Can a Grandparent Pay Their Grandchild’s Criminal Defense Lawyer in State College, PA?

Fighting For Important Causes In State And Federal Courts

If your grandchild has been arrested and needs help paying for a lawyer, they might contact you.  Keeping your kids and grandkids out of legal trouble might be important to you, and if you want to pay for your grandchild’s attorney, there are some things you need to know about how this works and what you can do to make sure your grandchild gets the legal representation they need.  The Law Office of Andrew Shubin’s criminal defense lawyer for Penn State students explains.

Can You Pay for Your Grandkid’s Lawyer in State College, PA?

If a young adult is charged with a crime, their chances of being able to afford a lawyer are quite low.  This often means that they turn to the public defender for representation.  This could mean that they end up with a free attorney, but that lawyer might be swamped with other cases.  If your grandchild is not “indigent” and the state says they can afford their own lawyer, they might not actually be able to afford quality representation, especially if their case is detailed and involved.  This is often where parents and grandparents step in to help.

The law in Pennsylvania allows other people to help pay for your lawyer.  Parents, grandparents, spouses, boyfriends, girlfriends, and other loved ones commonly pay for lawyers for their family members or close friends, so this kind of situation is far from rare.  In most cases, you can absolutely pay for your grandchild’s defense attorney, whether you do so by wiring your grandkid the money to pay the lawyer themselves or by actually paying the lawyer directly.

This could become complicated in cases where the child is still under 18.  Rules of juvenile court proceedings in Pennsylvania usually require the child’s parent or guardian to be there.  If you are the kid’s legal guardian, then there shouldn’t be any problem with you hiring a lawyer.  If your grandchild has a parent or guardian that should be at the hearings, you might not be able to be closely involved in the case, but you can usually still pay for the attorney’s fees and hire the attorney to help out your child and grandchild.

State College, PA Rules for Grandparents Hiring Defense Attorneys for Their Grandchildren

When you hire a lawyer for someone else, there are a few rules that come into play that you need to be aware of.  First and foremost, the lawyer’s client is the defendant in the case, not the person paying.  This means that if your grandchild is up on criminal charges and you are paying for their lawyer, the lawyer still has to listen to the grandchild’s decisions.  It also means that the lawyer must keep lawyer-client confidentiality with their client.

All of this means that we might not be able to take your decisions into account regarding how to proceed with the case, and we might not be able to share information with you about the charges.  Ultimately, legal ethics rules require that we leave decisions to our client regarding whether to plead guilty, accept a plea deal, or fight the case in court.  Additionally, we cannot share information about the charges and our strategy with anyone but our client unless the client gives permission.

Ideally, your grandchild will allow us to share information with you so that we can all work together to fight the charges.  However, if our client tells us not to share information with you, we simply can’t do it.

What to Expect when Hiring a Lawyer for Your Grandchild in State College

If you’ve never been involved in a criminal case yourself, you might not know what to expect in your grandchild’s case.  First, a defendant is usually arrested and booked when they are accused of committing a crime.  In most cases, the judge should allow the defendant to be released on their own recognizance or with some bail payment, but some charges might be so severe like murder or sexual assault that the judge will want to keep the defendant in jail until trial.  We can work to get bail so your grandchild can be released, and we can fight to get bail reduced so that you can afford to bail them out.

After bail is set or denied, the court will schedule a preliminary hearing.  If the charges are minor, like for disorderly conduct or public drunkenness, this might mean that the case is handled at a summary trial at that time.  If the court finds there is probable cause to charge your grandchild, the charges will move up to the court of common pleas at the county level.

At this stage, there will be pretrial motions to try to get charges dropped or dismissed.  This will allege that even if everything the police and prosecutors say is true, the facts of the case do not support a conviction.  At this stage, evidence will also be shared in “discovery” so that we can get a look at all of the evidence in the case.  If the case proceeds, it will go to trial where we can fight the charges with evidence, witnesses, and arguments before a judge and jury.

At any point along the way, we might try to negotiate with the prosecution to have charges dropped or dismissed.  This might mean ultimately entering into a plea deal where we can get excessive charges dropped and penalties reduced.  Alternatively, we might be able to work out a deal where your grandchild can perform community service and take classes like anger management or alcohol abuse classes to rehabilitate them.  Your child might also qualify for ARD, which is a program at the county level to get charges dropped in exchange for participation in rehabilitation programs.  An attorney can go over these options in more detail as they come up in your grandchild’s case.

Call Our State College Criminal Defense Lawyers to Hire an Attorney for Your Grandchild’s Case

Call The Law Office of Andrew Shubin today to set up a free legal consultation on your grandchild’s case.  If you have a child or grandchild who was arrested in State College, PA or was arrested as a Penn State student, call our State College criminal defense attorney today to set up a free legal consultation about getting a lawyer for your grandchild.  Call us today at (814) 826-3586 to set up your free case consultation.