Stephen G. Cobb - Florida Criminal Defense Lawyer

Will Any Lawyers Take Payments Of $100 Per Month For Burglary & Grand Theft?


Disclaimer: This article is in response to questions frequently asked of Mr. Cobb and is an unedited dictation transcript. Just like talk to text on your smartphone, there may be misspelled words or sentence fragments.

Generally speaking, no, not at that pricing point and here is why. If a lawyer picks up a business litigation case if they handle that kind of law or if a lawyer picks up a family law case they can charge what’s known as a retainer. A retainer is money that is placed in a trust fund account and remains the client’s money. The lawyer then bills against that trust fund account at a specific hourly rate. When the trust fund account goes down to a certain level, a letter goes out that basically says please refill your trust fund account so I can continue working on your case. If it’s a business law case or a family law case and a person does not refill the trust fund account, the lawyer can simply withdraw from representation. However, in criminal cases this doesn’t happen.

A judge will not allow a lawyer to withdraw unless the lawyer is actually fired by the client. Thus a lawyer who would take a case with such serious liability because Burglary and Grand Theft are felonies, depending on the type of burglary it could be a major felony when they are not going to be paid if the case closes before the payment is finished. In this question it was asked if a lawyer would accept $100 per month. This would take literally years to pay off and no lawyer who is any good in the courtroom is going to wait years to get their legal fee in a criminal case. Another factor to consider is that if a lawyer did take such little payments then they would have to take a large number of additional cases in order to cover their overhead. One of the concerns that a lot of people have is that the public defender’s office cannot help them, in part because they cannot get a hold of their public defender.

They are not able to speak with them. Any meetings that they have are hurried and rushed and this is because your average public defender is carrying more cases in a single month than what the Florida Supreme Court says they should handle all year. This is a serious problem when lawyers are overloaded and unable to properly defend people. So if you do find a lawyer who would take such a low payment for such serious charges, my advice would be very simple. Run away, find somebody else. When it comes to criminal defense most lawyers charge a flat fee and a lot of them require it to be paid upfront simply because if they listen to the entreaties and the begging and pleading for a payment plan, they won’t get paid. Onset that category, I had a major drug case that lasted for over a year, my client was looking at minimum mandatory prison time and sure enough he promised that payment would come.

The case closed, the charges against my client were dismissed and I’m still owed over $8000. This is a story virtually any criminal defense lawyer could tell about some type of case and in my case, I can share the same type of story about Grand Theft cases, Burglary cases, Murder cases, you name it, where people promised that they would pay and when the case concluded, payment stopped. So generally speaking, that low level of fee, the best thing that person can do is to ask for a public defender. Have no illusions about it. The public defender is overworked, underpaid and have cases coming out of their ears. However, they are going to be the best choice for someone who doesn’t have sufficient assets to hire a lawyer although great care may be made not to commit public defender application fraud which is a third degree felony.

Should I Pay For My Grandson’s Lawyer Or Teach Him A Lesson For Getting Arrested?

I’ve run into this question quite frequently. Many family members want to “teach a lesson” and make the young person pay the price for their own conduct. The problem with that is if the young person does not get the right type of legal help via experienced, competent, certified counsel then they run the risk of experiencing around 30% loss of future earnings for the rest of their lives if the case is not handled correctly. This is in addition to any court sanctions ranging from fines, probations, house arrest, community control, jail or prison. The reality is if your grandson does not have a proper outcome, then what’s going to happen is you can expect your grandson to have a much more difficult time finding employment.

Once employment is found, it will be at a lower rate of pay and what the experts in that particular field of economics have concluded is that on average someone who has criminal history as a first offender when their case is not handled correctly may end up with an average of a 30% loss of earnings for every year for the rest of their lives. If you want to teach your grandson a lesson, the best thing to do is to hire the best criminal defense attorney you can possibly find and then work out an arrangement with your grandson where they pay you back over a long period of time. I don’t know the age of the grandson in this particular question, however this payback period can literally be years depending upon the type of charges that are being faced and the cost of legal representation.

It’s one thing to teach a young person a lesson, it’s very important, however, to teach them the right kind of lesson. In addition to what can happen to the person as a consequence of finding themselves accused of being on the wrong side of the law, there is the reality that instead of teaching a proper lesson that the lesson sought to be taught backfires spectacularly and causes a lifetime of suffering and resentment. So my advice to this grandparent would be very simple. Hire the best lawyer you possibly can and have the grandson pay you back over a period of time where they are simply throwing them to the wolves. I run into grandparents and parents who talk to me about cases when they find out I’m a criminal defense lawyer and they tell me horror stories of trying to do that exact same thing and they go on to tell me how they wished they had not done that because of how badly their family member was hurt in the legal system.

Disclaimer: This article is in response to questions frequently asked of Mr. Cobb and is an unedited dictation transcript. Just like talk to text on your smartphone, there may be misspelled words or sentence fragments.

For more information on Payment Plans For Criminal Cases, a free initial consultation is your next best step. Get the information and legal answers you are seeking by calling (850) 466-1522 today.

Stephen G. Cobb, Esq.

Get your questions answered - call me for your free, 20 min phone consultation (850) 466-1522

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