Cost is certainly a factor when people look for a criminal attorney, so many individuals may simply look for the cheapest criminal lawyer they can find in the DC area. However, the cheapest lawyer may not be the best DC criminal lawyer. There are several reasons an attorney may be one of the cheapest DC criminal lawyers, and many of these reasons have little to do with concern for your budget.
First, a cheap DC criminal attorney may be a new lawyer who just passed the bar exam and is trying to build a client list. Because the lawyer does not have a proven record to draw new clients, he or she must attract them with low fees. A new lawyer is not necessarily a bad lawyer, but when you are looking for an attorney to defend you against serious charges such as DUI or gun charges, you want a DC criminal lawyer with the experience to successfully protect your rights.
Another reason a DC criminal lawyer may be able to charge less than his or her competitors is that the attorney has a large repeat client list. Because of the attorney’s case volume, he or she can offer cheaper rates. However, retaining a DC criminal lawyer with such a large case load can be detrimental to your own defense. An attorney with too many clients cannot offer you the personal attention and communication necessary for an optimal attorney-client relationship. An attorney who has the time and resources to work with you is crucial to building a successful defense.
The most important reason not to hire an attorney simply because he or she is the cheapest DC criminal lawyer is that the attorney may not have a record of successful defense. While no experienced criminal attorney has a perfect record, you need an attorney with a strong record of success. An attorney with a history of losing cases or a pattern of missing key evidence in building a defense must offer cheap legal services in order to gain new clients.
Selecting a DC criminal attorney just because he or she is cheap is rarely a good idea. Even if the attorney is not a bad lawyer, he or she may not have the resources to build a successful criminal practice. While cost is certainly a factor in finding a DC criminal lawyer, you do not want to sacrifice quality—and perhaps your case and your future—for the sake of lower fees.