Every Texas County offers people who cannot afford representation the right to counsel. This is either through a public defender, assigned counsel, or a contract attorney. In order to receive “indigent defense,” their income level must meet a requirement. To qualify for a public defender, a person must have an income that is no more than 25% above the poverty line. For a single person with no children, that translates to a maximum annual gross income of less than $20,000. For a person with 4 people in their household (spouse and two kids, or single with three kids) the maximum annual gross income is approximately $40,000.
I don’t have to break that down for anyone to know that $40,000 for four people is barely enough to live off.
How about those that are just outside that limit? Their only options are to represent themselves or find an attorney.
While representing themselves is a viable option, more times than not they miss a small detail in their case or law that results in a judgment that could have been better, had they had an attorney to represent them.
So now let’s talk about the attorney representation. A Dallas / Fort Worth DWI attorney charges up to $10,000, on average, to represent a client. A North Texas felony attorney charges up to $25,000, on average. How is a single person with no children that makes $25,000 annually supposed to afford an attorney that charges a year’s pay? They can’t and they won’t, coming back to the self-representation discussion above, taking the first plea deal from the prosecution without asking any questions first, or seeing if there was any alternative.
Why do I bring this up?
I get it, lawyers are running a business; they have bills to pay, mouths to feed, and they are trying to set themselves up for a comfortable retirement. And there are plenty of people in the upper and upper-middle class that can afford these costs without batting an eye, and will pay an attorney their pocket change to help with their case.
Justice should be affordable for everyone. Why should I charge a client for talking with them on the phone to update them on their case? Why should I charge a client for sending them an email?
Here at iLaw, we have set our legal services on the lower side of the spectrum for this reason: to give the common person a fighting chance. We do not increase our service fees based on income either. Everyone gets the same representation, no matter where you are in life.
If you decide to hire iLaw for your legal representation, your consultation fee goes towards the legal services, deducting the amount you paid in full. No gimmicks. No fine lines. We are here to serve you.
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