How do I find a criminal defense attorneyto help with a felony theft case? 51 Answers as of July 12, 2013

I am looking for an attorney. I have very limited funds, but I do not want a public defender, not because I think less, but they are busy and typically have a heavy case load and wont dedicate the time I need. Are there any recommendations?

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Harris Law Firm
Harris Law Firm | Jennifer C. Robins
I recommend contacting your state bar association and ask for referrals to attorneys who specialize in criminal defense work. They may have suggestions for attorneys who handle cases at a reduced or modest means rate.
Answer Applies to: Oregon
Replied: 6/7/2011
Reeves Law Firm, P.C.
Reeves Law Firm, P.C. | Roy L. Reeves
First, if depends on where you are located. By way of explanation: I practice criminal law but only in Collin County (I handle criminal appeals throughout the state, but limit my trial work to one county so that I can get to know the judges, the DA and his staff, the politics, etc.) ALWAYS, HIRE LOCAL COUNSEL! I cannot stress this enough, local counsel knows the Judges, what they like, don't like, how fast the docket moves, etc. A local attorney also knows how to get discovery most expeditiously. For example, in Collin County, we can do formal or informal. In Tarrant County, they have an open file policy, the defense attorney has access to a copier in the Courthouse and the DA will provide the entire file for copy/inspection. Other counties differ according to local policy and only a local attorney will know what to do. Since funds are limited, you need to consider an attorney who accepts payments or if you have a credit card, a lawyer who takes credit cards, etc. Finally, the cheapest lawyer is usually cheap for a reason. Either he/she undervalues the case (this is to your advantage, the attorney assumes he/she can do the job in a certain number of hours but it simply takes longer) or the lawyer is planning to give you what you pay for - (depending on many factors, this may or may not be good for you). The last option is the lawyer is cheap because he/she plans to do as little as possible, push you to plea and deal with the case (never good for you).
Answer Applies to: Texas
Replied: 6/7/2011
Thomas J. Tomko Attorney At law
Thomas J. Tomko Attorney At law | Thomas J. Tomko
You may wish to consult a legal internet search site such as Findlaw.com. This will give you a listing of attorneys who advertise and who handle the trpe of case you have. Another thought is an association like CDAM. (Criminal Defense Attorneys, Michigan). There have many high powered attorneys who can handle a criminal case. You may also wish to consult your local bar association. They often maintain a list of attorneys who practice in certain areas of law. Finally, dont forget the old fashioned Yellow Pages. There are often attorneys there who are listed. However, the best source of information is often from other attorneys. In each community, attorneys who practice there know who the attorneys are who handle the type of case you have. If they can get past saying that they will take your case, they can often tell you which attorneys are the most reliable. Once you get an attorney's name, take a look at their web site. Do they do everything? If so, that's not a good sign. Look for an attorney who does what you are looking for. The shot-gun advertisement often results in an attorney who may refer your type of case out. I hope that this was helpful.
Answer Applies to: Michigan
Replied: 6/7/2011
Law Offices of John Carney
Law Offices of John Carney | John Carney
Your summary states that you do not want to use a public defender but have limited funds. You are charged with a felony and there can be serious consequences such as a possible jail term, a felony conviction, loss of welfare benefits, loss of custody of your children, or problems with getting a good job or apartment. I accept payments and will offer you a free consultation. I have lawyers in every city in New York and our fees start at just $1500 on a felony plea with a $500 retainer. If you are innocent and wish to go to trial the fee will be $5,000- $10,000 with a $3,000 retainer. Unless you can afford that type of payment schedule you cannot retain any private attorney and will have to use a public defender.
Answer Applies to: New York
Replied: 6/7/2011
Law Office of Maureen Furlong Baldwin
Law Office of Maureen Furlong Baldwin | Maureen Furlong Baldwin
You should look for an attorney in the county where you have court who has sufficient experience and knowledge of the local judges and prosecutor's office. many private attorneys take payments so you can ask about that. It truly depends on how complicated your case is how much an attorney will charge.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 6/7/2011
    LynchLaw
    LynchLaw | Michael Thomas Lynch
    That is a tall order. Sometimes you can get a new attorney to take on a case for a reduced rate, but a new attorney has no business taking on a felony case. About the best you can hope for is to get is an experienced attorney who will take payments. Good Luck.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 6/6/2011
    Law Office of Phillip Weiser
    Law Office of Phillip Weiser | Phillip L. Weiser
    You could ask for references from others who have needed an attorney, or you could just phone several until you find someone you feel comfortable with and that you can afford.
    Answer Applies to: Kansas
    Replied: 6/6/2011
    Nelson & Lawless
    Nelson & Lawless | Terry Nelson
    How? Interview them until you find one you are comfortable with and trust. However, with limited funds you are not likely to find an experienced attorney, unless all you want to do is strike a quick plea bargain. Before wasting their time and yours in free consultation, explain up front your financial status and case goals. Felony defense at trial costs in the tens of thousands of dollars generally. Our taxes pay for the Public Defender for those who cant afford private counsel. Request one at your first court hearing if you qualify. With all that said, if serious about hiring counsel, feel free to contact me.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 6/6/2011
    Law Office of Mark A. Chmelewski, PS
    Law Office of Mark A. Chmelewski, PS | Mark A. Chmelewski
    Call different attorneys and ask about their fees for professional services. Some may work with you on a payment schedule others may not.
    Answer Applies to: Washington
    Replied: 6/6/2011
    Law Office of Jonathan T. Sarre
    Law Office of Jonathan T. Sarre | Jonathan T. Sarre
    One of the best ways to find any kind of service provider is word-of-mouth. Discreetly ask your friends and relatives (especially if you know people who've been in trouble before), if they can make a recommendation. Chances are you'll get some names that way. If that doesn't work, some states' bar associations have lists of attorneys who are willing to work for people with income restrictions for reduced cost (or even pro bono). Finally get out the phone book or get on the Internet and tart calling people. Many attorneys will take a case at an hourly rate which can possibly work for you because you can "pay as you go" rather than come up with a big chunk of money up front.
    Answer Applies to: Oregon
    Replied: 6/6/2011
    Palumbo and Kosofsky
    Palumbo and Kosofsky | Michael Palumbo
    Our office does al la carte billing. In other words, our fee is predicated on the service or services you want. The less service you want, the less you will pay. If you want to fight the charges through trial, want us to do discovery, motions and pre-trial hearings, then it will be very expensive. If all you want us to do is accept the best offer then it will be cheap. It really depends on the level of service you want.
    Answer Applies to: New York
    Replied: 6/6/2011
    Theodore W. Robinson, P.C.
    Theodore W. Robinson, P.C. | Theodore W. Robinson
    Yes, one of the best ways is to do exactly what you're already doing. Scan all the profiles of attorneys on Avvo.com and other similar sites to see who is located near you and who has the best profile credentials. Then call them and talk on the phone with them and if like what you hear, go see them and discuss fees with them. Many fine attorneys will accept cases and negotiate payments over a period of time to assist you. Good luck.
    Answer Applies to: New York
    Replied: 6/6/2011
    Lisa Mulligan Law Offices, LLC
    Lisa Mulligan Law Offices, LLC | Lisa Mulligan
    Just like with many other important choices in life, you should shop around to find someone who is a good fit for you and your case. I would suggest looking for someone who is local and who has experience in felony theft cases. If you have any questions, feel free to give me a call!
    Answer Applies to: Washington
    Replied: 6/6/2011
    Law Office of Andrew Subin
    Law Office of Andrew Subin | Andrew Subin
    If you want a specific referral, I need to know where you are. In general, you should be able to find an attorney that will allow monthly payments, or one that accepts credit cards.
    Answer Applies to: Washington
    Replied: 6/6/2011
    Edward  D. Dowling IV Attorney at Law
    Edward D. Dowling IV Attorney at Law | Edward D. Dowling IV
    This response is general information only and does not establish an attorney client relationship.
    Answer Applies to: New York
    Replied: 7/12/2013
    Timothy J. Thill P.C.
    Timothy J. Thill P.C. | Timothy J. Thill
    Many lawyers will work out a payment plan with you in representing you in a case like this. However, be assured that you will not get his service for free. I understand your concern about public defenders, but they are good lawyers who have many resources available at their disposal to assist you in your defense. Despite the fact that they are busy, which they are, once the matter is set for trial, they will do a bang-up job in representing you. However, if you want to discuss the matter with me, feel free to consult me, I will not charge for the call, to discuss the matter further.
    Answer Applies to: Illinois
    Replied: 6/6/2011
    Bloom Legal, LLC
    Bloom Legal, LLC | Seth J. Bloom
    The specific details of your case and the charges against you should determine which attorneys to look for. Our firm handles a large number of criminal defense cases in Louisiana. If you are interested in seeking legal representation in this matter, we invite you to contact our firm at the information on this page for a free case evaluation.
    Answer Applies to: Louisiana
    Replied: 6/6/2011
    The Law Offices of Leifert and Leifert
    The Law Offices of Leifert and Leifert | Brian Leifert
    Where did the alleged offense take place?? We are located in South Florida (Broward, Palm Beach).
    Answer Applies to: Florida
    Replied: 7/12/2013
    The Olsinski Law Firm, PLLC
    The Olsinski Law Firm, PLLC | Justin C. Olsinski
    It depends on your location, I handle felony cases in Cabarrus, Mecklenburg, Gaston and Union Counties, I would be glad to discuss your case with you.
    Answer Applies to: North Carolina
    Replied: 6/6/2011
    Law Office of Richard Williams
    Law Office of Richard Williams | Richard Williams
    The yellow pages of the phone book lists almost every attorney in the local area.Martindale-Hubbard is a publication that contains information as to the rating and specialty of almost all lawyers. The ratings are made by fellow attorneys and the judges who are acquainted with the individual lawyers.If I am not mistaken, you may be able to access this on line. If not, the law library at the courthouse will have a copy of the book and the librarian will assist you in understanding the rating system.
    Answer Applies to: Alabama
    Replied: 6/6/2011
    Law Office of Michael Morgan, l.L.C.
    Law Office of Michael Morgan, l.L.C. | Michael Morgan
    I can make some referrals if you tell me what county charges are filed in?
    Answer Applies to: Washington
    Replied: 7/12/2013
    Law Office of Peter F. Goldscheider
    Law Office of Peter F. Goldscheider | Peter Goldscheider
    Very limited funds will likely get you an attorney with very limited skills. You can go to the web and seek a certified criminal law specialist or contact your local Bar Association Lawyer Referral Service for a referral. By the way a good public defender is often superior to a poor private lawyer.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 6/6/2011
    Law Office of Brendan M. Kelly
    Law Office of Brendan M. Kelly | Brendan M. Kelly
    A number of felony attorneys like my self will work with you on payment arrangements. It is best to call around and see what they will do. Call me I would be happy to discuss the matter.
    Answer Applies to: Nebraska
    Replied: 6/6/2011
    Law Office of Michael Moody
    Law Office of Michael Moody | Michael Moody
    If you know someone who has used a criminal defense attorney before, ask them if they can recommend him/her. Start with a referral from someone. If you don't know anyone, I would recommend that you go to a site called Legal Match.com. They have excellent attorneys in all areas.
    Answer Applies to: Georgia
    Replied: 6/6/2011
    Miller & Harrison, LLC
    Miller & Harrison, LLC | David Harrison
    You can call me. You can search Bar association resources ("Find a Lawyer" pages on Boulder Bar website or Colorado Bar Website).
    Answer Applies to: Colorado
    Replied: 6/6/2011
    Goolsby Law Office
    Goolsby Law Office | Richard Goolsby
    First, I would suggest you talk with family and friends both about attorney recommendations and to help you financially afford the best, most experienced criminal lawyer in your community. I never cease to be amazed at some people who look for the cheapest professional they can find. In my opinion, experience counts, both in criminal law as in most professions. You can also call around and check online in order to find good criminal lawyers in your community. We have also blogged about this topic on our criminal law blog. Good luck!
    Answer Applies to: Georgia
    Replied: 6/6/2011
    Eric M. Mark, Attorney at Law
    Eric M. Mark, Attorney at Law | Eric Mark
    The only way is to call and ask. If you are in New Jersey, give me a call.
    Answer Applies to: New Jersey
    Replied: 6/6/2011
    Craig W. Elhart, P.C.
    Craig W. Elhart, P.C. | Craig Elhart
    You can contact various attorneys who specialize in criminal law and ask what their charges would be to represent you. Some attorneys, myself included, have worked out payment plans with clients to assist them in paying their attorney bill. However, remember, an attorney went to school to learn his trade and the way he/she makes a living is by providing legal advise to people. If the attorney is not paid for his/her time, they do not eat.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 6/6/2011
    Beaulier Law Office
    Beaulier Law Office | Maury Beaulier
    A theft offense can be very serious. In Minnesota, any theft over $1000 is a felony offense.If the value of the property or services is more than $35,000 or the property is a firearm, you will face felony charges and a potential sentence of up to 20 years in prison and $100,000 in fines. If the value is greater than $5,000 but less than $35,000 or the property is a trade secret or explosive, you will also face felony charges and up to 10 years in prison with fines reaching $20,000. If the value of the property or services is more than $1,000 and less than $5,000 you will face up to 5 years in prison and fines of $10,000. Often, if you have no prior offenses, a conviction can be avoided with a Stay of Prosecution. A Stay of Prosecution means that the offense is never recorded on your record and stayed for a certain period of time to ensure that you do not have another offense. We can assist you in making sure that your record is not affected.
    Answer Applies to: Minnesota
    Replied: 6/3/2011
    Anabelle Dias, P.A.
    Anabelle Dias, P.A. | Anabelle Dias
    Contact your the agency that regulates attorneys in your state for recommendations. You can also look up attorneys profiles on a website called Avvo.
    Answer Applies to: Florida
    Replied: 6/3/2011
    Law Offices of Phil Hache
    Law Offices of Phil Hache | Phil Hache
    The best way is to reach out to some attorneys who handle criminal defense, discuss your case with them, and get some quotes. I would recommend talking to 2 or 3 attorneys, or until you find one you like. Be wary of Attorneys who charge a very minimal fee, as they may not spend much more time on your case than what a public defender could offer...and may be equally as hard to get on the phone. Feel free to contact me about your case. I feel my rates are very affordable, and I am dedicated to the defense of my clients. No charge for the initial consultation.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 6/3/2011
    Michael R. Nack, Attorney at Law
    Michael R. Nack, Attorney at Law | Michael R. Nack
    What state are you in?
    Answer Applies to: Missouri
    Replied: 7/12/2013
    Expert Bronx Criminal Lawyers
    Expert Bronx Criminal Lawyers | Alexander Sanchez
    If you desire a criminal defense attorney, you can either hire an attorney, or stay with the court appointed lawyer. As you observed, court appointed lawyers have very high caseloads. More importantly, many lack experience. And an overworked, inexperienced lawyer is a bad combination, especially if you are the defendant. If you want an experienced private attorney, you will have additional expenses. My recommendation is to locate a lawyer in the area where the court is located. The lawyer may have many cases in that court, and is familiar with the judges, prosecutors, court clerks, and the system in general. Furthermore, a lawyer located near the courthouse is probably willing to give you some break on the fees because of his/her proximity to the court.
    Answer Applies to: New York
    Replied: 6/3/2011
    Howard W. Collins, Attorney at Law
    Howard W. Collins, Attorney at Law | Howard W. Collins
    It is hard to have your cake and eat it too. You want the time and attention of a paid lawyer but you do not have the funds to pay. You are going to have to make a choice; get the money together or go with the public defender. In some counties there are modest means programs to hire private lawyers are reduced rates. Call the State Bar for a referral.
    Answer Applies to: Oregon
    Replied: 6/3/2011
    Mercado & Hartung
    Mercado & Hartung | Stephanie Hartung
    My recommendation depends on where your charge occurred. Please feel free to give my office a call (free of charge) if we cannot help you I would be happy to refer you to someone who can.
    Answer Applies to: Washington
    Replied: 6/3/2011
    Arnold & Wadsworth
    Arnold & Wadsworth | Brian Arnold
    I would call around to local attorneys and do some consultations. See if the attorneys are willing to work out some type of payment plan to help you out. Good Luck.
    Answer Applies to: Utah
    Replied: 6/3/2011
    Rothstein Law PLLC
    Rothstein Law PLLC | Eric Rothstein
    Where is your case? I am a former federal and State prosecutor and now handle criminal defense. Feel free to check out my web site and contact me.
    Answer Applies to: New York
    Replied: 6/3/2011
    Austin Legal Services, PLC
    Austin Legal Services, PLC | Jared Austin
    I understand your concern completely, but keep in mind that you can't have it both ways either. Private attorneys charge more for the simple reason that you mentioned about public defenders, so they don't have to take on as many cases and can devote the proper amount of time to your case. If it's a felony theft case and you plan on taking it to trial, expect at least a few thousand dollars $2-3,000 at least. Maybe more. Also keep in mind that in Michigan most court-appointed attorneys are also in private practice as well. Either ask around if anyone knows a good criminal attorney, google and do internet searches for sites that offer ratings and client testimonials. Check the Bar Association for their Attorney Referral List. Good luck.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 6/3/2011
    The Grigsby Firm
    The Grigsby Firm | Sherlock Grigsby
    You may just have to contact as many attorneys as possible and see who can handle the case for what you can afford. Also, some attorneys, including myself, often have payment plans for clients.
    Answer Applies to: District of Columbia
    Replied: 6/3/2011
    Klisz Law Office, PLLC
    Klisz Law Office, PLLC | Timothy J. Klisz
    Yes, check with local attorneys and I'm sure you will find a range of prices and experience. I would be happy to discuss with you.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 6/3/2011
    Michael Breczinski
    Michael Breczinski | Michael Breczinski
    Call around. What exactly is the charge? You can shop around just like you do for anything else. Do you have priors?
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 6/3/2011
    Jules N. Fiani, Attorney at Law
    Jules N. Fiani, Attorney at Law | Jules Fiani
    I recommend a very affordable and experienced attorney such as myself. Client reviews are often the best indicator of a successful attorney. Visit my website and follow the link to the client reviews. These links will indicate many success stories from over 30 years of proven results.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 6/3/2011
    Lacy Fields, Attorney at Law, LLC
    Lacy Fields, Attorney at Law, LLC | Lacy Fields
    In the St. Louis Area, you can call the Bar Association of Metro St. Louis ("BAMSL") and ask for a referral through their Lawyer Referral and Information Services. They have members who agree to take reduced payments from folks who fall below a certain income level. I know this because I am one such attorney. If you have any other questions, please feel free to contact my office.
    Answer Applies to: Missouri
    Replied: 6/3/2011
    The Law Office of Kevin O'Grady
    The Law Office of Kevin O'Grady | Kevin O'Grady
    There are criminal defense attorneys who may be willing to work out a payment plan with you. There are different options that are available. You should at least seek an initial free consultation.
    Answer Applies to: Hawaii
    Replied: 6/3/2011
    Fitzpatrick, Mariano, & Santos, PC
    Fitzpatrick, Mariano, & Santos, PC | Raymond J. Savoy
    Tell the attorney up front about your funds. Some attorneys take credit cards and payment plans.
    Answer Applies to: Connecticut
    Replied: 6/3/2011
    Frances R. Johnson
    Frances R. Johnson | Frances R. Johnson
    You do not state your city and state. You can contact your local bar association (google your county then add "bar association"), or local criminal defense bar association. You can also search for a Lawyer Referral Service which can typically give you the names of multiple attorneys you can contact to find out if you can obtain a flat fee or payment arrangement.
    Answer Applies to: Colorado
    Replied: 6/3/2011
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