You Get What You Pay For
Getting arrested for a criminal offense is a serious matter that can not be taken lightly. For most, there is a lot at stake when taking into account the consequences of a criminal conviction. However, not everyone who gets arrested for a crime have the financial ability to hire a private criminal defense attorney. The new breed of criminal defense attorney knows that and unfortunately have preyed upon these people with false guarantees and unreasonable fees. The new breed that I speak of are those "lawyers" who work as a prosecutor for a year, realize they can't survive on the meager salary and since they can not find a job with another firm for lack of legal experience, decide to open their own office and take advantage of the disadvantaged. Having a "former prosecutor" as a defense attorney will only work to your advantage if that attorney was a prosecutor long enough to have handled your type of case.
Charging an individual $500 on a case that a good, experience attorney would charge five times that amount is not good for anyone, especially the client. These "cheap" lawyers have created a business structure that relies on a volume practice, which means to get as many cases in as possible, plead them out immediately or hold the case and the client hostage later for more money.
This type of business is hurting our system tremendously. Clients are getting the shaft as they are often times forced into taking a plea on a case where they have a valid defense. It is also overloading our court sytem because these lawyers are constantly delaying the cases with the hope of convincing the client to pay more money than originally agreed upon. I have had countless clients who told me stories about how their previous attorney would take their money and they would never speak to them again. I had one client who had a previous attorney who took $2,000 from him for a serious criminal offense. Two weeks later, without doing anything, that attorney demanded more money and threatened to withdraw from the case if it was not paid. These "holding hostage" type tactics have unfortunately become fairly commonplace among these "low priced lawyers."
I was brought up believing in two things. The first is you truly do get what you pay for. If you pay little, you will get little. The second is that if it sounds too good to be true, it is. If an attorney gives you a guarantee regarding the outcome of a criminal case, he/she is lying to get your money. There is no such thing as a sure thing in our complicated criminal justice system.
Because of the tremendous affects that a criminal conviction can have on ones life, it is imperative to make your defense a priority. This means doing whatever necessary to find the funds to hire a good, experienced and reputable criminal defense attorney, not one just looking to make a few quick bucks in exchange for empty promises.