Is it normal for a criminal defense attorney to charge up front? 26 Answers as of April 25, 2013

My wife and I have been shopping around for a criminal defense attorney for our son (he is being charged with assault). Most of the attorneys that we have spoken with have mentioned something about requiring payment up front.

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Michael Breczinski
Michael Breczinski | Michael Breczinski
That is correct. How many attorneys get paid after the fact or from jail? Attorneys are a profession with one of the biggest rates of nonpaying clients.
Answer Applies to: Michigan
Replied: 4/25/2013
Universal Law Group, Inc. | Francis John Cowhig
Yes, it is.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 4/25/2013
Law Office of Eric Sterkenburg
Law Office of Eric Sterkenburg | Eric Sterkenburg
On criminal cases the fee in normally charged up front. This takes away the pressure for the defendant to settle the case on money reasons alone. It also insures that the attorney is paid if the defendant goes to jail.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 4/24/2013
LeadfootSpeedingTicket.com
LeadfootSpeedingTicket.com | Andrea Storey Rogers
Absolutely. Most criminal defense attorneys require payment in full in advance.
Answer Applies to: Missouri
Replied: 4/24/2013
Darrell B. Reynolds, P.C. | Darrell B. Reynolds
Most criminal defense attorney require payment up front. Some may allow you to make payments but all payments have to be made before a court appearance.
Answer Applies to: Georgia
Replied: 4/24/2013
    Timothy J. Thill P.C.
    Timothy J. Thill P.C. | Timothy J. Thill
    Virtually every defense attorney I know charges what we refer to as a "retainer". In many cases, this is a partial payment, kind of a "commitment" on the part of the lawyer to file an appearance to represent the defendant in court. In some cases, the lawyer will want payment in full before agreeing to appear and represent the defendant.
    Answer Applies to: Illinois
    Replied: 4/24/2013
    Law Office of Alexis Plunkett
    Law Office of Alexis Plunkett | Alexis Plunkett
    Yes that is absolutely standard procedure. If you want a criminal defense attorney, you have to pay that person for their time, which is usually an up-front flat fee.
    Answer Applies to: Nevada
    Replied: 4/23/2013
    Law Office of Brendan M. Kelly
    Law Office of Brendan M. Kelly | Brendan M. Kelly
    We take payment over time. Once the case is over it is hard to get paid.
    Answer Applies to: Nebraska
    Replied: 4/23/2013
    Rogoway Green, LLP
    Rogoway Green, LLP | Douglas Green
    Yes, most criminal defense attorneys require some or all of the retainer or money up front. It really is just the nature of the business and the fact that most defense attorneys have been mistreated by a client who refused to pay upon resolution of their case. Once that has happened, that attorney will start requiring money up front - it is too hard, time-consuming, and expensive to chase former clients around for payment and it rarely ends up being cost-effective to do so.
    Answer Applies to: Oregon
    Replied: 4/23/2013
    The Law Office of Carlos H. Davalos
    The Law Office of Carlos H. Davalos | Carlos H. Davalos
    Yes, criminal defense attorneys oftentimes choose to charge on a flat rate basis. This oftentimes entails cash up front.
    Answer Applies to: Illinois
    Replied: 4/23/2013
    Hammerschmidt Broughton Law
    Hammerschmidt Broughton Law | Mark A. Broughton
    Yes, that is generally how the retainer is paid in a criminal case. Sometimes attorneys will allow this to be made in a few payments, but the entire fee will have to be paid before the case is concluded.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 4/23/2013
    Lawrence Lewis
    Lawrence Lewis | Lawrence Lewis, PC
    Criminal defense is not an honorable business. All fees are paid up front.
    Answer Applies to: Georgia
    Replied: 4/23/2013
    Anderson Law Office
    Anderson Law Office | Scott L. Anderson
    Yes, that is the norm. Some attorneys will allow a payment plan but all attorneys must receive some up front payment before being retained.
    Answer Applies to: Minnesota
    Replied: 4/23/2013
    Connell-Savela
    Connell-Savela | Jason Savela
    No criminal defense attorney with any experience takes a case without money up front - too risky no offense to you - I do not know you - and, I am not a bank.
    Answer Applies to: Colorado
    Replied: 4/23/2013
    TAMBASCO & ASSOCIATES, P.C. Attorneys at Law | R. Tambasco
    Most practitioners would charge a flat rate for battery. Some will ask for the fee up front while some will accept a partial up front payment followed by payments. It will vary depending of the case type, circumstances and experience of the attorney.
    Answer Applies to: Indiana
    Replied: 4/23/2013
    Conway Law Pllc.
    Conway Law Pllc. | B. L. Conway
    Yes that is usual in Criminal Case. We can quote you a flat fee or an hourly rate.
    Answer Applies to: Virginia
    Replied: 4/23/2013
    Mace J. Yampolsky, LTD
    Mace J. Yampolsky, LTD | Mace Yampolsky
    Yes it is customary for a criminal defense attorney to charge up front. Usually criminal cases are handled on a flat fee basis, but sometimes hourly fees maybe worked out.
    Answer Applies to: Nevada
    Replied: 4/23/2013
    Germaine & Blaszka, P.A.
    Germaine & Blaszka, P.A. | Donald L. Blaszka, Jr.
    That is a normal practice for criminal defense attorneys.
    Answer Applies to: New Hampshire
    Replied: 4/23/2013
    Bush Law Group
    Bush Law Group | James Falk
    Because of the nature of criminal defense cases, it is typical for defense counsel to receive their fee in advance.
    Answer Applies to: South Carolina
    Replied: 4/23/2013
    Musilli Brennan Associates PLLC
    Musilli Brennan Associates PLLC | John F Brennan
    Yes, criminal defense attorneys almost invariably charge their fee upfront because once the case is over there is very little of any incentive for the client to pay any remaining balance.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 4/23/2013
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