helps people win back their lives
We understand that no one plans to be arrested and no one has money set aside to pay attorney fees when they are. We also understand that choosing an attorney to defend you against criminal charges in Michigan is one of the most important decisions you can make. We believe that cost should not be a decisive factor.
Hiring an experienced attorney with a proven track record of success could mean the difference between saving your reputation, driver’s license, job, and freedom, or facing the serious consequences of a criminal conviction. At the Barone Defense Firm, we have assembled some of the finest criminal defense attorneys in the state of Michigan. We devote all our resources to fighting for our clients every step of the way.
We are not the least expensive firm. However, we are the most experienced and arguably the most passionate about getting great results for our clients. Because we want you to have a favorable outcome in your case, we have financing options available that make retaining our services more affordable.Understanding Lawyer Fees
Criminal defense lawyers in Michigan are all duty-bound to follow the rules and standards of professional conduct. According to our code of ethics, the guiding principle regarding lawyer fees is that of reasonableness. If a lawyer’s fee is reasonable, then the way that fee is charged is up to the lawyer. There is one exception; a criminal defense fee cannot be contingent on the outcome such that you only pay a fee if you win. Otherwise, the fee can be hourly, or the fee can be “flat” meaning the same regardless of the number of hours necessary to represent the client. Either way, the total fee must be reasonable.
An hourly rate is just what it sounds like, you are charged only for the time necessary to complete your case. Hourly rates are usually charged in minimum increments, such as .20 hours. Any task taking .20 hours or less would be billed at .20. Hourly rates seem great because you only get charged for the lawyer’s actual time, but the reality is that in a criminal case, hourly fees are a really bad idea. You do not want to be in a position where every time you have to make a decision on your case you have to figure out the cost associated with that decision. Plus, your lawyer can still “milk” the file by making unnecessary court appearances or filing unnecessary motions.
Flat fees are designed to make things fairer for both the lawyer and the client. Plus, it removes money from the equation. With a true flat fee, you’ll never have to ask “how much is this going to cost.” Everything is included. At least that is the way it is with the Barone Defense Firm. This is not always the case because some lawyers will charge a low “retainer” which they call a flat fee. Later, after the client signs up, they find out that the retainer was just to get things started. The lawyer then proceed to charge the client more money for services not included in the original “flat” fee. Beware of such attorney fee plans.
There is also the issue of costs. Some lawyers will charge you extra for every piece of paper they copy and for every stamp. Want to see a copy of your police report. That will cost you extra! Our flat fees include all costs up to a given amount. They do not include expert witness fees and we will always ask you first before we rack up any additional costs – no surprises is our mantra. Our flat fees are indeed flat, and all inclusive, but may not include trial. Be sure to discuss whether the flat fee in your case includes trial. In most instances trial is the only attorney service not included, but for planning purposes some clients want this part of the case covered as well.
For those clients who need a payment plan, we usually start with a lump sum we call a retainer. This is the amount of money necessary for us to accept you as a client and begin our representation. The balance of the flat fee can be paid over time. In most instances this will be between 4 and 6 months, but you can discuss this when you are making financial arrangements because, as already stated, we don’t want money to be the thing standing between you and hiring a great lawyer. We want to work with you to figure out how we can make our fees affordable.
There is no additional cost to you in going with a payment plan. We do not charge extra nor do we reduce our fees for payment in full up front. Our fees are based on the amount of time we anticipate will be necessary to represent you times our hourly rate.What We Offer:
- Flat fees that include the price of going to trial, if necessary
- Payment plans with 0% interest—all you pay up front is a deposit, and there’s never any interest for timely payments.
- Written fee agreements and payment plan proposals. Everything is presented up front so there are no hidden or additional fees.
Another thing to beware is a lawyer who does not use a written fee agreement. While our rules of professional conduct do not require a written fee agreement, the practice is highly recommended. If your lawyer doesn’t use a detailed fee agreement, consider hiring someone else.
To learn more about our financing options and to schedule a free, no-obligation review of your case, contact the Barone Defense Firm today.