What About Legal Fees?

Hiring a lawyer can often be an expensive endeavour. While it is important for you to retain the services of a good criminal defence lawyer, it is also important for you to be able to afford such legal advice and services.

While the lawyers at Auger Hollingsworth don’t usually accept legal aid certificates, we are sensitive to the fact that most individuals cannot afford to pay thousands of dollars in legal fees. We understand that it is hard enough being charged with a criminal offence and dealing with the legal system, and we wouldn’t want finances to stand in the way of you and a good defence for your case.

We are open to discussing your case and circumstances with you in order to come to a fair retainer for new clients. We will also often agree to a payment plan where a client can pay for their legal fees over time. This allows the client to plan their finances without having to make significant immediate sacrifices. We understand that finances are often tight and that it can be difficult to find the extra money to pay for a lawyer. We will do all that we can to come up with an amount that you will be able to afford and budget for.

Legal fees are a common concern for individuals charged with a criminal offence and in some cases the financial aspect of hiring a lawyer may prevent some people from seeking legal advice. Rather than assuming that you cannot afford a good defence lawyer, speak with the lawyers at Auger Hollingsworth. It is in your best interest to find a good lawyer who will accommodate your financial situation as best they can, so that you can receive the defence you deserve.

How Much Does an Ottawa Criminal Lawyer Cost?

If you have been charged with a criminal charge, you will likely worry about the charges, your job, your family.  But you are also probably worried about money.  What is this going to cost me?  If you are like most middle class people, you don’t qualify for legal aid.   Plus, you were probably not planning for this expense.  Here are a few issues you should be aware of:

  • When you meet with the lawyer for the first time, you are unlikely to get a firm quote for a price.  This is not because the lawyer is being wishy washy.  It is simply because it is impossible to tell at the first meeting where the case will go.  For example, we have handled hundreds of domestic assault cases.  Some of them resolve favorably within a month of our retainer.   Others involve a lengthy trial.  Many end somewhere in between.   One size cannot fit all.  If the lawyer you meet quotes a flat fee at the first meeting, consider whether you are getting a cookie cutter defence as opposed to a defence that is tailored to your specific needs.  Consider as well whether that lawyer is really prepared to go to trial in your case at that price.
  • The retainer you give at the beginning of the case is a deposit.  We put that money into our lawyer’s trust account where it is kept to be applied against your first bill.  When we deplete the retainer, we will ask you to replenish it.
  • When we have seen the disclosure (i.e. the Crown’s evidence) in your case, we will be in a better position to quote a fee for your case and will do so in most cases.
  • As long as you retain us early in the process, we will always work with you on a payment plan.  Putting a little bit into our trust account on a monthly basis is a good way to accumulate enough to finance a trial, if you need one.
  • Some clients who are interviewing prospective lawyers are frustrated that they cannot know the price at the first meeting because it inhibits their ability to comparison shop.  Consider whether it is the wisest choice to hire a criminal defence lawyer based on price.  It would certainly be false economy to hire an inexperienced lawyer at a bargain price only to find that he or she is learning to practice criminal law on your case.
  • In appropriate cases where cost is a serious issue, we can assign your case to a junior lawyer in our office who can handle most aspects of your files at a reduced rate.  However, at our firm, the partners supervise all cases and will still play a role in your defence.

Given everything that is at stake, do not assume that you cannot afford a criminal lawyer or that it is not a good use of your money.   In many cases, it will be the most important investment you will ever make in yourself.

Hiring an Ottawa Criminal Defence Lawyer

We read an interesting blog post today from a Miami criminal defence lawyer , Brian Tannebaum, who writes about the client who knows he/ she is under investigation but is unsure whether or not to hire a criminal defence lawyer.  The client is concerned that hiring a criminal lawyer will make him / her “look guilty”.  Brian Tannebaum’s insightful response is that you already do look guilty, at least to the police.  So, why not deal with it responsibly by hiring a criminal defence lawyer to assist you?

At Auger Hollingsworth, we get questions like that all the time from prospective clients.  The strangest variation of this question is whether or not hiring a GOOD criminal lawyer will make the client look guilty.  Our answer?  No it just makes you look smart.

If you are under investigation, speak to a criminal defence lawyer BEFORE charges are laid.  Your chances of avoiding charges increases and your anxiety level decreases if you have a lawyer stick handling for you.  Knowledge is power.  Get an expert to teach you what to expect.

One thing we know from experience, virtually no-one under investigation “talks” himself or herself out of trouble.

The Ottawa criminal defence lawyers at Auger Hollingsworth  can assist you with the pre-charge stage if you contact our office.  To schedule a meeting with an experienced criminal defence lawyer, call us at 613-233-4529 or email [email protected]