FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
FOR BILLING INQUIRIES, PLEASE SEE THE VOUCHER INSTRUCTIONS.
How is eligibility of appointed counsel determined?
What are the limitations on billing?
How long will it be before I receive payment?
How do I obtain and receive payment for services of an expert witness and investigator services?
What are the limitations on billing for paralegal services?
What is an interim voucher?
What constitutes a supplemental voucher?
How many certified copies of the order/voucher does PDS need for processing?
Does PDS reimburse for interpreters (Non-English or Hearing Impaired)?
Who pays for defendant's clothing for court?
Does PDS reimburse for meals?
Does PDS reimburse for DMV administrative hearings?
Does PDS pay for the appointment of a law firm?
How do I claim reimbursement for a “stand-in” attorney when one is needed?
Does PDS reimburse for copies?
Does PDS pay for guardian-ad-litem proceeding?
Who should be billed for proceedings and expenses where more than one state agency will reimburse?
Does PDS pay for sexual offender assessments for the purpose of pre-sentencing investigations?
Are there statutory limitations for legal fees and/or expenses?
- Q. How is eligibility of appointed counsel
- A. Public Defender Services does not determine a client's
eligibility to be represented. This determination rests solely within the discretion of
the Circuit Court. The proceeding itself must be an authorized matter and the potential
client must be deemed eligible.
- The potential client completes a financial affidavit which
is forwarded to the Court. The Circuit Court determines eligibility based on the following
- (1) Eligible Proceedings
- W.Va. Code 29-21-2 defines "eligible proceedings"
as "criminal charges which may result in incarceration; juvenile proceedings;
proceedings to revoke parole or probation if the revocation may result in incarceration;
contempt of court; child abuse and neglect; which may result in a termination of parental
rights; mental hygiene commitment proceedings; extradition proceedings; proceedings which
are ancillary to an eligible proceeding, including, but not limited to, proceedings to
enhance sentences ....., forfeiture proceedings.....and appeals from or post-conviction
challenges to the final judgment in an eligible proceeding."
- (2) Eligible Clients
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- W.Va. Code 29-21-16(e) sets forth the following factors
which the Court must consider:
- (1) Current income prospects, taking into account seasonal
variations in income;
- (2) Liquid assets, assets which may provide collateral to
obtain funds to employ private counsel and other assets which may be liquidated to provide
funds to employ private counsel;
- (3) Fixed debts and obligations, including federal, state,
and local taxes and medical expenses;
- (4) Child care, transportation, and other expenses necessary
- (5) Age or physical infirmity of resident family members;
- (6) Whether the person seeking publicly funded legal
representation has made reasonable and diligent efforts to obtain private legal
representation and the results of those efforts;
- (7) The cost of obtaining private legal representation with
respect to the particular matter in which assistance is sought;
- (8) Whether the person seeking publicly funded legal
representation has posted a cash bond for bail or has obtained release on bond for bail
through the services of a professional bondsman for compensation and the amount and source
of the money provided for such bond; (and)
- (9) The consequences for the individual if legal assistance
- For juvenile clients, the Court may disregard the parent or
guardian's assets if the interests of the child are inimical to those of the parent. W.Va.
- Even with these factors to consider, however, the Circuit
Court is ultimately the only arbiter of whether counsel is appointed.
- Eligibility Affidavit
Form and Income Guidelines. These two
documents are in Portable Document Format (PDF) and must be viewed by the Adobe Acrobat®
Reader. If you do not have the Adobe Acrobat® Reader click here to download the free
Adobe Acrobat® Reader. After installing the Adobe Acrobat® Reader, you can view these
- Q. What are the limitations on billing?
- A. The limitations to keep in mind while completing the
voucher forms are listed below:
- Fee Limit is $3,000.
- Expense Limit is $1500.
- NOTE: Both limits can be exceeded if the presiding judge
determines good cause has been shown.
- In-house copies are reimbursed at $.10 per page.
- Faxes are reimbursable at $.10 per page.
- Investigators are reimbursable at $30.00 an hour.
- Paralegals are reimbursed at an hourly rate of up to $20.00.
- Vouchers submitted on or after four years from the last date
of service are not payable.
- Travel expenses are reimbursable using the Travel Management
- Click here to go to the Travel
Management Regulations web site.
- For the mileage reimbursement rates only click here.
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- Q. How long will it be before I receive payment?
- A. Several factors determine how long it takes to process
the vouchers, so it is not easy to give a specific time when payment will be received. The
- Funds availability.
- End of Calendar Year. IRS form 1099 statements stops
processing the last two weeks of December.
- End of Fiscal Year. Closing out the Fiscal Year stops
processing the last two weeks of June.
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- Q. How do I obtain and receive payment for services of an expert witness and investigator services?
- A. PDS encourages appointed counsel to receive permission from the presiding Judge for
approval of expenses for an expert witness, investigator, and other extraneous
expenses prior to contracting for services. The presiding Judge may set limits
on what services will be approved.
expense is over $200, appointed counsel may complete a direct expense voucher
(this is completed for payment to be made directly to the service provider).
Reimbursement for mileage, copies, etc, is available to direct expense
- Q. What are the limitations on billing for paralegal services?
- A. PDS will reimburse paralegal services at the rate of up to $20.00 per hour.
The reimbursement amount should be for the actual invoiced amount paid. In order to be reimbursed for paralegal time,
you must obtain a fully itemized invoice on letterhead. This invoice should provide
specific dates of service, a brief description of services rendered, amount of
time claiming (per date and also total amount of time being claimed per
invoice), rate per hour, and total amount of invoice. Please note that PDS only
reimburses for out-of-court time for a paralegal.
- Q. What is an interim voucher?
- A. An interim voucher can be submitted
six months from the date of appointment. If there has been a six-month
interim voucher submitted, the second voucher submitted MUST be the final
voucher (i.e., no more than two payments can be made).
- Q. What constitutes a supplemental voucher?
- A. To determine whether a voucher is a
supplemental voucher, refer to the options listed below.
YES, if any of the following circumstances apply:
- The voucher is for work on a continuation of a previous
proceeding where no disposition was made.
- The voucher is for fees and/or expenses erroneously
omitted from a previous voucher.
NO, if the voucher is for:
- the first voucher submitted.
- work resulting in a disposition such as home confinement, work
release, or placement on open docket.
- work on a child abuse and neglect or juvenile proceeding resulting in an improvement
period, temporary placement, etc.
- an appeal.
- a writ of habeas corpus.
- a new trial.
- a reinstatement of criminal charges.
- proceedings to correct or reduce a sentence, pursuant to Rule
35, Rules of Criminal Procedure.
- a retrial as a result of a hung jury or mistrial.
- a writ of mandamus or prohibition.
- a mental hygiene proceeding with the following circumstances:
- A temporary observation period was
ordered and subsequent hearings are to be held to determine a final disposition
of the case;
- One year has passed from the date
of a temporary order without further proceedings;
Indeterminate commitment to a
mental health facility or orders a less restrictive disposition has been order;
- enhancement of sentence. These claims should be submitted on a
separate voucher with the type of proceeding clearly identified.
- a transfer to adult jurisdiction. Subsequent proceedings in
circuit court constitutes a separate case.
Q. How many certified copies of the order/voucher does PDS need for processing?
- A. PDS requires
two complete, certified copies. One copy is for the WV State Auditor’s Office
and one copy is for WVPDS records.
Q. Does PDS reimburse for interpreters (Non-English or Hearing Impaired)?
- A. PDS only
reimburses out of court time for an interpreter. NO in court time will be
reimbursed. In court time should be paid by the Supreme Court. Please contact
the Administrative office of the Supreme Court at 558-0145 for information
regarding payment for in court services. See WV Code Section
Q. Who pays for defendant's clothing for court?
- A. The
custodian of the defendant is responsible for clothing expense. If the
defendant is not in custody, this expense is solely on the
Q. Does PDS reimburse for meals?
- A. Meals can
only be reimbursed for overnight stays. The limit for reimbursement can be
found under the Governor’s Travel Rules and Regulations authorized by the Travel
Management Office (TMO). See http://www.gsa.gov/portal/content/104877.
Q. Does PDS reimburse for DMV administrative hearings?
right to counsel does not attach to DMV hearings.
Q. Does PDS pay for the appointment of a law firm?
- A. PDS
reimburses each individual attorney. If two attorneys from a law firm are
appointed, each attorney must submit individual vouchers for his or her own time
and expenses. Please do not bill duplicate expenses.
Q. How do I claim reimbursement for a “stand-in” attorney when one is
- A. Reimbursement for a
“stand-in” attorney can be reimbursed as an expense on the appointed attorneys
voucher. You must provide a fully itemized invoice from the “stand-in” attorney
on is/her letterhead. This should include dates of service, number of hours
worked, rate per hour ($65 for in-court time and $45 for out-of-court time),
expenses (mileage, phone calls, copies, etc.) and a total dollar amount claimed
for the invoice.
Q. Does PDS reimburse for copies?
- A. Yes. PDS
reimburses for in-office copies at the rate of $.10 per page. Any copies
obtained from an out-of-the-office provider will be reimbursed at the actual
amount billed to appointed counsel. You must provide a fully itemized invoice
in order to be reimbursed for out-of-the-office provider.
Q. Does PDS pay for guardian-ad-litem proceeding?
- A. NO for the
following GAL proceedings:
- Incapacitated adults pursuant to W.Va. Code, et seq (Contact the Supreme Court);
- Incarcerated persons pursuant to Rule 21of the West Virginia Trial Court
- Domestic violence proceedings for protective orders pursuant to W.Va. Code 48-2A-1, et
- Reciprocal support proceedings pursuant to W.Va. Code 48A-7-1;
- Guardian or Conservator appointments pursuant to W.Va. Code Chapter 44A.
- Protected Persons.
YES for the following:
- Juvenile defendants (GAL of abused/neglected juvenile(s), delinquency, incorrigibility;
or other criminal charges).
*See amendments to Rules 21 & 39 of the West Virginia Trial Court Rules.
Q. Who should be billed for proceedings and expenses where more than one state
agency will reimburse?
- A. The
presiding Judge for that particular proceeding may decide but only one state agency should be billed for legal
services and/or expenses.
Q. Does PDS pay for sexual offender assessments for
the purpose of pre-sentencing investigations?
- A. Yes, only if
the defense moves for the assessment.
Q. Are there statutory limitations for legal fees and/or
- A. The
statutory limit for legal fees is $3,000; for expense it is $1,500. Both can be
exceeded by the court order at the Judge’s discretion.
In the event
that the fees and expenses are in excess of statutory limits, PDS advises that
appointed counsel contact the presiding Judge for approval prior to
PDS does not
require separate orders to exceed the statutory limit and to approve the actual
amount payable. If an order sets forth the amount to be paid, PDS assumes the
judge has found “good cause” to exceed the limits.
For more information concerning vouchers and how to bill
click here to go to the Voucher Information
To send an inquiry to Public Defender Services, click here.