There is no shortage of good blawg advise on hiring a criminal attorney. There is a shortage of good information on hiring me. Too fill that void let me offer a quick guide to our consultation.
Like most criminal defense lawyers I don’t charge for a consultation. I gladly donate 30 minute (sometimes longer) blocks of time to prospective clients.
Free consultations are important pro bono work. Potential clients come to my office saddled with fear and uncertainty. This anxiety can lead to poor decision making (like taking a “great” plea offer). I provide guidance and experience that can help you make better decisions going forward, gratis.
The Part That’s Not Free- Legal Fees
This is usually the part where defense lawyers tell you how expensive convictions are, and how important we are. It’s not lawyer posturing or fear mongering. It’s the truth. You need a good lawyer to avoid getting screwed by the system.
How do I arrive at your fee? The first consideration is the offense. Most lawyers have a ballpark figure for DWIs, state jail dope cases etc. This initial number is based on how much work similar cases have taken in the past, how difficult the DA is etc. Other factors can influence the final cost- your criminal history, factual complexity, suppression issues, experts needed, pending deadlines etc.
What are the odds of _____________?
Most clients ask “What are the odds I get probation?” or “What percentage of these cases are dismissed?” Clients want a criminal defense forecast/weather report.
What you want me to say-
“There is a 30% chance of deferred probation, however a high pressure DA is moving into your court and bringing with her a 50% chance of jail time.”
What I do say-
I can’t guarantee any outcome. I can tell you what I have seen in similar cases and what I will do to fight your case. I am not a law prophet. There are too many variables I don’t control (judge, prosecutors, cops, witnesses) to guarantee anything.
“But this other lawyer said he can get the case dismissed”. To borrow a title from Mark Bennett, that lawyer is an asshat. (link fail, Shawn Matlock is NOT an asshat). I would love to promise you a dismissal with a letter from the police apologizing for you arrest. I can’t because I avoid asshatery at all costs.