How Do You Keep Your Fees So Low For Most Criminal Charges in St. Louis, MO?

MOST ST LOUIS MISSOURI CRIMINAL DEFENSE MISDEMEANOR CHARGES CAN BE HANDLED FOR ONLY $600

This is a question we get often.  Most people cannot believe that such a service can be performed at such a reduced cost.  When they call around to different criminal defense firms in St. Louis, they are quoted fees in the thousands-of-dollars range (or at least seven to eight hundred).  And once these individuals learn of the sizable price difference between our firm and everyone else, they think, “There must be a catch!”

There are two main reasons why we have decided to charge a relative low amount for most of our criminal defense services:

Reason Number One:  THE VAST MAJORITY OF PEOPLE SIMPLY CANNOT AFFORD AN ATTORNEY.  If you have ever been to a night court docket in one of the many municipalities around St. Louis, then you already know what it is like.  There are a couple hundred people packed into a small “courtroom”.  Towards the front of the room, there is a judge sitting at a makeshift bench (it is usually nothing more than a card table), a clerk with a huge stack of files in front of her, and a handful of police officers running the metal detector.  Standing off to the side of the room are two or three people in freshly pressed suits.  The people in the suits are the criminal defense lawyers.  The lawyers get the luxury treatment by the judge, in that their cases are handled right away (in usually less than five minutes).  After the defendants who are represented by the lawyers leave, then the judge deals with the remaining 195 people still left in the courtroom.  The judge will call each person up by name, and say, “You have been charged with trespassing.  How do you plead?”  The individual (standing all by himself) starts to tell the judge his version of events, by saying something like, “Well, Your Honor, it didn’t happen that way at all.  Actually, I was just walking over to…”  The judge will then immediately interrupt, and say, “That’s not what I asked you.  Do you want to set this matter for a trial?”  By this time, the individual is staring blankly at the judge (like a deer caught in the headlights).  The judge then grows impatient, and growls something like, “Do you wish to plead guilty?”  Feeling completely defeated, with no idea as to what he should do at that moment, the individual quietly responds, “Yes.” 

The story you just read happens to hundreds of people all over St. Louis every week (and indeed, all over the country).  Now the person has plead guilty to a criminal charge, which will then become a part of his permanent record.  Was this person less deserving of justice than the man who hired the lawyer?  Were his rights of lesser value?  No and no.  The only difference between the man who had a lawyer with him for proper representation and the guy who had no idea of what to do, is that the first person was able to pay a St. Louis criminal defense attorney about $1,000 (and the second man is lucky to keep his car filled with gas each week). 

Reason Number Two:  THE AMOUNT OF WORK DONE BY THE ATTORNEY IS ALMOST ALWAYS THE SAME.  Let’s say you are caught with a small amount of marijuana (less than 35 grams).  And let’s also assume that you had no time to try and hide the pot, so it was out in the open for everyone to see (including the cop who spots in plain sight).  Now a lot of criminal attorneys will at this point state that there are some potential defenses to be made on your behalf (to try and get the charges dropped altogether).  And of course, if those defenses exist, any good attorney will fight hard on your behalf.  But it is also true that most St. Louis criminal defense attorneys will advise you that the easiest, least painful, and cheapest way of handling the situation is by simply working out a deal with the local prosecutor (in other words, establishing a “plea bargain” that you may enter into).  This plea bargain comes initially in the form of a “recommendation” from the prosecutor to the judge as to how the charge should be assessed.  In most low level marijuana possession cases, the recommendation from the prosecutor is to lower the charge to some minor infraction (like “littering”).  This is beneficial to the defendant, because it eliminates the need for a trial, a preliminary hearing, or even much of anything at all (expect for a simple discussion between your lawyer and the prosecutor).  ((Believe it or not, this is exactly the same process for handling a basic traffic ticket!!  Your attorney gets a recommendation from the prosecutor to get the speeding ticket reduced from a moving violation to a non-moving violation, so that points do not go onto your permanent driving record.))

But again, the main reason most people do not seek out legal representation is because they simply cannot afford it.  So if you are a person with limited means, would you rather pay $1,000 for the straightforward services described above?  Or would you rather pay closer to $450?  It is the same amount of work either way!  The difference is that you are paying for the brand name of the individual attorney (or the law firm he or she works for). 

The choice is of course yours.  If you feel more comfortable paying a large amount in fees to have a lawyer handle your case, then by all means go with the more expensive attorney!!  But you should know that a good number of criminal lawyers out there will use “scare tactics” when you speak with them, and it goes something like this, “Listen, this is a very serious charge you are dealing with here!  You could be facing some serious jail time, and your life could be ruined.  But I can get all taken care of for you.  I just need $1,500.”  And then the attorney turns around and does nothing more than get a recommendation from the prosecutor. 

The affordable St. Louis criminal defense attorneys at Brinkman & Alter, LLC, have been helping people with their misdemeanor charges for over ten (10) years.  Our goal is to make sure that the charges leveled against you do not stay on your permanent record, and do any lasting damage.  And we want to do all of this at an affordable price.  The fees for a typical misdemeanor case start at $600.  But the initial consultation to discuss your legal issues is free of charge.  So contact us today!!

We have two main locations:  in the Central West End of St. Louis, at 1 North Taylor (on the corner of Taylor and Laclede), 63108;  and in the Twin Cities of Festus / Crystal City, at 1000 Truman Blvd (Highway 61/67), 63019.  The initial consultation is free of charge.  So contact us today to learn more!!

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