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Minnesota Legislature

Office of the Revisor of Statutes

611.20 SUBSEQUENT ABILITY TO PAY COUNSEL.
    Subdivision 1. Court determination. If at any time after the state public defender or a
district public defender has been directed to act, the court having jurisdiction in the matter is
satisfied that the defendant or other person is financially able to obtain counsel, the court shall
terminate the appointment of the public defender. The judicial district may investigate the
financial status of a defendant or other person for whom a public defender has been appointed and
may act to collect payments directed by the court.
If at any time after appointment a public defender should have reason to believe that a
defendant is financially able to obtain counsel or to make partial payment for counsel, it shall be
the public defender's duty to so advise the court so that appropriate action may be taken.
    Subd. 2. Partial payment. If the court determines that the defendant is able to make partial
payment, the court shall direct the partial payments to the state general fund. Payments directed
by the court to the state shall be recorded by the court administrator who shall transfer the
payments to the commissioner of finance.
    Subd. 3. Reimbursement. In each fiscal year, the commissioner of finance shall deposit the
payments in the general fund and credit them to a separate account with the Board of Public
Defense. The amount credited to this account is appropriated to the Board of Public Defense.
The balance of this account does not cancel but is available until expended. Expenditures
by the board from this account for each judicial district public defense office must be based on
the amount of the payments received by the state from the courts in each judicial district. A
district public defender's office that receives money under this subdivision shall use the money to
supplement office overhead payments to part-time attorneys providing public defense services
in the district. By January 15 of each year, the Board of Public Defense shall report to the
chairs and ranking minority members of the senate and house divisions having jurisdiction over
criminal justice funding on the amount appropriated under this subdivision, the number of cases
handled by each district public defender's office, the number of cases in which reimbursements
were ordered, the average amount of reimbursement ordered, and the average amount of money
received by part-time attorneys under this subdivision.
    Subd. 4. Employed defendants. A court shall order a defendant who is employed when
a public defender is appointed, or who becomes employed while represented by a public
defender, to reimburse the state for the cost of the public defender. If reimbursement is required
under this subdivision, the court shall order the reimbursement when a public defender is first
appointed or as soon as possible after the court determines that reimbursement is required.
The court may accept partial reimbursement from the defendant if the defendant's financial
circumstances warrant a reduced reimbursement schedule. The court may consider the guidelines
in subdivision 6 in determining a defendant's reimbursement schedule. If a defendant does not
agree to make payments, the court may order the defendant's employer to withhold a percentage
of the defendant's income to be turned over to the court. The percentage to be withheld may
be determined under subdivision 6.
    Subd. 5.[Repealed, 2007 c 54 art 5 s 21; 2007 c 61 s 17]
    Subd. 6. Reimbursement schedule guidelines. In determining a defendant's reimbursement
schedule, the court may derive a specific dollar amount per month by multiplying the defendant's
net income by the percent indicated by the following guidelines:
Net Income Per Month of Defendant
Number of Dependents Not Including
Defendant
4 or
more
3
2
1
0
$200 and below
Percentage based on the ability of the defendant to pay
as determined by the court
$200 - 350
8%
9.5%
11%
12.5%
14%
$351 - 500
9%
11%
12.5%
14%
15%
$501 - 650
10%
12%
14%
15%
17%
$651 - 800
11%
13.5%
15.5%
17%
19%
$801 and above
12%
14.5%
17%
19%
20%
    Subd. 7. Income withholding. (a) Whenever an obligation for reimbursement of public
defender costs is ordered by a court under this section, the amount of reimbursement as
determined by court order must be withheld from the income of the person obligated to pay. The
court shall serve a copy of the reimbursement order on the defendant's employer. Notwithstanding
any law to the contrary, the order is binding on the employer when served. Withholding must
begin no later than the first pay period that occurs after 14 days following the date of the notice.
The employer shall withhold from the income payable to the defendant the amount specified in
the order and shall remit, within ten days of the date the defendant is paid the remainder of the
income, the amounts withheld to the court.
(b) An employer shall not discharge, or refuse to hire, or otherwise discipline an employee as
a result of a wage or salary withholding authorized by this section. The employer shall be liable
to the court for any amounts required to be withheld. An employer that fails to withhold or
transfer funds in accordance with this section is also liable for interest on the funds at the rate
applicable to judgments under section 549.09, computed from the date the funds were required
to be withheld. An employer that has failed to comply with the requirements of this section is
subject to contempt of court.
(c) Amounts withheld under this section do not supersede or have priority over amounts
withheld pursuant to other sections of law.
History: 1965 c 869 s 7; 1986 c 444; 1Sp1986 c 3 art 1 s 82; 1990 c 604 art 9 s 5; 1991
c 345 art 3 s 5; 1993 c 146 art 2 s 20,31; 1994 c 636 art 11 s 4; 1995 c 226 art 2 s 25-29,36;
1998 c 367 art 8 s 13-15; 2003 c 112 art 2 s 50; 2007 c 61 s 5