What Cheap Lawyers Don't Want You to Know
Fact, not all lawyers are the same and not all lawyers charge the same price for their services. If you are price shopping for a lawyer because of your budget then there are a few things to watch out for.
Are you hiring a lawyer all the way to trial?
The judicial process can be lengthy in Las Vegas. For example, Las Vegas Municipal Court will have an Arraignment date, several Pre-Trial dates, a Trial date and a Status Check date. Las Vegas Justice Court will have an Arraignment date, then set a Trial date and then a Status Check date. If your lawyer has to file a Pretrial Motion, this this will also require an appearance. If it is a felony or gross misdemeanor then there will be a Preliminary Hearing date after your Arraignment as well. You can see that there will be numerous appearance dates for your lawyer to make if he or she is retained to do so.
Will the cheap legal fee cover you at all stages on the judicial process?
You better ask and make sure it is in writing if your cheap lawyer says it does. Also have your cheap lawyer fully explain what will happen at your Arraignment date. This is a key date to see if your cheap lawyer actually intends to do his or her due diligence and provide effective assistance of counsel. In other words, is he or she prepared to fight for you?
What is the Arraignment?
The Arraignment is your first court date. The Court will provide you or your attorney with the Complaint showing your criminal charges. At this time you or your attorney will enter a plea of NOT Guilty and a Pre-trial, Preliminary Hearing or Trial date will be set. However, if a cheap attorney has no intention of appearing at other dates, he or she may want you at this date to have you enter a Guilty Plea to limit future appearances and case work. You do not typically have to be at your Arraignment date if you are out of custody.
What Do I receive at the Arraignment?
Usually, Discovery will be provided to you or your attorney on this date, however this is not always the case and/or the Discovery may be incomplete. The Discovery is the evidence the Prosecutor intends to use against you. Your Discovery may hold valuable defenses or require further Discovery requests to properly review and prepare your case. This takes time and money, but a cheap lawyer will want to avoid doing this to save time and money.
Do I need to be at Arraignment?
Unless there is a valid reason to be at Arraignment, your attorney can appear on your behalf and Plead Not Guilty, receive your Discovery and get the next court date. Again, a cheap lawyer will want you there to hopefully talk you into Pleading Guilty on the Arraignment day.
Why would my Attorney Want Me at the Arraignment If I do not Need to Be There?
In simple terms, because he or she is trying to be cheap and do as little as work as possible. You are not paying them enough to appear more than once. If they are cheap, then it may be a volume business and if they can appear only at your Arraignment and a Status Check date, then that saves them money by not having to do more appearances and avoiding Discovery work. After all time is money.
How can your lawyer go through your Discovery, possibly request key pieces of evidence that may need to be requested from the Prosecution or file a Pre-Trial Motion in a matter of minutes on your Arraignment date? Basically he or she can't. It takes time to go through the evidence against you and this is what you should be paying a lawyer for.
Should I get a second opinion?
Yes. There are plenty of non-cheap lawyers who will give you a free consultation and even offer payment plans. At the very least, consult with a non-cheap lawyer to get a free second opinion.