What is the difference between a court appointed attorney, and a hired attorney? Will they do the same thing for you?

Asked over 1 year ago - Macomb, MI

In a DUI first offending case, with no record? How much should a lawyer cost if you hire one in the State of Michigan with no criminal record?

Attorney answers (4)

  1. James S. Lawrence


    Contributor Level 15


    Lawyers agree

    Answered . Both the appointed and retained (hired) attorney have the same job and obligations. However, no two attorneys will ever handle a case 100% the same. No two attorneys would possibly use the same language to the prosecutor in trying to make a deal, or to the judge in trying to influence sentence. One attorney might find a valid basis for helpful motions to present to the court, while another attorney might not even realize there is something useful to be filed. For example, not long ago I won suppression of the defendant's statement to police, and dismissal of a DUI case, because of violation of the corpus delicti rule. As I left the courtroom, another attorney asked me what that was, and I tried to explain the best I could. If that attorney had been on my client's case instead of me, the defendant would probably have been convicted, for that attorney did not even know about the corpus delicti rule, and therefore would not have considered it among his options.

    Normally, if an attorney has enough experience and skill to get people to hire him on a regular basis, he will not bother going on the list to get appointed cases. For that reason, on average most defendants will do better with retained counsel. However, that is a generality that might not apply to all cases. Just because an attorney charges money does not mean he is any good, or that he will go all-out to help the client. Just because an attorney is on the list for court appointments does not mean he is rotten. Often, very good attorneys who are young will get on that list in order to become more well-known. Experienced older attorneys may also be on the appointments list because they find it too difficult to run a regular business. However, if I were the one being charged, I would hire an attorney if I could afford it. This might cost only $1000 for a simple plea bargain, up to $10,000 or $20,000 for a full trial defense. The cost may depend on whether you agree to have the attorney hire experts to raise a scientific challenge to the testing results. Good luck.

    Contact me at 248-399-6930 for a free consultation. You and I do not have an attorney-client relationship formed... more
  2. Mariell Rebekah McLatcher

    Contributor Level 8


    Lawyers agree

    Answered . What the attorney charges is typically based on his or her experience. Drunk driving law is a complex area of criminal defense. Expect to pay a minimum of $1,000.00 to retain an attorney experienced in this area of law.

    My response does not constitute legal advice and we do not have an attorney/client relationship. You may contact... more
  3. Gary Francis Kennedy II

    Contributor Level 11


    Lawyers agree

    Answered . You need to talk to an attorney. Court Appointed attorneys can be just as good if not better then retained attorneys. If you want more personal attention you should hire an attorney. Retainers are usually set based on the complexity of each case. OWI cases usually are flat-fee/hourly-rate combination cases because of the complexity and work that may need to be done on each case.

    Disclaimer: No attorney-client relationship has been established. Please contact an attorney about your legal... more
  4. John F. Brennan

    Contributor Level 19


    Lawyer agrees

    Answered . I would engage an attorney for the limited purpose of determining if you have a viable defense, and if so further retain that counsel for your representation. It depends of the facts as to whether there a sufficient potential benefits to warrant hiring counsel. If you chose claim you cannot afford an attorney, you can ask that you have assigned counsel but, eventually, you will have to pay their fees. There will tend to be lower than engaged counsel who might tend to be more aggressive. We have experience in this area, and generally ask for a $2500 retainer which allows us the ability to do the job right.

    To the PROSPECTIVE client, please call myself or another attorney for your choice with more detaiils and an... more

Can't find what you're looking for? Ask a Lawyer

Get free answers from experienced attorneys.


Ask now

26,038 answers this week

2,768 attorneys answering

Ask a Lawyer

Get answers from top-rated lawyers.

  • It's FREE
  • It's easy
  • It's anonymous

26,038 answers this week

2,768 attorneys answering