Can a Parent Pay Their Child’s Criminal Defense Lawyer in State College, PA?

Fighting For Important Causes In State And Federal Courts

If your child was arrested and charged with a crime, they could be facing the potential of time in jail and high fines.  Without a defense attorney, there will be no one to stand between your child and the prosecution, and unless you are an attorney, you cannot represent them in court yourself.  Because of this, your best chance at getting them a proper defense might be to hire a defense attorney for them.  Criminal defense attorney for Penn State students, Andrew Shubin, explains how parents can pay for their child’s criminal defense lawyer and how this will affect their case.

Can Parents Pay for a Lawyer for Their Child in State College?

Under Pennsylvania law – and under the law in most places – you are permitted to pay for a lawyer for someone else.  The Constitution guarantees the right to an attorney, and people who cannot afford a lawyer are typically assigned a lawyer from the public defender’s office because the right to an attorney is so important.  However, if you would rather hire a lawyer instead of taking the public defender’s office’s help, you may do so.  This can often get the defendant more personalized attention, and perhaps a more experienced attorney.  Public defender’s offices often have younger lawyers who do not have as much experience as private defense attorneys.  Additionally, the caseload at a public defender’s office might be so high that your child would not get the personal attention they deserve.  Hiring a criminal defense lawyer for your college child can help alleviate some of these issues.

When you hire a lawyer for someone else, it is important to remember that the person facing charges is the lawyer’s client.  Even if you are paying for the lawyer, the lawyer is required by legal ethics rules to represent the best interests of their client, the defendant.  This means that they must keep the case confidential and cannot share information with you about the case unless your child gives them permission.  It also means that your child gets to make decisions about whether to plead guilty or fight the case at trial.  As a parent, you can, to some extent, counsel your child to plead guilty or fight the case.  As their lawyer, we can help counsel them as well – but legal ethics rules require us to leave the ultimate decision to our client.

Ultimately, ensuring the best outcome for your child’s case often means cooperation between the defendant, their parents, and the lawyer.  If your child gives us permission, we can bring you in to discussions about case strategy and opportunities to mitigate charges and penalties.  These opportunities could come from accepting offers for counseling, community service, and other alternatives to fines and jail time.

What Happens After Hiring a Lawyer for My Child in State College?

Once you hire a lawyer to help with your child’s case, we will have to confirm with your child that they do indeed want our legal services.  If your child is still in jail after an arrest, we might be able to meet with them there to discuss their case.  Otherwise, we can set up a meeting at our office where your child can come in, and we can begin work on their case.

If your child has not been arraigned yet, we will help them enter a “not guilty” plea so that we can continue fighting their case.  If they have not been released from jail, we will work to get bail granted or reduced so that your child can be released before their next court date.

In Pennsylvania, criminal charges usually progress to a preliminary hearing.  At this stage, we will begin to see some of the evidence against your child.  We can also begin challenging the evidence and fighting to prove that there is no probable cause.  If we are successful at this stage, the case will be dismissed.  If the charges are minor or involve a “summary offense” like disorderly conduct, public intoxication, or some driving offenses, a summary trial will be held immediately, and we can fight the case then and there.

If the judge finds that there is probable cause, the case will be held over for trial.  At this stage, we can begin making requests for the full evidence against your child, and we can start filing motions to have evidence suppressed and charges dismissed.  If successful, we will be able to eliminate evidence from court or have charges dismissed entirely ahead of trial.

If the case moves on to trial, we will put on a case in your child’s defense.  We will present our own witnesses and evidence, cross-examine the prosecution’s witnesses, and work to have the jury acquit your child of all charges.

Should My Child Take a Plea Deal After Criminal Charges in State College?

Throughout the case, our attorneys will be working to negotiate charges with the prosecution in an attempt to get a fair plea deal.  In many cases, the prosecution will offer alternatives to jail time, such as participation in Pennsylvania’s ARD program or an agreement to perform community service and seek counseling.  We might also be able to negotiate for reduced charges or penalties.  This could potentially avoid the most serious charges, getting your child home confinement or probation instead of jail time.  The decision of whether to enter into a plea deal or fight the case in court is ultimately your child’s decision, but we will work to help them choose the path that is most likely to result in the least punishment.

Call Our Lawyers for Penn State Students Arrested in State College, PA

If your child was arrested in State College, our attorney may be able to represent them and help them get charges dropped and dismissed.  To set up a free legal consultation about your child’s case, call The Law Office of Andrew Shubin today at (814) 826-3586.


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