Public defender for the suspect of a criminal offence

Under certain circumstances, the suspect of a criminal offence has the right to a public defender, at state expense, for purposes of the pre-trial investigation and the trial. A public defender will be appointed on request to persons suspected of aggravated offences and to persons who are arrested or detained because of the offence. In addition, the court may on its own motion appoint a public defender to a person who is under 18 years old or incapable of seeing to his or her own defense.

In these cases, the public defender will be appointed regardless of the financial circumstances of the person. The fee of the defender will be paid by the state. However, if the person is convicted of the offence, he or she must compensate the state for the defender's fee, unless his or her means qualify him or her for legal aid. The amount of the compensation is determined in accordance with the rules on legal aid.

The appointment as public defender can be given to a public legal aid attorney, an advocate or other lawyer licensed to assist clients in trials for legal assistance. In most cases, the appointment is given to the person suggested by the suspect of the offence.