Do you charge a consultation fee for criminal defense clients?
Yes, we charge a nominal $225 fee for criminal defense consultations for out of custody potential clients, but we will apply it to your retainer fee if you retain this office. So, if you're out of custody, your consultation is effectively free if you retain the firm to represent you.
Going to consult with someone in jail consumes a lot of travel and waiting time that isn't involved with out of custody clients. Therefore, we charge a non-refundable consultation fee for consulting with potential clients that are incarcerated. The attorney has to drive to the jail and the jail staff is usually in no hurry to make the potential client available and the attorney ends up waiting for a long time just to speak with the in custody potential client. So, if the person needing advice/representation is in jail, we charge a minimum of $400 to go consult with them at the jail. That fee is earned during the consult and will not be applied to the retainer fee.
Why do you charge a consultation fee if you apply it to the retainer fee anyway?
Quite simply because we don't want people wasting our time. Our legal services are in such high demand due to the quality of our representation that we don't have to waste our time giving free "consultations" to drum up business and convince people to hire us.
We know lots of other criminal defense attorneys offer free "consultations". Our hunch is those are more like sales pitches than consultations. We'll leave you to speculate why others must do that and we stay in business without needing to talk people into hiring us by giving them a sales pitch disguised as a consultation. Even if you don't hire this office, we'll give you a real consultation and not a sales pitch.
This office provides free consultations to local, state, or federal law enforcement officers.
If you're a law enforcement officer, we want your business! We know you can afford and need our services if you call. Therefore, we're not concerned you'll waste our time. Just identify yourself as a law enforcement officer when scheduling your consultation and it's free. We're happy to help you.
This in an American law firm. We live in the land of the free. This office is part of the fight to keep it that way. We're not against law enforcement or for criminals, we're for freedom, liberty, and the Constitution. Everyone in this great country of ours has a Constitutional right to an attorney to contest criminal actions against them if their liberty is at stake. Don't hesitate to call this office for a consultation when your career and liberty are at stake.
How much do you charge?
There is no one size fits all answer to this question. A consultation is necessary to give even an estimate. The complexity of your case, including whether your case requires a private investigator or expert witnesses, determines the amount of the retainer fee. The short answer is private criminal defense attorneys are not cheap and you will need to call our office for a consultation to find out how much your case might cost.
Most attorneys charge several hundred dollars per hour. With that in mind, don't expect a private defense attorney to only cost a few hundred dollars total if you want your attorney to spend a lot of time on your case and get you the best possible outcome. If you are looking for the cheapest attorney you can find or think you only want to pay a few hundred bucks for an attorney, you probably should ask the court to appoint the Public Defender to represent you instead. You'll probably be in better hands with a public defender than the cheapest private attorney you can find. Read that sentence again.
Should I use the Public Defender?
Well, to be blunt, I wouldn't. And I wouldn't recommend the public defender to a family member who could afford private legal representation. While there are definitely some private attorneys who are better than others, the biggest reason to hire a private defense attorney is a private attorney can put the amount of time into your case that is necessary to achieve the best possible outcome. This is opposed to being represented by a government attorney, a deputy public defender, who is typically overworked, has little incentive to get you the best deal or force the government to prove its case at a jury trial, and has little time to get to know you and your case. Many deputy public defenders are really good attorneys, but the circumstances of their government employment cause them to be less effective than a private attorney of the same skill level. They often simply have a very heavy caseload and do not get paid more for doing a good job for you. You did not pay them, so they don't have the same feeling of an obligation to you that a private attorney you pay should feel. They do not need to get positive word of mouth to attract new clients. If they do not do the best possible job on your case, it's almost certain the government will keep paying them anyway. Often you only meet and talk to your public defender in the seconds before your court hearing along with a large group of people that your public defender is also meeting for the first time that day. It is not uncommon for them to simply skim through your file for the first time in the minutes before your hearing while they meet you for the first time and explain to you why in their opinion you should plead guilty and accept the government's plea offer. If you're out of custody, they'll probably want you to waive your speedy trial rights at the first hearing because that is what is convenient for them, without much consideration of how strategically it might not be best for you. They probably won't give you more than a short two to three sentence explanation before they basically make the decision to waive time for you. If you try to call your public defender, expect return calls to come very slowly, if at all. Just try to get a copy of your file from them so you can go consult with a private attorney and you're likely to see what I'm talking about. To make matters worse, it is not uncommon for the public defender assigned to your case to change between your court dates.
You should keep in mind, you might not qualify for the services of the Public Defender if you earn more than a couple thousand dollars a month. And when the court appoints the Public Defender to represent you, if you are convicted of a crime, often the court will make you to pay the cost of the "reasonable cost" of the Public Defender's services during your sentencing. So you will likely have to pay for an attorney either way. You can pay upfront and have a private attorney, or you can pay the government after you are convicted.
Misdemeanor cases. This office generally enters into a flat fee true retainer for representation through the setting of a trial date. Most cases are resolved before a trial date is set. If a trial date is set, a separate flat fee true retainer will need to be entered into for representation through trial.
Felony cases. For felony cases this office generally enters into a flat fee true retainer for representation through the preliminary hearing. If the client is held to answer to any criminal allegations, then a separate flat fee true retainer will need to be entered into for representation through trial.
Trial representation. For representation through trial, this office generally requires a flat fee true retainer with a cap on the amount of hours for the flat fee. Should the attorney's time at trial exceed the cap then an hourly fee is charged.
Do you offer a payment plan?
Sometimes, but not always. This office always requires a large percentage of the retainer amount upfront. If you have a steady stream of income, then this office might be able to work out a payment plan with you. You'll definitely need to pay this office in full prior to the important dates in your case. This office will not extend a payment plan that goes beyond the expected trial date or conclusion of your case.
Serving Solano County and the Entire Bay Area.