·  Legal News, Analysis, & Commentary


Do Defense Lawyers Get Paid if They Lose?

— February 4, 2022

Defendants often seek to mitigate legal consequences with the help of their attorney rather than escape penalties altogether.

If you are thinking about hiring a defense attorney, you might be wondering about the costs involved. You may have heard something about lawyers being paid on a “contingency basis,” which means you only pay if you win your case. But does this really apply to defense attorneys? This is an important question, especially if you have limited financial resources. Planning out your next moves is crucial if you’re facing criminal charges, and you should do everything in your power to stay within your budget. 

If you’d like to discuss the costs involved with hiring a defense attorney, your best bet is to simply get in touch with a defense lawyer near you and book a consultation. During this consultation, you can discuss the details of your case as well as the rates of the attorney. This allows you to choose the right attorney based on your specific needs. 

Defense Lawyers Cannot Accept Payment on a Contingency Basis

When a lawyer allows you to pay via contingency fee1, it means that you only pay if you win your case. This is very common for personal injury attorneys, as they can simply take their payment from the plaintiff’s settlement. But this just isn’t possible when you work with a defense attorney. In fact, many states have made it illegal for defense attorneys to offer this type of payment plan.

Why is This?

There are a number of reasons to explain this. First of all, it just doesn’t make sense from the lawyer’s perspective. Even if you win your criminal defense trial, there is no settlement waiting for you on the other side. Therefore, there is no pot of cash from which the lawyer can take their payment.

On that note, criminal trials aren’t really about “winning” or “losing” in the same way as personal injury cases. Often, defendants are fighting for their freedoms, and sometimes they face life in prison. Some have argued that it would be unethical to offer contingency payment plans in these situations, as it may create the wrong impression that defendants have a chance to win money. 

In many cases, defendants have already “lost” simply by being charged with a crime. Defendants often seek to mitigate legal consequences with the help of their attorney rather than escape penalties altogether. In other words, “winning” and “losing” become meaningless terms.

Jail cell
Jail cell; image courtesy of
Matthew Ansley via Unsplash,

Finally, it is worth mentioning that you can get help from a public defender2 if you cannot afford legal representation. In contrast, an injured victim doesn’t have this “free-of-charge” option when filing an injury claim. If personal injury attorneys did not offer to be paid on a contingency basis, these victims may not have access to the legal system. Defendants already have access to the legal system – whether they like it or not!

Enlist the Help of a Qualified Attorney Today

If you’ve been searching the Marathon area for a qualified defense attorney, look no further than Sherry Ivey Jones, Attorney at Law. Over the years, we have helped numerous defendants in Florida fight for their rights effectively. Book your consultation today, and we can help you strive for the best possible results. We can also provide you with an accurate estimate of our rates, allowing you to make the best decision for your budget. 



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