LEGAL FEES IN CRIMINAL CASES

How much is it going to cost?

This is one of the first questions that most clients have when facing criminal charges. Of course, the answer depends on the circumstances of your case and the quality and experience of the lawyers you are hiring. Usually, we will be able to quote you a fee after your free initial consultation to discuss your situation. The following are some points to consider when comparing attorneys:

Is the price fixed, or could it increase as the case progresses?

We generally handle these types of cases on a flat fee basis. That means you pay one fee for us to handle you case from the beginning through the trial court level. With our many years of experience we are confident in our abilities and are able to assume the risk of giving you a fixed price up front. Watch out for payment schemes that charge 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 process.

Is a trial included in the price?

Yes, at Schaffer & Black, PC our fee agreement will clearly spell this out. Some other attorneys might appear to be cheaper by offering you a very low fee with the catch that court time costs extra. The problem with this method is that a most of the work needed to get good results occurs before you go to court. We do hours of work before we even set foot in the courtroom because we know that 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 will cost you dearly in the long run in the form of hidden legal fees and bad case results.

Are there hidden legal fees?

Not with Schaffer & Black, PC. Our contracts are in writing and spell out clearly what is included. When considering a lawyer always ask to see a copy of the fee agreement. Take a look at it and be sure it has full disclosure of all possible costs and legal fees. If they don’t even have a legal contract- watch out. After all if the lawyer can’t protect himself how is he going to protect you?

What extra expenses are involved?

Our contract spells out what the legal fees will be. A case of any complexity can also require investigators, psychologists and other non-lawyer staff. There may be costs associated with obtaining documents, evidence or other records. All of these costs will be discussed with you. Our contract spells out that we will not incur any additional costs without your consent.

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. Fees are a function of the market. An attorney may be able to offer such a low price because not much time will be spent on your case or worse yet, the attorney may be cheap because they are new or inexperienced. In the long run the cheapest lawyer can often be the costliest. For example, five years of supervised probation alone can cost you as much as $5100 in fees to the State of Maryland!

If you find an attorney who will take your case for $2,000 less than another attorney, but the result is 5 years in prison, did you really save money? What cost can you put on years of your life? Additionally being burdened with a criminal record can affect your ability to find a good job for the rest of your life?

Shopping for an attorney is not like shopping for a new dress or a computer. In most cases, you cannot "return" an attorney if he or she does not work out for you. Your number one consideration in selecting an attorney must be 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 Schaffer & Black, PC?

While we are not the least (nor the most) expensive firm you will find, we find we offer a fair price for the experience and service you get. Our attorneys are all former prosecutors or public defenders, or sometimes both. With our decades of combined experience we offer high quality criminal defense with a proven track record of success at a price that most people can afford.

How can I pay for my Legal Fees?

A legal defense is hopefully a one-time event in your life that requires the best that you can afford. We accept cash, checks, money order and all major credit cards. We can also work with you to establish a payment plan.