The Law Offices of Michael A. Fiumara offers a FREE & CONFIDENTIAL half-hour consultation and evaluation of your case.
The following factors are considered to arrive at a fair price for legal services from the Law Offices of Michael A. Fiumara:
- The nature of the criminal charges that are filed against you and/or your loved ones.
- The difficulty and complexity of your case. Is this a strike or a gang enhancement case? Is it a multiple count case with multiple defendants?
- The specific facts of the case, which could make your case a matter of first impression without precedence.
- The defenses (if any) or motions to be filed, affirmative defenses that need to be raised together with experts that need to be hired.
- Any prior criminal history or record from the defendant needs to be taken into consideration to determine the complexity of the case/s, and the District Attorney’s attitude toward the particular defendant.
- The maximum jail and/or prison exposure faced by the defendant affects the amount of time and the cost that the attorney puts into a case.
- The client’s financial ability to pay for legal services is considered when devising a payment plan.
- All contracts are in writing and signed.
Like many criminal defense attorneys, the Law Offices of Michael A. Fiumara employs a fixed flat fee for criminal cases. This type of arrangement allows the accused (the defendant) to know exactly what the firm’s attorney fees will be without any surprises or follow-up invoices.
In some cases, the flat fee excludes the private investigator’s fees or expert fees. In some cases, expert fees are billed separately from the attorney fees. If this is the case, the client is required to make a deposit for these additional services into the attorney-client trust account and at the end of the case any unused portion will be promptly refunded. At the end of each month, an invoice/bill will be produced for the client to review which keeps track of the expert fees and other costs.
The flat fee is preferable to the hourly billing rate/fees since there will not be any surprises at the end of the representation. All agreements are written in clear English and not legalese which will spell out the attorney’s duties and responsibilities. For Spanish-speaking clients, all documents are translated into Spanish and explained in Spanish verbally with the attorney present. All agreements contain a Mediation Clause so that in the event there is a dispute between attorney and client, it can be addressed quickly and economically.
Fees for complex felony and/or multiple defense cases
In more complex cases such as certain felonies, the Law Offices of Michael A. Fiumara charges a fixed flat fee at each stage of the proceedings (i.e.: up to and including the preliminary hearing). My goal is for the client to know in advance exactly what they will be charged at each stage of the case. I strive to arrive at a very fair, yet adequate flat fee to handle each client’s case with the full attention and necessary resources the client and their case deserve!
The Law Offices of Michael A. Fiumara accepts cash, cashier’s checks, money orders, Visa and Mastercard. Your personal or business checks are welcome, but a cashier’s check is preferable if we do not already have a preexisting business relationship with you. We will work out a flexible payment plan that accommodates your financial situation and in most cases, expect a substantial portion of the fees to be paid before we begin representation.
Advice on how to hold down your legal fees with us and in general:
- If your case requires that you be charged hourly by your attorney, it is in your best interest to call as sparingly as possible and keep the conversation brief and to the point. Limit the chit chat and get to the point. You may be getting charged for every minute!
- If your attorney charges you by the hour, ask if you are being charged for very short telephone calls lasting less than 5 minutes. In most instances, attorneys prefer that you schedule a specific time for telephone calls so that he/she is able to answer all of your questions during one phone call, instead of making separate telephone calls and leaving messages.
- Find out if your attorney would prefer you to email him/her your questions, and whether he or she will charge for this time or if it’s part of the flat fee (or other benefits) of representation?
- When you visit with your attorney BE PREPARED and ORGANIZED with all of your documents and bring an outline of what you want to accomplish by a date certain. A timeline will keep you disciplined and focused, and will help your attorney streamline your case to get you the best possible outcome.
- Volunteer to do some leg work like picking up documents at the courthouse or any county office or agency. If you have the time then save some money by spending YOUR time rather than the Attorney or Paralegal’s time, especially if it is billed at a higher rate than your own hourly wage. Speak with your attorney to set up this type of arrangement.
- Watch out for “add-ons” and hidden fees. Attorneys can act like banks! Find out if your attorney charges for even opening your file.
- Always review your monthly invoices (if the contract calls for it), and if you do not receive monthly invoices, request them to regularly keep track of all costs, expenses and attorney fees.
Why you Need Quality Legal Representation!
“The right lawyer makes all the difference!” – Michael A. Fiumara
You should be concerned about the cost of quality legal representation, especially in this bad economy. However, please take into consideration how much your freedom is worth. Who will be watching your family if you have to spend time in jail and how much is it worth to have no criminal felony record so that you can find a good job in today’s competitive marketplace? Hence, “price shopping” for a criminal defense attorney is as foolish and dangerous as “price shopping” for a qualified and experienced medical doctor. Remember, nobody has ever regretted having a experienced and well-qualified attorney when they were faced with serious criminal charges and significant jail time hanging over their heads.