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In all criminal cases in which the law authorizes the Public Defender to represent an accused individual, the law requires the individuals who wish to be represented by the public defender to fill out the Affidavit of Indigent Status and pay the $50 application fee. In juvenile court, if the child, parent or legal guardian of the child wishes the child to be represented by an attorney but does not have the funds to hire a private attorney, the child, parent, or guardian can complete the application for the services of the Public Defender.

Regardless of an individual’s ability to pay the $50 application fee, Florida law authorizes the Public Defender to represent that indigent individual. As defined in Florida law, a judge can appoint the public defender to represent a person who has income that is equal to or less than 200 percent of the current federal poverty guidelines or is unable to pay for the services of a private attorney without significant hardship to his or her family.

Federal and Florida Guidelines for Public Defender Services, 2020

Size of Family Unit Federal Poverty Guidelines Florida Income Guidelines for Public Defender Services, 2020
1 $12,760 $25,520
2 $17,240 $34,480
3 $21,720 $43,440
4 $26,200 $52,400
5 $30,680 $61,360
6 $35,160 $70,320
7 $39,640 $79,280
8 $44,120 $88,240
Each additional person, add: $4,480

$8,960