I have been charged with a crime! Can I afford a lawyer?
Here is the scenario: You just got arrested or got a call from a police officer that “just wants to talk with you.” Criminal charges never come at a good time. If you are charged with a felony or misdemeanor, your defense has to be your first priority. Your last and only line of defense is a Michigan Criminal Defense Attorney.
When asking yourself, “can I afford a lawyer?”, you have to consider not just the cost of attorney fees but also the cost of a conviction. Penalties for criminal convictions obviously include potential jail sentences, probation, fines, and costs. Many people do not realize that a criminal conviction can jeopardize custody, employability, financial stability and much more. Your ability to obtain credit, get a mortgage or student loan, get a job requiring a license, or do any of the hundreds of things that require a criminal background check can be destroyed. A criminal conviction will likely be on your record for life.
Politicians who have talked about being “tough on crime” have turned the criminal justice system into a conviction machine, and made law enforcement a game in which the prize is a bigger budget. Ultimately, many prosecutions are all about the money and the government using police and prosecutors to help balance a strained budget.
So, if you have been or might be charged, you are in the proverbial cross hairs of the criminal justice system and you are asking, “Can I afford a lawyer?”
You need a good Michigan Criminal Defense Lawyer.
The reality is that if you want a good lawyer, you will need to pay him or her. You probably will have to pay more than you expect and you will have to pay some amount of the fee up front. Most criminal defense lawyers charge flat fees, payable at the beginning of the case. Some offer payment plans. Costs are the responsibility of the client and can include things like subpoena fees, investigators, reproduction of discovery and transcripts.
If you don’t have the financial wherewithal to hire a lawyer, it is in your best interest to find a way. If there has ever been a time in your life to ask friends, family, or employers for help, this is the time. It is your job, your future, your life and your liberty on the line. This is not the time to shop for discounts. In the criminal defense world, you get what you pay for. Hiring a cheap lawyer generally results in bargain basement service and bargain basement results. Considering the potential repercussions from a criminal conviction, you need the best lawyer you can get.
Talk to your family and friends and tell them that you need to hire a lawyer. Most criminal defense lawyers take credit cards. You can also get a check from most credit card issuers for a cash advance. You can also request an emergency credit card from most banks. If you have to sell assets, it may be worth doing so if it saves you considerable jail time, lost employment due to a criminal conviction or potential immigration problems. You can always acquire new assets but you may never be able to get your reputation, professional license, custody or current job back. You do not get a second chance at a criminal charge, and the effects of the charge could be with you for far longer than your car or jewelry ever will.
If this sounds callous, or overly dramatic, it’s not. Your life and your future are worth more than the money you will save using a court appointed attorney or discount lawyer who does not care about you and doesn’t have the time or resources to do everything possible to fight for you.
Instead of asking, “can I afford a lawyer?” consider asking yourself, “can I afford not to have a good lawyer?”
You are worth more than that. You deserve to be defended by someone who takes the time to get to know you, who puts up a fight for you and cares what happens to you. Although it may not be easy come up with the necessary legal fees for a good criminal defense lawyer, you definitely can’t afford not to hire one. Instead of asking, “can I afford a lawyer?” consider asking yourself, “can I afford not to have a good lawyer?”