What Will It Cost
Most people are concerned about the cost of legal representation when they are facing a DUI charge. Without sitting down and discussing your case in depth, it is impossible to know how time consuming and complicated your case will be. It is for that reason that the cost of your case will be discussed only after we have a chance to thoroughly review it.
Reasonable, Realistic Fees
Don’t shop for price. While we recognize that what you can afford is a legitimate consideration, it should not be your only consideration. Often, a price that is “too good to be true” is just that. In criminal law, perhaps more than any area of the law, the old adage “you get what you paid for,” rings true.
Our clients have found our fees to be very reasonable given our experience and credentials. However, we must be candid and let you know that if you are price shopping and seeking the cheapest DUI defense lawyer, you will not find that at our firm. Our fees will not be the lowest you will find.
Though we are also not the most expensive lawyers around, we long ago decided that we would not sacrifice quality for volume. In this business you simply can’t do both. We know that we are succeeding, as we have had people come back to us after visiting, and even hiring, other lawyers. We even get referrals from people that have hired other lawyers and later realize that they missed an opportunity by not retaining us.
We believe our fees are competitively priced considering that Mike Sherman has over 29 years of experience, is a former Pennsylvania State Police attorney, wrote a textbook on Pennsylvania DUI law, teaches other lawyers the latest DUI law and tactics, and is President and a founding member of the Pennsylvania Association of Drunk Driving Defense Attorneys.
When facing the extreme, harsh penalties of a DUI conviction, price is secondary to results. Keep in mind, you have only one opportunity to offer a defense. You have the rest of your life to make money. Look for a reasonable, predictable fee, not the lowest.
Here are some general things to know
Fees are based on the charges against you, the stage of the case, and the amount of work expected. Some lawyers have a “one price” for each offense. A lawyer who gives you the price before he reviews, researches, and investigates your case is perhaps not going to spend time fighting your case. If a lawyer says, “don’t worry, I charge $850.00 for a first offense and $1,200.00 for a second offense. . .,” he may be running an office based on volume. The more cases he gets, the more money he makes.
Fees are usually quoted on a flat-fee basis. This is typical for most criminal defense lawyers. With flat-fees, there are no surprises. You know exactly what you are going to pay.
We will never scare you just to get a fee. For example, a potential client called our office in tears because another lawyer told her she may not be eligible for the first-offenders program, but the lawyer would use his contacts as a former prosecutor to try to get the woman into the program. The lawyer quoted a large fee to do so. This was nothing more than a tactic designed to scare the client into paying an inflated fee. The woman was clearly eligible for the program. When she called our office, we told her the truth and helped with her case.
Beware: Attorneys are advertising all types of awards but these awards are often misleading. Marketing firms are now selling awards. What? That’s right. Advertising companies send letters to attorneys and tell them: pay anywhere between $200-$1,000 and you can appear on a website that calls you a “Top DUI Attorney” or a “Superior” or “Distinguished” lawyer. One local attorney is telling people he is one of the top 10 DUI attorneys in the state; yet, he rarely if ever fights DUI cases in Court. Some attorneys use these awards to charge five times the rate that is typically charged. Before you decide who will have the honor of representing you, know the qualifications of your attorney. (For more details on attorney awards click.)
Forms of Payment
We accept payment in the form of checks, money orders, all major credit cards (Visa, MasterCard, American Express, and Discover), and cash. We reserve the right to refuse to accept payment plans. Do not be offended by this. First, we are not in the business of bill collecting. Our office enjoys aggressively pursuing the defense of DUI cases, not the collection of fees. Pursuing payment may strain an otherwise great relationship. We have adopted this policy to ensure that our time is spent on your DUI case. Second, lawyers who take payment plans may charge extraordinarily high fees. This ensures that if they only get half the fee, they’ve still made out. That’s simply not the best way to practice law.
In order to keep fees fair and reasonable, we often break up payments by charging for the preliminary hearing first and then seeing where the case will go. That way, if going to trial or filing motions is not anticipated, you won’t have to pay for that level of representation.
We do not negotiate our fees. If a lawyer quotes a fee for a potential client and that client can get the lawyer to immediately lower his fee, how effective do you think that lawyer will be when he is negotiating with the prosecutor? After 29 years of practicing law, Mike Sherman knows the time involved in handling your particular case. And, that’s exactly what you pay for.
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