Public Defenders

ORS 151.485
Financial eligibility

  • determination
  • financial statement
  • termination of appointed counsel


For purposes of determining the financial eligibility for appointed counsel of persons with a constitutional or statutory right to counsel in matters before the state courts and whose counsel is authorized to be paid by the public defense services executive director under ORS 151.219 (Public defense services executive director), a person is financially eligible for appointed counsel if the person is determined to be financially unable to retain adequate counsel without substantial hardship in providing basic economic necessities to the person or the person’s dependent family under standards established by the Public Defense Services Commission under ORS 151.216 (Duties).


A determination of financial eligibility shall be made upon the basis of information contained in a detailed financial statement submitted by the person for whom counsel is requested or appointed or, in an appropriate case, by the person’s parent, guardian or custodian. The financial statement shall be in the form prescribed by the Public Defense Services Commission. The form shall contain a full disclosure of all assets, liabilities, current income, dependents and other information required by ORS 135.050 (Eligibility for court-appointed counsel) (4) and, in addition, any information required by the commission and state courts as necessary to determine eligibility. The commission shall adopt uniform statewide guidelines and procedures that prescribe how to use the form and determine financial eligibility for appointed counsel.


If at any time after the appointment of counsel the court having jurisdiction of the case finds that the defendant is financially able to obtain counsel, the court may terminate the appointment of counsel. If at any time during criminal proceedings the court having jurisdiction of the case finds that the defendant is financially unable to pay counsel whom the defendant has retained, the court may appoint counsel as provided in this section.


In addition to any criminal prosecution, a civil proceeding may be initiated by any public body that has expended moneys for the defendant’s legal assistance within two years of judgment if the defendant was not qualified for legal assistance in accordance with subsections (1) and (2) of this section. As used in this subsection, “legal assistance” includes legal counsel, transcripts, witness fees and expenses and any other goods or services required by law to be provided to a financially eligible person at state expense under ORS 151.216 (Duties) and 151.219 (Public defense services executive director).


The civil proceeding shall be subject to the exemptions from execution as provided for by law. [1989 c.1053 §13; 1991 c.825 §6; 2001 c.962 §33]


Last accessed
May 30, 2023