How Much Does Legal Defense Cost?
facing serious criminal charges one of the first questions you may have is how much will your defense cost. Two things
affect this - the seriousness and circumstances of your case and the skill level and competence of your defense attorney.
At our office, we try to ensure that our fees are reasonable and within your means. We will usually
be able to quote you a fee after a free initial consultation to discuss your situation. It is important to
consider the following points when you are looking for an attorney.
Is the price fixed, or will the price
go up as the case goes on? Some lawyers charge fees on a piecemeal basis, with no fixed fee and an unlimited number
of bills for services. This makes it impossible to predict how much you will pay for your case to be completed and puts pressure
on you to settle the case to stem the cost. Even worse, when you can no longer pay the added fees, you may find your
attorney moving to withdraw from your case leaving you in a difficult situation. However, if an attorney is confident
in his abilities and has handled cases like yours before, he should be able to quote you a fixed fee up front.
a trial included in the price? Some attorneys quote a fairly reasonable fee up front, but charge additional fees
for additional "services" - services they know will be necessary and which dramatically increase your costs. An
ethical attorney who knows the Lake County court system and has handled your type of case before won't do this. He will
know that most of the work needed to get a good outcome for you happens before and sometimes without a trial. You should never
underestimate the value of having an attorney who prepares his case, knows the system and the people in it, and who may be
able to obtain a settlement or a dismissal of your charges before the case goes to trial. At the Law Offices of Steven
P. McCollum, P.C., in most cases we will quote you a fees that will include all matters.
Are there other costs? There are some legitimate additional costs that your
attorney may charge you. These include the costs of expert witnesses, court reporter fees for any depositions, investigator's
fees, costs to obtain documents, and other extraordinary costs. But your lawyer should know from your initial interview
whether these costs can be anticipated. Some other lawyers will charge you for the services of additional lawyers who
they will need to bring in to help them. This won't happen at the Law Offices of Steven P. McCollum. Be sure to
ask your attorney for all possible costs and legal fees. A good law firm should be able to provide all of the required legal
services for a flat fee.
How do we charge for our services? The Law Offices
of Steven P. McCollum, P.C. charges a flat fee which depends on the nature of your case and our knowledge of how much work
should be required to defend you. We do everything possible to keep our fees reasonable and to allow you to pay those
fees with checks, credit cards, or cash.
The Attorney-Client Trust Account (IOLTA)
Any money you pay to cover non-attorney expenses is held
in an client trust account. This money can only be used for expenses approved by you, and any unused money must be
returned to you when your case is finished.
A law firm is only allowed to use your money as described in your
retainer agreement, and no law firm may earn interest or otherwise use this money. We hold and disburse your money as required
under the Illinois Supreme Court rules. The use of your trust account money for any purpose other than your case is illegal.
When you look for an attorney, be certain that the attorney is ethical and handles your case and any money you deposit for
costs in an ethical manner.
for a Lawyer
More than with almost any other service, when you are looking for an attorney, experience
is vital. Attorneys who offer to handle your case for an unusually low fee will only lead you to ruin. At the very
least, the attorney will not be able to afford to spend the time needed on your case. Worse yet, the attorney may be unqualified
to properly handle your case.
The outcome of your case will typically affect the rest of your life. If
you find an attorney who will take your case for $10,000 less than another attorney, but the result is 5 years in prison,
did you really save money? How much is five years of your life worth to you? How do you think that criminal record will affect
your ability to find good employment for the rest of your life?
Shopping for an attorney is not like shopping
for a new coat or a car. In most cases, you cannot "return" an attorney if he or she does not work out for you.
The most important consideration in selecting an attorney is the quality of the defense that will be provided. You are not
paying a law firm simply to take your case or spend time on it. You are paying to get results.
Can I Finance Legal Fees?
A legal defense is an event in
your life that requires the absolute best that you can afford. Unfortunately, most people do not readily have the money required
to mount the best defense. For this reason, many clients will need to finance their legal fees. We accept all forms of credit
cards and other forms of payment.
If you want an attorney
with an extensive background both as a prosecutor and defense attorney, who charges reasonable fees, and who has proven expertise
and past success defending criminal and juvenile cases, please call us at (847) 662-2474.