Have you noticed that when you need something, the price usually goes up? When COVID-19 hit, face mask prices increased 500 percent in some areas. So, many people expect to pay lots of money for a lawyer if they are accused of a crime.
Fortunately, that’s not the way it works in this area. Legal ethics require attorneys to set fixed fees for certain services. Experience level is usually the biggest factor. So, as an attorney gains experience over the years, the attorney can charge more money. But lawyers cannot double or triple their fees because you had a brush with the law.
Nevertheless, retaining the services of a good Buffalo criminal lawyer is a significant investment. Before you transmit your credit card information, there are a number of things to consider. Always remember that you have choices in this area. Your criminal case is a very serious matter, but it is not a matter of imminent life and death. People usually have a few days to make a decision.
Free Lawyers in Buffalo, MN
In a significant number of cases, the cost of a Minnesota criminal defense lawyer is nothing, or at least practically nothing. The Sixth Amendment guarantees the right to counsel in criminal cases. Furthermore, the Supreme Court recently ruled that this right means the counsel of your choice.
Exact procedure varies in different counties, and in different courts in the same county. However, the free lawyer choices are always the same: a public defender or a court-appointed lawyer.
There is some truth to the image of the overworked public defender. But truthfully, if a Buffalo criminal lawyer is not busy, there is always a reason, and it’s usually not a good reason. Additionally, many court-appointed attorneys and public defenders must meet higher professional standards than a lawyer you happen to find on Google.
However, there are some serious drawbacks. Many judges only appoint lawyers for incarcerated defendants. They reason, perhaps wrongly, that if you can afford bail, you can afford a lawyer. Additionally, individuals have no say in this process. The judge assigns counsel, sometimes at random and sometimes according to a preset formula. If you do not like your lawyer for some reason, there is generally nothing you can do.
Incidentally, you can represent yourself in a court case, including a criminal case. As a rule of thumb, if the criminal case includes possible jail time, self-representation is one of the biggest mistakes a person can make.
Expensive Buffalo Criminal Lawyers
The old adage you get what you pay for is not always true. On the low end, an inexpensive Buffalo criminal lawyer is most likely inexperienced or not very diligent. The aforementioned public interest lawyers do not count. The state pays these attorneys a competitive rate.
However, a high-priced lawyer is not necessarily better than a mid-priced lawyer. Typically, clients of high-priced lawyers pay for extras, like a large office, a famous name, or a large staff. Effective criminal defense usually does not require these things.
How Much Should I Expect to Pay?
First, a few words about fee structure. Informed consumers usually make the best choices. Some attorneys require retainers and bills by the hour. When the retainer account falls below a certain level, the client must add more money. Hourly billing is especially common in civil cases.
Most criminal attorneys charge stairstep fees, such as X for a negotiated settlement, X+Y for a bench trial, and X+Y+Z for a jury trial. Most Buffalo criminal lawyers also charge more for felonies than misdemeanors. Felonies are more complex, and there is more at stake.
Next, let’s look at how most attorneys set their fees. As mentioned, the Minnesota State Bar allows lawyers to set fees based on a number of factors. Two of the big ones are:
- Experience: Look beyond years of experience. To many lawyers, criminal law is a sideline. These lawyers should be avoided, as should one-trick pony attorneys who only practice criminal law. You want someone in the middle.
- Time Commitment: A murder trial or similar complex felony might require several months of full-time work. Since the lawyer cannot work on anything else during this period, the legal fee could be substantial. Also, the reason some lawyers charge less to handle plea bargains is that such matters are less time-consuming.
Other factors include the prevailing market rate for similar services, the novelty of the legal questions involved, and the client’s ability to pay.
Hiring an attorney involves smart thinking. Being charged with a crime can have life-changing consequences for the defendant and not in a good way. A conviction can ruin your life, and must be avoided as far as possible. In such cases, the services of an attorney who is experienced in dealing with such legal matters and getting favorable outcomes can make all the difference. Hence, it makes sense to have the best attorney on your side. Consider it as an investment you make towards a secure future. Hopefully, this post has helped you understand the importance of choosing an ethical and experienced criminal defense lawyer who adheres to a set fee structure to aggressively protect your interests.
Contact an Aggressive Criminal Defense Attorney in Buffalo
If you or your loved one has been arrested, you should act as quickly as possible because evidence and case facts need to be gathered without any delay. Our Buffalo criminal defense lawyers can begin working on your case as soon as you contact us, so you can look forward to positive outcomes and even avoid a potential conviction. Legal representation in a criminal case might be the most important investment you ever make. For a free consultation with an experienced Buffalo criminal lawyer, contact Carlson & Jones, P.A. at (855) 976-2444. Convenient payment plans are available.