How Much Does A Legal Defense Cost?
One of the first questions most clients have when facing criminal charges is how much their defense will cost. Of course, the answer depends on the circumstances of your case and the quality of the defense team. Usually, an attorney will be able to quote you a fee after an initial consultation to discuss your situation. The following are some points to consider when shopping for an attorney.
Is the price fixed, or could it increase as the case progresses? Beware of legal contracts that charge strictly on a "pay as you go" basis. These arrangements make it difficult to predict total costs up front, and you could find yourself out of cash in the middle of the criminal process. If an attorney is confident in his or her abilities, that attorney should be able to assume the risk of giving you a fixed price up front.
Is a trial included in the price? An attorney might appear to be inexpensive by offering you a very low fee with the stipulation that court time costs extra (usually, a lot extra). The problem with this approach is that a most of the work needed to get a good trial outcome occurs before the trial begins. Good trial preparation often results in a settlement or even the dropping of charges before the case goes to court. Skipping trial preparation in order to save money might actually cost you dearly in the end in the form of higher legal fees and a worse case result.
Are there hidden costs? Be sure to ask your attorney for a full disclosure of all possible costs and legal fees. Avoid agreements in which you must pay extra for the participation of additional attorneys or for court fees. A good law firm should be able to provide all of the required legal service for a flat fee and then absorb the cost when legal assistance might be needed from other firms. In those cases when legal services from outside law firms may be needed, your lawyer is legally required to disclose any fee splits to you.
What extra expenses are involved? Be aware that regardless of the fees quoted to you, a case of any complexity may require investigators, psychologists and other non-lawyer staff. There may be costs associated with obtaining documents, evidence or other records. Discuss these fees with your attorney up front. While it is not always possible to predict the additional costs that might arise in trial preparation, a good rule of thumb is to estimate about 10% of your legal fees for these outside costs.
The Attorney-Client Trust Account
The money you pay to cover expenses (and legal fees in some states) is required to be held in an attorney-client trust account. This money can only be used for approved fees and expenses, and any unused portion must be returned to you at the termination of the legal service.
The law firm is not allowed to use your money for any purpose other than those stated in your retainer agreement, nor is the law firm permitted to earn interest or other profit from the money. The law firm is simply a custodian of this money to make sure it is available when needed.
The use of your trust account money for any purpose other than your case is illegal. Be sure your law firm is reputable (check for state bar complaints, Better Business Bureau ratings, client testimonials and number of years the attorneys have been in business). Ask who audits the books for the law firm, and make sure that the accountant of record is reputable. Be sure you get regular statements of your trust account. If you have any suspicions, ask for an independent audit of the trust accounts.
Call us now at (800) 459-2500 to speak with an attorney.
Price Shopping for Attorneys
As with any service, you get what you pay for. Beware of any attorney that offers to take your case for an unusually low fee. At the very least, the attorney will not be able to afford to spend the time needed on your case. Worse yet, the attorney may be unqualified to properly handle your case.
The outcome of your case will typically affect the rest of your life. If you find an attorney who will take your case for $10,000 less than another attorney, but the result is 5 years in prison, did you really save money? How much is five years of your life worth to you? How do you think that criminal record will affect your ability to find good employment for the rest of your life?
Shopping for an attorney is not like shopping for a new coat or a car. In most cases, you cannot "return" an attorney if he or she does not work out for you. The most important consideration in selecting an attorney is the quality of the defense that will be provided. You are not paying a law firm simply to take your case or spend time on it. You are paying to get results.
Can I Afford The Criminal Defense Group?
While we are not the least expensive law firm you will find, we are the best. For the quality of defense we provide, our prices are unbeatable. We are able to offer top level defense at a price that most people can afford because of the efficiency of our business model and the size of our firm. Our group includes some of the top attorneys and defense professionals in the nation, and we afford them by spreading their cost over a wide variety of cases. Most clients we meet can afford our fees.
Can I Finance Legal Fees?
A legal defense is usually (hopefully) a one-time event in your life that requires the absolute best that you can afford. Unfortunately, most people do not readily have the cash required to mount the best defense. For this reason, most clients need assistance in this area. Call the firm @ (800) 459-2500 so we can discuss the case and possible ways to make finance arrangements.