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Question

What happens if someone can't afford an attorney, but their parents make too much money to qualify for a public defender? This could happen if the parents make good money, BUT have huge bills and can't afford to hire an attorney. What can this person do???

Answer

A person charged with a crime has a right to counsel. Where that person is a juvenile, the court may consider the parents' income in determining how much to assess the family for the services of an attorney, but the parents' income is not a waiver of the juvenile's right to counsel. A juvenile cannot contract to hire an attorney for him or herself; nor can a juvenile or a court force the parents to hire an attorney privately.

The juvenile is entitled to a public defender even if the parents otherwise make too much money. The court should appoint an attorney and order the parents to make payments on their share of the cost.

See Rule 10A and 10B of the Arizona Rules of Procedure for the Juvenile Court.

Added:
Friday, 23 July 2010
Revised:
Friday, 23 July 2010

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