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The County of DuPage
Wheaton, Illinois

Public Defender

 

Frequently Asked Questions / Client Assistance

How do I get a public defender to represent me?

Public Defenders are appointed by the Court. Generally, a public defender is assigned to a particular courtroom. To request a public defender you need to ask the judge assigned to your case when in court.

Are public defenders real attorneys?

Yes. All of our attorneys are licensed in the State of Illinois.

What’s the difference between a public defender and a private attorney?

Public Defenders are not paid by the case, nor does a client pay the attorney or the office. We are appointed to represent those the Court finds are indigent and need representation. Public Defender attorneys graduated from the same or similar law schools and passed the same bar exam as all attorneys. Public Defender attorneys have chosen to work helping the indigent accused. The Court can assess fees to be paid for Public Defender services, which go to the DuPage County general fund.

What type of cases do public defenders take?

We represent almost exclusively those charged with criminal cases in DuPage County. Our office can also be appointed for juvenile (both delinquency and abuse and neglect cases), and mental health commitment cases. Our office cannot be appointed to municipal non-jailable ordinance violations.

How do I contact my public defender?

Public Defender attorneys are in court every day. Afternoons are the best time to reach most attorneys, but that can still be difficult at times. We also have hearings or trials, jail visits, research, meetings, and required continuing training in the afternoon on many days. The best way is to contact our office at (630) 407-8300 and ask to be transferred to your attorney’s line. If we are not able to answer for any reason, we have voicemail and will return your call as soon as we are able.

How can I find my next court date?

The Circuit Court clerk has that information.  Look up your case

What happens if I miss court?

Usually the judge in your case will issue a warrant. It is important to make contact with your attorney as soon as possible to discuss how to handle a missed court date.

What should I bring if meeting with my attorney and/or investigator?  

Any information that you think may help us to represent you. That includes documentation, pictures, witness information, etc.

Can I pick which public defender I want to represent me?

No. Public Defenders are generally assigned by courtroom, or to a specialized caseload designated by the Chief Public Defender. Although flattering, we cannot take requests.

Is what I tell my attorney confidential?

Yes. Except in limited circumstances, attorneys are ethically bound to hold secret the confidences of their clients. The limited circumstances in which an attorney is not bound the confidentiality requirement include when an attorney reasonably believes that disclosure is necessary to prevent reasonably certain death or substantial bodily harm.

Why hasn’t my public defender gotten my case dropped?

Only the state’s attorney or the court can drop, or dismiss, a case. Even if the victim says they do not want to prosecute the case, the decision by law is still up to the state’s attorney.

Can I have a copy of my police reports?

No. Illinois Supreme Court Rule 415(c) prevents attorneys from handing out police reports. However, your attorney will review and discuss the reports with you.

What should I do if the police ask me about my case?

Remain silent. Politely tell the police that your attorney has advised you not to discuss your case. Ask to talk to your lawyer first.

Can I expunge and/or seal my criminal case?

This is an area that we are not able to assist with. However, there is information concerning expungements published on the Illinois Appellate Defender’s website. Click here to access their site.

Or here http://illinoiscourts.gov/Forms/approved/expungement/expungement.asp



Contact Us

Public Defender:
Jeff York

Phone:
630-407-8300

Fax:
630-407-8310

Office Hours:
8:30 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.
Monday - Friday
(Closed on legal holidays)

View Court Calendar for closings 

Address:
Judicial Office Facility Annex
503 N. County Farm Road
Wheaton, IL 60187

Email: publicdefender@dupageco.org