The importance of having a clear understanding of attorney's fees cannot be understated if you are facing a criminal or DUI charge. For many people, the anxiety of possible criminal charges or a DUI arrest is simply overwhelming. So, they start calling lawyers on the internet and calling lawyers that are soliciting them by mail. If you are in this stage, stop and breathe for just a minute.
PERSONAL CONSIDERATIONS YOU SHOULD CONSIDER IN EVALUATING PROSPECTIVE DUI & CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEYS AND THEIR FEES
You have to understand that this is a long race, not a sprint. Thoughtfulness at the outset of the representation stage of this problem can save you a world of trouble in the long run. I strongly recommend that you do the following when you are trying to select a criminal defense or DUI attorney:
- Identify your personal priorities/goals,
- Set your budget,
- Identify a pool of possible lawyers and meet with them IN PERSON, and
- Make sure that the lawyer provides you with a written fee agreement.
Lack of clarity about what the lawyer's fees include and what costs that clients will be responsible for are a major source of conflict between lawyers and clients. Nothing will cause a relationship between a lawyer and a client to break down quicker than a lawyer who is constantly calling a client for money, or a lawyer that appears resistant to devote the required effort in a case because he/she has not been paid the requested fee.
CRUCIAL PHASES AND PROCESSES THAT YOU MUST BE AWARE OF IN EVALUATING AN ATTORNEY'S FEE AGREEMENT
It is difficult for you, as a prospective client, to understand all of the possible fees that can be associated with the representation, but you need to have a basic understanding of the basic concepts:
- Pre-indictment/accusation investigation
- Arraignment and preparation of motions
- Motions hearings
- Appeals (interlocutory or post-conviction)
A fee agreement should address what actions will be taken by the parties in each of these phases of the representation.
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