Michigan DUI / OWI Attorney Fees
In Michigan the rules of ethics essentially provide three ways for your attorney to bill you; by the hour, by use of a flat fee or by use of a contingency fee. However, in Michigan contingency fees are not permitted for criminal cases. In other words, an attorney cannot ethically make the fee contingent on the outcome of your case.
Regarding the other two billing methods, you should know that there are some potential advantages and disadvantages to both the hourly fee and flat fee. However, after many years of practice in Michigan we have decided to only use flat fees. We do this for several reasons, and first among them is that clients tend to like flat fees better. This is usually because when we quote you a fee it will include ALL work necessary to represent you, and therefore, with a flat fee you will know exactly what it will cost you to retain our office. There will be no surprises and no unforeseen bills.
Also, when we meet, we will discuss with you whether or not we recommend hiring one or more expert witnesses, and if we do recommend an expert, then we will discuss with you what additional costs this decision will involve. When we discuss your case with you we will tell you exactly what the fees are for whatever services you require.
Understanding Michigan DUI/OWI Lawyer Fees
Representation in OWI cases is both "standard" and "unique". All drunk driving cases are similar in many ways. Individual facts and circumstances determine the best representation for each client. Because the Barone Defense Firm only handles OWI, DUI, DWI, OUIL and UBAL cases, our representation is designed with the client in mind. Not all clients want to take their cases to trial. Others have no other option than trial. These things are taken into consideration in setting fees.
We have also structured our fees so that they take into consideration the Michigan rules of professional ethics. These rules provide that a layer must be "competent" and that of course the fee must be "reasonable". In determining whether a lawyer is able to provide competent representation in a particular matter, relevant factors include the relative complexity and specialized nature of the matter, the lawyer's general experience, the lawyer's training and experience in the field in question, the preparation and study the lawyer is able to give the matter, and whether it is feasible to refer the matter to, or associate or consult with, a lawyer of established competence in the field in question.
In cases other than drunk driving it is true that the required proficiency is that of a general practitioner. However, because of the complexity of drunk driving, considerable expertise is required to competently and ethically represent the drunk driving accused.
Some of the specific factors to be considered in determining the reasonableness of a fee include the following:
- the time and labor required, the novelty and difficulty of the questions involved, and the skill requisite to perform the legal service properly;
- the likelihood, if apparent to the client, that the acceptance of the particular employment will preclude other employment by the lawyer;
- the time limitations imposed by the client or by the circumstances;
- the experience, reputation, and ability of the lawyer or lawyers performing the services.
Our fees are based on all of the above factors, and will be discussed with you in detail during the initial free consultation.