Can a Husband Pay for His Wife’s Criminal Defense Lawyer in State College, PA?

Fighting For Important Causes In State And Federal Courts

Hiring a lawyer for your wife’s criminal charges could be an expense that might take a husband and wife’s joint finances to pay for.  If your wife was arrested for DUI, drug possession, assault, or another crime in the State College area, she could need immediate legal assistance to get out of jail and get her life back on track.  That might mean that it falls to you to contact lawyers, set up consultations, and ultimately pay for the attorney.  Having one person pay for another person’s criminal defense lawyer might seem suspect, but it is common and is usually allowed in State College.  Our State College criminal defense lawyer, Andrew Shubin, explains.

Can You Pay for Your Wife’s Criminal Defense Attorney in State College?

In many cases, a criminal defense lawyer is hired by the defendant, works for the defendant’s best interests, and receives their pay directly from the defendant.  However, with criminal charges, the defendant is often in jail.  That means that they do not have access to their bank to get money to pay a lawyer, and it means that they might even have a hard time researching attorneys and finding one in their area.  Because of that, many criminal lawyers are paid for by spouses and family members.

Since you are not involved in the case, you might have more latitude to find a lawyer for your wife and get the services arranged for her.  If she is in jail, you can also arrange payment to get her case started, even if she can pick up the rest of the details later.

Sometimes it is also better, as a practical matter, to have someone else pay for the defendant’s attorney.  If someone accuses the defendant of paying for their lawyer with stolen money or proceeds from a crime, it could seem suspicious.  If someone else pays for the lawyer, these kinds of suspicions often disappear.

How a Criminal Case Works in State College When the Husband Pays for the Lawyer

When someone other than the defendant is paying for the attorney, there might be ethical and legal issues that come into the case regarding attorney-client privilege and questions of who makes which decisions.

The first thing to understand is that the defendant herself is the client – even if her husband is paying for the lawyer, the lawyer’s services go to the wife.  This means that your wife is the one who holds the attorney-client privilege, and we cannot share information about the case with you unless she gives us permission to.  This is not a matter of keeping secrets from one’s spouse, but rather an ethical rule to help protect attorney-client privilege and make sure it is as strong as possible.

Despite the fact that attorney-client privilege prevents us from talking to you about your wife’s case, it doesn’t stop your wife from telling you things about the case.  In general, communications between married spouses are protected like attorney-client privilege, and husbands and wives cannot be forced to testify against one another.  Our attorney can advise your wife on what information she may legally share with you and how it will be protected.

The person paying for the lawyer does still have some control over the case, in that they can always stop paying.  However, decisions about how to proceed with the case, whether to enter into a plea bargain, or whether to testify at your own trial always rest with the defendant herself, not the person paying for the lawyer.  This might mean that even if you disagree with decisions, we are ethically obligated to go with the defendant’s choice, not the choice of the person paying.

Fighting Criminal Charges for Your Wife in State College

Although you might be married to the defendant, you cannot represent her in her case unless you are a licensed attorney.  Instead, it is often in her best interests to hire a lawyer for her and have an experienced professional handle the charges.

Our attorneys can work to have evidence suppressed if it was seized illegally.  Many civil and constitutional rights violations by police lead to their evidence being unusable in court, which can help get charges dismissed for lack of evidence.  We can also negotiate with the prosecution to get charges reduced and dropped.

For many first-time offenses, our lawyers might be able to work for a plea agreement that allows your wife to participate in your county’s ARD program or enter into an agreement to perform community service instead of facing penalties.

If your wife’s charges are severe, our attorneys might recommend fighting the case at trial.  In some cases, plea deals are not offered, and the best chance at preventing a conviction is fighting the case at trial.  However, most prosecutors would rather plea down a case than force the time and expense of a trial.  Our attorneys also seek to resolve the case affordably, which often means getting cases dismissed early or pleading down charges to reduce penalties to probation or community service.

Call Our State College Lawyers for a Free Consultation on Your Wife’s Charges

If your wife was charged with a crime in the State College area and you want to pay for a lawyer for her, call our attorney today.  At The Law Office of Andrew Shubin, our attorney offers free legal consultations to help you understand how our services can help your wife’s case and how you can arrange to pay for the services for her.  Call us today at (814) 826-3586 to set up a free case consultation.


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