So, you’re in trouble with the law. Whether you are facing small fines, extensive prison time, or are at risk of losing custody of your children, you require legal representation. But lawyers are expensive, and you simply can’t afford one right now. Of course, the United States legal system provides state-appointed attorneys for those who cannot afford their own legal representation. However, this often means sacrificing the quality and experience that comes with hiring a private lawyer, which in turn can mean sacrificing the successful outcome of your case.  Many people find themselves stuck in this difficult situation.

So what it comes down to is needing to know how to pay for a lawyer with no money. Fortunately, this may be easier than you think. Rather than choosing between a free attorney with less experience, skill, and time to handle your case or going broke obtaining your own lawyer who can help you secure a much better outcome, try finding a lawyer with a payment plan!

What many people are unaware of is that a lot of top criminal defense lawyers offer affordable payment plans to help their clients pay for their services, and Belén Olmedo Guerra is one of them! In this post, our Phoenix criminal defense attorneys at Belén Law Firm list the possible recourse for anyone who may be strapped for cash but still requires legal aid.

criminal defense lawyer payment plans

Phoenix Criminal Lawyer with a Payment Plan

Depending on your type of case, there may be several different courses of action when it comes to paying for quality legal counsel. For example, contingency fee cases, which we will talk about later in this post, are very common for a civil case like personal injury. Knowing how contingency fees work is essential when you need to know how to pay for a lawyer with no money.

In a criminal case, however, there are no damages to be awarded, and your defense attorney cannot promise you certain results. There are also no monetary rewards for successfully defending a case. Defense attorneys have to eat just like the rest of us, after all, and they can only do that if their clients pay the necessary fees.

So if you need to know how to pay for a lawyer with no money in a criminal case, what do you do? Easy. Your best bet is to obtain the legal services of a criminal lawyer in Phoenix with a payment plan.

The good news is that many criminal defense attorneys out there allow payment plans. This is beneficial to both client and attorney. Attorneys need cases, but they are also much more aware of their client’s finances than, say, doctors. This means that they know that there aren’t many people who can afford to pay 100% of their legal fees upfront.

How Do Lawyers Charge Their Clients?

If you want to know how to pay for a lawyer with no money, it helps to know exactly how lawyers determine their fees.

Standard legal fees typically don’t exist in criminal defense cases, because each case is unique and relies on a number of different factors. For example, while many criminal cases require only a quick consultation with a prosecutor or a judge, clients can expect to pay much more for full trial representation.

Other factors that determine how much you can expect your lawyer fees to be include:

  • Geography. Just as groceries and gasoline cost more in some areas, so do attorneys. If a lawyer is practicing in an area with high costs of living and high wages, such as New York City, they will naturally have higher fees.
  • Complexity. Most attorneys charge higher fees depending on the difficulty of the case. For example, you can expect to pay for criminal cases involving felonies than those involving misdemeanors. This is because felonies carry higher penalties and require more court appearances and often more litigation. They will also likely demand more research time from the attorney and their team.
  • Experience. The fact of the matter is that less experienced attorneys will set lower fees for their attorney service than more experienced ones. If you encounter an extremely low hourly rate in an attorney, be cautious. An experienced attorney with a high hourly rate may resolve your issue with a few hours of work. A more novice attorney may take hundreds of hours to resolve the same issue. Thus the criminal defense attorney with the higher hourly rate costs you less in the long run.

how much does a lawyer cost

A criminal defense attorney will usually ask for some percentage of their attorney fees at first, and then allow you to pay the rest in monthly installments. Remember, however, that lawyers are not required to offer payment plans; they do it to enable their clients to hire them. Each law office will be different, and you should speak to your attorney directly about their options for payment plans.

What is a Lawyer Retainer?

When a criminal defense attorney is asking you to pay a significant amount of money for legal aid, it helps to know exactly what you are paying for. Especially if you are short on cash and need to know how to pay a lawyer with no money, this information is absolutely vital.

When you are paying for a lawyer, you’re not only paying them to show up to court or to talk to a judge. You’re paying them for their time and experience in the law, as well as the time it takes for them to conduct research and build a strong defense strategy for your case. For every hour your lawyer spends talking to you or talking to a judge or defending you in court, they and their team have spent many more researching and preparing for that moment.

What are Flat Fees?

Flat fees are agreed-upon fees for a specific activity or for all tasks in your case up to a specified point. Some clients want to pay an attorney to do only a few specific tasks, while others want an attorney to handle all that is reasonably necessary up to a certain point in the case. In any case, flat fees are often preferred by most clients since the total cost is disclosed upfront. After all, nobody wants to be surprised with bills, taxes, or surcharges when they least expect it. Flat rates are frequently all-inclusive, although they may not always include trial or expert witness fees.

Your attorney should always consult with you before incurring any additional charges on top of your flat fee.

phoenix criminal lawyer with payment plan available

Contingency Fee Cases

For some clients, contingency fees are the best answer for how to pay for a lawyer with no money. The contingency fee arrangement means that the lawyer’s payment is contingent on winning the case, so the client will pay nothing or very little out-of-pocket. At the end of the case, if the attorney wins, they take their fees out of the client’s award. If the attorney loses, the client pays nothing for their legal aid.

This works in favor of both client and attorney. The client doesn’t accrue costs upfront, and the attorney has an incentive for a quick and rewarding outcome.

This fee structure works best for cases with large payouts and short timelines. This makes the attorney’s eventual reward worth the risk of taking the case on. Thus, contingency fee bases are common in liability, auto accident, medical malpractice, and personal injury cases. You likely won’t find these types of fees in cases involving family courts, bankruptcy, contract disputes, or criminal cases.

Free Initial Consultation

In addition to offering flexible payment plans, the Belén Law Firm also offers a free consultation for clients who are in search of a competent attorney. Though she cannot technically offer free legal advice, Belén is able to sit down with you and listen to the details of your case while offering her initial thoughts regarding your situation. During this consultation, you can learn more about the previous criminal cases Belén has taken on that are similar to your own and how successful she was in handling them.

In summary, a free consultation is essentially your chance to sit down with an experienced lawyer with no flat fee or commitment and simply learn about their legal services and what they may be able to do for you. You can utilize this time to learn everything you ever wanted to know about criminal defense attorneys and what you might be paying for their services. Contact Belén today to see if an attorney-client relationship might be beneficial to you.

criminal defense lawyer with payment plans

For Criminal Defense Lawyers with Payment Plans, Contact the Belén Law Firm

If you’re still wondering how to pay for a lawyer with no money, the best thing to do is interview several different law offices and ask about their payment plans. Offices that allow you to speak directly to a criminal defense attorney will be best, as an attorney will be more sympathetic, understanding, and straightforward than a large corporate intake department.

Make sure you ask about a payment plan upfront. If the criminal defense attorney is not forthcoming or does not answer to your satisfaction, look elsewhere. When you are figuring out how to pay an attorney with no money, transparency is an important factor in the attorney you choose.

Belén Olmedo Guerra is an experienced, 24-hour Phoenix criminal defense attorney dedicated to serving the people of Arizona. If you need legal counsel in the Phoenix area, call the Belén Law Firm at 602-715-0908 to discuss your criminal charges today. You can also fill out a short form on our website to schedule a completely free and confidential consultation.