedure (short: StPO) regulated?

In the following guide we have got to the bottom of these and other questions and have some important ones information put together for you around the topic.

FAQ: Public Defender

What is meant by a public defender?

This is a criminal defense attorney who is assigned by the court.

When is a defense necessary?

Here you can find out when a public defender must be used in criminal proceedings.

Who pays for a public defender?

You can read here who has to cover the costs of the public defender.

What is a public defender?

As a public defender is in German Criminal trial a criminal defense attorney appointed by the court.

The counterpart to the public defender is the so-called Defense attorney.

The public defender is always in the cases of a so-called "necessary defense“Ordered if the accused does not yet have a self-chosen defense attorney (ie an election defense attorney). The appointment of the public defender is regulated by law in Section 141 of the Code of Criminal Procedure.

Compulsory Defense: The Requirements

As already mentioned, the prerequisites for a compulsory defense are the so-called necessary defense, which is regulated in § 140 StPO.

This is a Procedural situationin which the legislature assumes that the accused cannot defend himself. A public defender must be appointed if the accused does not self-chosen lawyer has mandated. This applies even if he is of the opinion that he can defend himself.

This situation is then called "Forced defense" designated.

Section 140 (1) of the Code of Criminal Procedure states that the following cases a necessary defense:

  • The main hearing takes place in the first instance before Higher Regional Court (OLG) or district Court (LG) instead.
  • The accused becomes a crime (for example in the area of ​​sexual criminal law).
  • The procedure can lead to a Professional ban to lead.
  • Against the accused a Custodyor one temporary placement enforced.
  • The accused has been around for at least three months on the basis of a judicial order or with judicial approval in a Institution and is not released at least two weeks before the start of the main hearing.
  • In order to prepare an opinion on the psychological state of the accused, he is housed in one psychiatric hospital into consideration.
  • It will be a Backup procedure carried out.
  • The previous defender will be his Participation in the process locked out.
  • The Injured the supposed act is a Associate attorney been.

In all those cases of the necessary defense according to § 140 StPO is a public defender ex officio to be appointed, provided the accused does not yet have a self-chosen defense attorney.

A public defender is im Juvenile criminal law to be ordered in three additional situations in addition to the cases under Section 140 of the Code of Criminal Procedure:

  • The legal guardian procedural rights were withdrawn because he himself is suspected of being involved in the crime.
  • To prepare an opinion on the Stage of development placement in an institution is possible.
  • Against the not yet 18-year-old accused a Custody enforced.

When appointing a public defender in criminal law, the court acts ex officio, i.e. automatically, so to speak. A Request It is therefore not necessary for the accused to appoint a public defender.

Public defender: when is it to be assigned?

From § 141 Paragraph 1 and Paragraph 2 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, the Point in time, from when a public defender is to be appointed, that this must take place at the latest when the accused is asked to explain the indictment. This is when the Indictment is delivered and the so-called interim proceedings begin.

Only arises to one later point in timethat it is a case of a necessary defense, the public defender must right away be ordered.

It is also possible that a public defender is im Preliminary investigation is to be assigned. In this case the Public prosecutor to apply for the appointment of a public defender if his participation will be necessary from your point of view.

Before the court appoints the public attorney, the accused must always be given the opportunity to designate a specific public defender of his choice within a certain period of time. This in turn results from Section 142 (1) of the Code of Criminal Procedure. Usually the presiding judge this defense attorney then also for compulsory defense, unless there is an important reason to the contrary.

The Bar associations of the countries put a so-called Public Defender List available, which can serve the accused with regard to his selection. A specialist lawyer for criminal law does not necessarily have to be commissioned for defense. Even a tenancy lawyer or a lawyer without one Specialized lawyer title can be appointed as public defender.

Compensation of the public defender

The public defender does his Entitlement to remuneration the Treasury applicable to.

Compulsory defense fees are generally lower than those of a defense counsel.

However, in certain cases where a procedure may be special extensive or difficult a higher fee will be charged.

Withdraw compulsory defense - is that possible?

According to the Code of Criminal Procedure, the appointment of a public defender can also withdrawn become. This follows from Section 143 and applies to the cases in which the accused retrospectively himself chooses a defender and he accordingly accepts the election.

Can the defense attorney become a public defender?

A lawyer initially mandated as a defense attorney has the option of being appointed public defender upon request. In that case it has to be Electoral mandate lay down.

A corresponding one Request on public defense can this template be formulated accordingly.

To the local court (or if in the preliminary proceedings: the public prosecutor's office) _______________

[Place and date]

Subject: Request for assignment as public defender

File number (Az.) _________________________

In the criminal case against _________________________, I am applying in the name and on behalf of my client to be assigned to him as public defender from now on. In the event that I am assigned, I will resign from the election.


The prerequisites for a necessary defense in accordance with _________________________ are met because _________________________ (explanation of the reason for assignment).
Although I am not one of the lawyers admitted to the bar in this judicial district, there is a special relationship of trust between Mr _________________________ and me.

Important reasons within the meaning of Section 142, Paragraph 1, Sentence 3 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, which could stand in the way of an assignment, cannot be seen here.

(Signature lawyer)

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Public Defender - When does he have to be appointed?
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