Am I liable for my boyfriends criminal legal fees if we live together? 46 Answers as of July 11, 2013

My boyfriend needs an attorney and is currently unemployed. We live together in his brother's house. Am I responsible for his legal fees since we live together? Should we get a lawyer?

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Law Offices of Scott Tibbedeaux
Law Offices of Scott Tibbedeaux | Scott Tibbedeaux
No, you are not responsible for your boyfriend's legal fees. Also, if he cannot afford a private lawyer, get a public defender.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 7/13/2011
Edward  D. Dowling IV Attorney at Law
Edward D. Dowling IV Attorney at Law | Edward D. Dowling IV
This response is general information only and does not establish an attorney client relationship. However you are not responsible to pay his criminal fines or atorneys fees, but he should hire an attorney.
Answer Applies to: New York
Replied: 7/5/2011
Thomas J. Tomko Attorney At law
Thomas J. Tomko Attorney At law | Thomas J. Tomko
No, unless you signed as a guarantor of his legal fees.
Answer Applies to: Michigan
Replied: 7/4/2013
Wallin & Klarich
Wallin & Klarich | Sheldon E. Lee
No, you are not obligated to pay legal fees just because you live together.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 7/1/2011
Lacy Fields, Attorney at Law, LLC
Lacy Fields, Attorney at Law, LLC | Lacy Fields
You are not responsible for his fees. However, if you sign the contract with the attorney then you are contractually liable. You should almost always get an attorney if you are charged with a crime. You may not be able to beat the charges, but you usually get a much better deal if you have an attorney.
Answer Applies to: Missouri
Replied: 7/1/2011
    The English Law Firm
    The English Law Firm | Robert English
    You are not responsible for his legal fees unless you choose to help him voluntarily.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 7/11/2013
    Craig W. Elhart, P.C.
    Craig W. Elhart, P.C. | Craig Elhart
    Living together does not make a person responsible for the debts of another unless they co-sign a contract agreeing to be liable. Just because you are living with your boyfriend does not make you responsible for his legal fees unless you sign a contract with the attorney. I have no idea why he needs an attorney but if he is facing a legal matter, the help of an attorney can be beneficial.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 6/30/2011
    The Law Office of Harry E. Hudson, Jr.
    The Law Office of Harry E. Hudson, Jr. | Harry E. Hudson, Jr.
    You have given no reason for you to hire one. As for boy friend's legal fees, he is on his own.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 6/30/2011
    Andersen Law PLLC
    Andersen Law PLLC | Craig Andersen
    Even if you were married, you would not be responsible for providing him with an attorney. Whether he needs an attorney depends on the charge or charges and your BF's criminal history. If he is unemployed and making a minimal or no income, the court will appoint an attorney at no cost. Depending where you live, that may be a good or not-so-good thing.
    Answer Applies to: Washington
    Replied: 6/30/2011
    Harden Law Offices
    Harden Law Offices | Leonard D. Harden
    Unless you signed a contract you are not liable for anyone's fees whether you live together or not.
    Answer Applies to: New Hampshire
    Replied: 6/30/2011
    Theodore W. Robinson, P.C.
    Theodore W. Robinson, P.C. | Theodore W. Robinson
    No. Yes, he should get his own lawyer with his own money since he was the one to get himself into trouble. Good luck.
    Answer Applies to: New York
    Replied: 6/30/2011
    Law Office of Phillip Weiser
    Law Office of Phillip Weiser | Phillip L. Weiser
    You are not under any obligation to pay for your boyfriends legal fees. If he is unable to hire his own attorney for a criminal charge, he can ask the court to appoint an attorney to represent him.
    Answer Applies to: Kansas
    Replied: 6/30/2011
    Bloom Legal, LLC
    Bloom Legal, LLC | Seth J. Bloom
    Unless you are legally married to this individual, it is unlikely that you have any legal obligation to pay for any sort of fees.
    Answer Applies to: Louisiana
    Replied: 6/30/2011
    Frances R. Johnson
    Frances R. Johnson | Frances R. Johnson
    In Colorado legally responsible, no. If he is unemployed and charged with a serious enough offense (either in county or district court), he should qualify for a public defender or other free attorney.
    Answer Applies to: Colorado
    Replied: 6/29/2011
    Wallin & Klarich: A Law Corporation
    Wallin & Klarich: A Law Corporation | Christopher Lee
    Generally speaking, you should definitely seek the advice of an attorney if you or a loved one has been charged with a crime. Just because you live with your boyfriend does not necessarily meant that you are responsible for your boyfriend's legal fees. However, you can help your boyfriend by helping him pay for his legal fee but you are not required to.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 6/29/2011
    Law Office of Jared Altman
    Law Office of Jared Altman | Jared Altman
    No. You are not responsible for his legal fees. Yes. If he is charged with one or more criminal offenses where the penalty may involve jail, then he really needs a lawyer.
    Answer Applies to: New York
    Replied: 6/29/2011
    Law Office of Andrew Subin
    Law Office of Andrew Subin | Andrew Subin
    He should get a lawyer. You do not have to help pay for it.
    Answer Applies to: Washington
    Replied: 6/29/2011
    The Chastaine Law Office
    The Chastaine Law Office | Michael Chastaine
    You are not liable for your boyfriends legal fees. You dont provide enough information regarding the need to hirer legal counsel but as a general rule that is usually a good idea.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 6/29/2011
    Law Office of Richard Williams
    Law Office of Richard Williams | Richard Williams
    You are not responsible for your boyfriend's legal fees just because you live with him. You would only be responsible for his fees if you agreed, in writing, to pay for his fees.Whether you hire an attorney or not should depend on the nature of the charges against your boyfriend. A good rule of thumb is to never represent yourself on a charge if the charge is a serious charge or if you are hoping to avoid a record of conviction.
    Answer Applies to: Alabama
    Replied: 6/29/2011
    Flores & Lopez Law Firm
    Flores & Lopez Law Firm | Joe Lopez
    Simple answer to the fees is no, you're not liable. Should you get a lawyer? Depends what the charge is... You want to be diligent in who you hire... thanks.
    Answer Applies to: Texas
    Replied: 6/29/2011
    Goolsby Law Office
    Goolsby Law Office | Richard Goolsby
    While I cannot predict its impact on the relationship, if you choose not to help him, I would recommend that he try to retain a criminal lawyer, or he could seek an appointed lawyer, if he cannot afford one and qualifies. Good luck!
    Answer Applies to: Georgia
    Replied: 6/29/2011
    Beaulier Law Office
    Beaulier Law Office | Maury Beaulier
    You have no obligation to pay a significant others legal fees whether you reside together or not.
    Answer Applies to: Minnesota
    Replied: 6/29/2011
    Douglas Holbrook Criminal Defense Attorney
    Douglas Holbrook Criminal Defense Attorney | Douglas Holbrook
    Living together does not make one liable for their roommates legal fees. If he needs and attorney, he should contact an attorney!
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 6/29/2011
    Law Office of Rankin Johnson IV, LLC
    Law Office of Rankin Johnson IV, LLC | Rankin Johnson IV
    Yes, he should get a lawyer, but if he can't afford one for criminal charges, the court will appoint one. The court probably won't look at your income, and you aren't legally responsible for his debts, but if he ends up with a lawyer he doesn't trust, you might choose to help out. Some public defenders are excellent attorneys, so you might wait and meet with that attorney before making any choices.
    Answer Applies to: Oregon
    Replied: 6/29/2011
    Law Office of Barry Melton
    Law Office of Barry Melton | Barry Melton
    No. In California, a living-together relationship does not make you responsible for your boyfriend's legal fees. If your boyfriend is unemployed and cannot afford to hire a lawyer, he probably qualifies for the services of a public defender or other court-appointed lawyer. When your boyfriend goes to court (if he does not have other income or substantial resources), he should tell the judge he is unemployed and request the court to appoint a lawyer to represent him. If the court appoints a lawyer to represent your boyfriend he may be liable to pay for his legal services at the conclusion of the case, depending on his ability to pay.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 6/29/2011
    Jonathan S. Willett Attorney at Law
    Jonathan S. Willett Attorney at Law | Jonathan S. Willett
    No, you are not liable for his fees. Generally, you should get a lawyer wen faced with a crime in court. Try applying for a public defender if you have little household income. "House hold income" is the standard used to determine whether you qualify.
    Answer Applies to: Colorado
    Replied: 6/29/2011
    Cynthia Henley, Lawyer
    Cynthia Henley, Lawyer | Cynthia Henley
    No, you are NOT liable for his criminal legal fees nor his attorney. Your income should not be considered, either, if he makes an application for an appointed attorney. He should list his income and his expenses (which are probably half of the total) but your income is yours. If he can afford a lawyer, he definitely needs to hire one. Any time one is charged with a criminal offense a lawyer should be hired.
    Answer Applies to: Texas
    Replied: 6/29/2011
    Michael Breczinski
    Michael Breczinski | Michael Breczinski
    The answer is maybe. Did you agree with the lawyer to be responsible? if so then yes.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 6/29/2011
    Miller & Harrison, LLC
    Miller & Harrison, LLC | David Harrison
    He should get a lawyer for sure. There is no reason YOU should pay for it, though, unless you want to for some reason.
    Answer Applies to: Colorado
    Replied: 6/29/2011
    Gregory Casale Attorney at Law
    Gregory Casale Attorney at Law | Gregory Casale
    Unless you somehow participated in the crime you have absolutely no obligation to pay for his defense. If he does try to implicate you contact an attorney at once. If you would like to discuss this matter in more detail, you can reach me.
    Answer Applies to: Massachusetts
    Replied: 6/29/2011
    The Law Office of Eric R. Chandler, P.C., L.L.O.
    The Law Office of Eric R. Chandler, P.C., L.L.O. | Eric R. Chandler
    No. Not unless YOU hired the attorney and YOU signed the contract.
    Answer Applies to: Nebraska
    Replied: 6/29/2011
    Arnold & Wadsworth
    Arnold & Wadsworth | Brian Arnold
    I have not idea why you would think you are responsible for his attorney fees. Did you sign the retainer?
    Answer Applies to: Utah
    Replied: 7/11/2013
    Austin Legal Services, PLC
    Austin Legal Services, PLC | Jared Austin
    You would only be liable if you signed an agreement stating that you would be liable. Your boyfriend is responsible for his own bills, his own debts, and his own attorney costs. If he is charged with a crime, then he needs to get a lawyer, not we, not you. If he is charged with a crime, then he should seek out an experienced criminal attorney.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 6/29/2011
    Klisz Law Office, PLLC
    Klisz Law Office, PLLC | Timothy J. Klisz
    You are certainly not "responsible", but I'm sure he needs a skilled attorney.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 6/29/2011
    Law Offices of Martina A. Vigil, PC
    Law Offices of Martina A. Vigil, PC | Martina A. Vigil
    If you are paying for his legal fees, you should have your boyfriend sign a contract promising to pay you back. He may be able to prove that the money you're fronting was a gift with no obligation to pay you back without a contract stating otherwise. You can make this contract yourself or hire an attorney to do it for you.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 6/29/2011
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