Can a Parent Pay their Children’s Criminal Defense Lawyer in Baltimore?

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Parents often pay for their children’s criminal defense lawyer in Baltimore, even when their child is not a minor. Most parents want to look out for their children. Even when they leave home and have families of their own, their parents often help them out financially. Their assistance may extend to finding a criminal defense lawyer and paying for the lawyer.

Baltimore juvenile defense lawyer Randolph Rice looks at when a parent pays for their children’s criminal defense lawyer in Baltimore.

When Do You Need a Baltimore Criminal Defense Lawyer?

Criminal charges can affect your liberty, future, career prospects and family relationships. If you don’t hire a personal injury lawyer after a car accident case it could affect how much money you recover for your injuries. However, the failure to hire a criminal defense lawyer can be even more serious. It may leave you unprotected in the court system and ruin your life. The courts sometimes appoint public defenders for low-income defendants. Make sure to hire a Baltimore criminal defense lawyer for the following:

  • Any felony charge in Baltimore courts;
  • Misdemeanor charges and more serious traffic charges such as DUIs, reckless driving, and assaults;
  • Bench warrants issued against you;
  • Federal charges such as drug trafficking and white-collar crimes.

You should also talk to a Baltimore criminal defense lawyer if you have been called as a witness in a criminal case or if you know the police are investigating you over a link to a crime.

Most defendants pay for their own criminal defense lawyers. It’s more straightforward to have a contractual relationship with a lawyer without the involvement of a third party either in hiring or paying for the lawyer. Sometimes parents or spouses help family members who get in trouble with the law.

When Might a Parent Pay for their Children’s Criminal Defense Lawyer in Baltimore?

The following circumstances describe when a parent might want or need to pay for their child’s Baltimore criminal defense attorney:

  • The child lacks the money to hire criminal defense;
  • The child is incarcerated and it’s easier for a parent or another family member to make legal arrangements;
  • The defendant suffers from psychological or emotional trauma and is too stressed to hire a lawyer.
  • The defendant is a juvenile.

Should a Parent Pay for their Children’s Baltimore Criminal Defense Lawyer?

Ideally, adult children should pay for their own legal representation, but it’s understandable for parents to help out. Parents should put conditions on their support. Often children pay their parents back or promise not to repeat behavior that got them in trouble in the first place such as underage drinking. If parents pay bail money for their children to get them out of a jail cell, they should be sure their sons or daughters will attend scheduled court hearings. Failure to show up can lead to the parents paying the full bond amount.

Parents who pay for a Baltimore criminal defense lawyer for their kids should be aware of potential ethical implications. Even if they paid the lawyer they do not have a right to be present at meetings between the lawyer and his client without their child’s permission.

The American Bar Association points out an attorney must make sure of the following before accepting third-party payment:

  1. The client, in this case, the child, gives clear informed consent;
  2. The information about the client’s representation is protected by confidentiality;
  3. The arrangement does not affect the independence or the client-attorney relationship.

The criminal defense lawyer should ensure the parents know that they are not part of the client-attorney relationship. The lawyer may discuss issues with the client that the parents should not be a party to. Parents should not expect to control their child’s legal defense because they paid for it.

The lawyer’s duty is to his client. Attorneys should be aware that the payor could try to control the legal defense via the amount of money they provide. Attorneys often draw up two separate sets of paperwork; one between the lawyer and the client he is representing and another between the attorney and the payor so help separate the parties.

Should Parents Pay for Juvenile Proceedings in Baltimore?

Parents have obligations towards children under 18 in the state. However, the law gives young people aged 15 and above responsibility for some decision-making. Parents should pay the legal costs of children in juvenile proceedings if possible.

A young person under the age of 18 should always ask for a lawyer and his or her parents or guardian during an arrest. You do not have to say anything to a police officer in the absence of an attorney or your parents. Juvenile proceedings are different from adult proceedings. The emphasis is on finding solutions to problems rather than punishment. juveniles are entitled to legal representation at every stage of the process after an arrest. Young people cannot appear in the juvenile courts without legal representation.

The state created an appointed attorneys program six years ago after the 2013 case of DeWolfe v. Richmond. The hearing entailed the right of a defendant to legal representation at an initial hearing before a district court commissioner. The Maryland Court of Appeals judges found it unfair to lock up a defendant because of a hearing at which he was unrepresented by a lawyer and “did not knowingly and intelligently waive the right to counsel.”

Talk to a Baltimore Criminal Defense Attorney for Your Child’s Juvenile Offenses

At Rice, Murtha & Psoras, our juvenile criminal defense attorney has worked for more than a decade with defendants and their families. We have represented many young people in Baltimore’s courts. Criminal courts in Baltimore can be very intimidating for young people. We will work with you closely and vigorously fight charges brought against you. Attorney Randolph Rice has an in-depth knowledge of the system. He worked as an Assistant State’s Attorney with the Baltimore County State Attorney’s Office before setting up his own firm in the city.

Please call us at (410) 431-0911 if your child or another family member ends up in jail or in trouble with the police in Baltimore.


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