Area of Law: Criminal Law
Answer Number: 754
Finding and paying for a lawyerRegion: Ontario Answer Number: 754
Hiring a lawyer
Although you are not required to hire a lawyer to defend yourself against a criminal charge, a lawyer will help you to better prepare your defence. Certainly, for all serious and technical offences, you will not be able to defend yourself properly without a lawyer. It is best to contact a lawyer as soon as possible after being arrested.
If you do not know a criminal lawyer, you can find one on the Legal Line website, at a local legal aid clinic, or through the Law Society of Ontario Referral Service.
There are a few different ways that lawyers can bill you for their services. In criminal cases, lawyers usually charge a set hourly rate for the time they spend working on your file, or a flat fee for a specific service. Contingency fees, which are based on a percentage of the outcome of the case do not normally apply to criminal cases. The amount a lawyer will charge depends on how experienced they are, and on how complicated your case is.
Most lawyers will ask for some payment in advance called a retainer. They may require their clients to pay the cost of court fees and other disbursements as the proceedings unfold. You should ask questions about legal costs and disbursements before your lawyer begins working on your case.
For more information about how to find and pay for a lawyer, visit the Find a Lawyer or Paralegal section of Legal Line.
If you have been charged with any criminal offence, contact one of our preferred criminal law experts:
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