No matter the circumstance surrounding your charges, you deserve quality legal representation. Along with potential jail time and serious fines, many people charged with a misdemeanor or felony in Ohio are concerned with the sheer cost of defense. We strongly believe this at Joslyn Law Firm and work with each of our clients' unique situations to help them secure the representation they need.
There are thousands of attorneys and law firms in the Buckeye State, each with vastly different fees and financing options. However, settling on an attorney should not be done because of an attractive low flat fee that is offered. This page is intended to provide you with more insight into the rationale behind many of these fees and information about available outside finance options.
Common Types of Payment Plans for Ohio Defense Cases
Some law firms will charge a flat fee up front, which is intended to cover all costs related to the case throughout defending the case. If you are interviewing law firms and one charges a flat fee, be sure that they have a firm grasp on your potential defense strategy. After all, your case is unique – how can an attorney determine a fee without a better understanding of what is involved?
Other law firms will have what is called a "pay as you go" plan. At each stage of the case, you will be charged a fee that covers all expenses for the following stage. While this can make paying for representation easier, it can be easy to run out of funds and negatively affect the remaining stages of your trial. However, it can be beneficial for defendants with steady finances.
How Criminal Attorney Fees Are Determined
Every case is unique, even if the charges involved are the same. The smallest details revealed during investigation and even the defendant's background can make the difference in the defense strategy that is used. This means that the fee to fund a proper defense strategy should be determined only after reviewing many of the factors involved in your case.
Your Dayton criminal lawyer will examine the following factors, among others, in compiling a reasonable fee plan for your case.
- Did the charge and / or conviction fall under state or federal law?
- Were the charges misdemeanor or felony in nature?
- What was the degree of the misdemeanor or felony charge?
- Was there only one charge involved or multiple charges?
- Does the defendant have prior criminal history?
- Is there available evidence to support the defense such as witness statements, affidavits, video and other evidence?
- Will the case be taken before a jury trial?
- Are outside expert witnesses necessary to help refute the charges?
- Other factors specific to your individual case
Be sure to provide your prospective defense lawyer with as much information as possible during your consultation (which is free, depending on the law firm). Even if you think a detail is insignificant, it can provide an attorney with insight into the work that will be necessary to achieve a positive outcome.
Above all, be sure you obtain a disclosure of all costs involved with your case. Some law attorneys may charge additional fees if other lawyers or support staff become involved with the case. Others may charge for the outside use of non-legal outside professionals, such as expert witnesses. The fees for additional professionals should be decided upon and incorporated into your upfront fee. If it is not and it is determined that these outside professionals are needed, your attorney is required to discuss fee splits.
Use of Attorney-Client Trust Accounts
When you pay a fee to an attorney, it is required to be held in what is called an attorney-client trust account. The attorney becomes the custodian of the account and may only use the funds in the account to further your case. Attorneys may not earn any profit from this account, even including interest. This is done in order to protect both the client and attorney.
Types of Outside Financing Options Available
While Joslyn Law Firm does require payment in advance, we understand that a person's financial situation can make this difficult. After all, most people do not budget for a criminal defense lawyer. However, we do work with clients in a variety of financial situations. We can also provide guidance on alternative means of finance, as referenced below.
Unsecured Loans: Credit history, employment, and a place of residence must be established in order to qualify for this type of loan. Collateral such as a house or car is not required. Since this is the case, the interest rate tends to be much higher than with a secured loan as the lender is assuming more risk.
Secured Loans: Since a lender holds an asset of the borrower's as collateral in case of default, the interest rate on this loan is generally lower than an unsecured loan. Especially with this type of loan, with an asset to potentially lose, it's important to carefully evaluate your ability to repay the loan.
Applying for Unsecured or Secured Personal Loans: If you qualify, you can apply for a personal loan from a bank, broker, or private investment company. The average maximum personal loan is $15,000. Evaluate all of your options, including the interest rate of the loans for which you qualify. Over time, an excessive interest rate can pose a significant burden.
Real Property Loans: If you own residential or commercial property, you may be eligible for this type of loan. The mortgage or deed is then used as collateral in the event of a default.
Home Equity Loans: This type of loan is available for homeowners who are in the process of or have already paid off their home. Unlike a personal loan, a home equity loan may provide some tax advantage. It also may allow you to borrow more money than with a personal loan, since you are borrowing against existing equity. However, this depends on how much you have paid and / or invested towards your home.
Refinancing: By refinancing your property, you may be able to secure lower monthly payments and leave more funds open to pay for your defense.
Pawn Shop Loans: If you have small valuable items, including jewelry or electronic, you can take them to a pawn shop that offers loans. After these items are appraised, a loan is extended based on the appraisal value. Please keep in mind that you will likely not be offered the real value of the item. Additionally, these loans generally come with short repayment periods. If the loan is not repaid in that time, the pawnbroker is allowed to sell the items to any buyer.
Title Loan: This type of loan has grown increasingly popular as there are more lenders that offer them. With a title loan, an automobile owner gives up the title of his or her vehicle to the lender, until the loan is repaid in full. However, the borrower does retain use of the vehicle. The amount available to borrow depends on the vehicle's functionality, model, and brand. It cannot exceed half of the vehicle's value.
Contact Joslyn Law Firm to Learn More
To learn more about attorney fees for misdemeanor and felony cases in the Dayton area, please call (937) 356-3969. We are always committed towards providing our clients and prospective clients with transparency. During your free consultation, we will help you understand your defense options as well as any involved fees. We firmly believe that you deserve quality representation and we will work hard with you to make this happen.