One of the biggest concerns when hiring a Southern California Criminal Defense attorney is the amount it will cost you. Many people are on a budget and the expense of an attorney is not something that has been planned for, making it difficult to be able to hire an experienced and knowledgeable attorney with the budget they have. Fortunately, there are many options so that a person who needs the help of a well established attorney is able to get it.
Many personal injury cases or civil litigation type cases will allow what is known as a contingency fee. This allows the person being represented to not have to provide any money initially, or as a retainer. The attorney gets paid from any money that is awarded or part of a settlement. The general percentage given as a contingency fee is generally around 33%.
Criminal cases, however, do not use contingency fees. It is against the California Rules of Ethics for attorneys to charge a contingency rate on a criminal case. Additionally, there is rarely any money that is being sought in criminal court, therefore such a fee method would not make sense. Beware of a criminal defense attorney who agrees to do your case on a contingency basis, they may be violating ethical obligations they have to the California State Bar.
Criminal Defense lawyers generally work with a flat attorney’s fees. They will quote you a flat fee that will include all work on your case as well as a set number of courtroom appearances. If your case goes to trial or becomes more complicated involving several more courtroom appearances, the attorney will let you know beforehand how much each additional appearance will cost. In most cases, only 2 to 3 appearance are required and your case is resolved and that will be included in your flat fee.
They flat fee may be high based on the specific facts and complexities of your case. In those situations experienced attorneys offer a payment plan that allows you to make payments and still get the help you need for your case. The payment plans allows a reasonable solution for those who want to hire professional and reputable legal help but feel that they cannot afford to pay the entire retainer up front.
When looking to hire a criminal defense attorney, it is also important to consider the old adage, that what you pay for is what you get. When you pay a little more for legal help, you are paying the expertise and knowledge of years of experience. The attorneys who have been practicing in the criminal law field for 30 plus years may have higher prices than those who have not, but they have handled cases like yours thousands of times. They are familiar with the courtroom, the Judge and the Prosecutor’s and are able to offer you a strong effective defense in comparison to those that are new to the field and charge less for the same case.
Having a criminal record may affect your future career and educational endeavors. Be sure to give yourself the best possible chance in having your case dismissed or reduced!