*2023 Results: Approx. 99% of Mark Zinck's clients avoided a criminal record (conviction) for charges of theft, fraud, assault, mischief and threats.

Flat fee criminal lawyers: Most criminal defence lawyers will charge their clients using a total flat, block or fixed fee and not by the hour.

In criminal cases, a flat, block, or fixed fee means the total legal fees charged by the lawyer will be agreed upon up front. The total fee will be quoted, agreed to and usually paid or partially paid prior to retention. Normally the flat fee will be for the resolution of the case (charges withdrawn/dropped or guilty plea) and a separate additional fee will be quoted for a trial. Some lawyers may offer a payment plan over time given that most criminal cases take multiple court appearances (many months) to successfully resolve.

Most criminal lawyers will want, at a minimum, a percentage of the flat fee paid in trust prior to going on the record in court. Others may want the entire amount. The reason for this is that once a lawyer goes on the record for a case in court they cannot get off the record without judicial authorization. This means time consuming applications may have to be made with no guarantees of success if the client does not pay the full flat fee that was agreed upon. A Judge may refuse to allow the lawyer to get off the record in court which legally obligates them to continue to represent the client even though they have not paid the agreed upon legal fees.

When a criminal lawyer charges a flat fee for a case they are also required to hold the money received from their client in their trust account until the task agreed to is complete. This means they cannot personally benefit from the fee (for themselves or their business expenses) until the case or agreed upon task is finished. With flat fee billing, criminal defence lawyers will not be able to take the money received out of their trust account for up to a year or more in many cases.

Can criminal lawyers charge by the hour instead of using a flat fee?

They absolutely can, but most don't. The alternative to a flat fee arrangement is to bill the client per hour of time. The reason most criminal defence lawyers do not use per hour billing is because it can interfere with the lawyer/client relationship in that the client may think their lawyer is incentivised to drag out their case to increase their billings. It is hard to predict how long a criminal case will take and many factors that can delay the time of completion are beyond the lawyer’s control. Such factors include:

  1. The Crown being slow to provide full disclosure (all of their evidence)

  2. The Crown being slow to respond regarding positions and applications (perhaps after a Pretrial or Judicial Pretrial)

  3. Time used by the defence to strategically put their client in a better position
With a flat fee agreement, the client knows that it is never in the lawyer’s financial best interest to drag their case on.

Criminal lawyers may quote higher flat fee prices if the client hires them after the first court appearance date (or after they receive the disclosure by themselves).

Criminal lawyers are well aware that some accused will be told by people working for the government that they should wait to hire a lawyer until after their first court appearance date or after receiving the disclosure by themselves. Doing this may lead to higher lawyer’s fees being quoted because they will most often then know for sure the level of jeopardy that the accused is facing (jail, criminal record, etc.). In adult cases, the disclosure will often indicate what the Crown is seeking upon conviction on the “Adult Charge Screening Form”.

Prior to the first appearance date some lawyers may quote a lower flat fee as they share the risk in not knowing how difficult the case will be. Many of the most common types of charges, such as theft, fraud, mischief, and assault are relatively difficult to predict in advance. If you plan on obtaining the disclosure by yourself before hiring a lawyer you may notice lawyers quoting you higher fees than they would have prior to your first court appearance date (whether it is via Zoom, phone, or in person).

While some lawyers will always quote their fees based on assuming the worst Crown screening position possible, others will provide a discount based on the unknown shared assumption of risk which changes after the first appearance date and/or receipt of the disclosure and Crown screening form. As such, their prices may increase after this information is provided and confirmed by the Crown.

Takeaway: Criminal lawyers may quote lower fees prior to the first court appearance date based on there being a shared assumption of risk relating to how time consuming or difficult the file will be which is unknown prior to receiving the disclosure.

For more information on what Ontario criminal lawyers generally charge, please see our article on criminal lawyer fees.

   Call us today.

You don't have to jeopardize your future or waste thousands of dollars on excessive legal fees. We provide effective and affordable lawyer representation for those charged with criminal offences throughout Ontario, Canada.

Have a skilled criminal lawyer who focuses on criminal law protect you and your future from the stigma and consequences of a criminal record and conviction.

    call now: 647-228-5969


Your case will be defended by a fully licensed Practicing Lawyer of the Law Society of Ontario. For more information about our lawyer, click here.

We provide our clients with:
  • Flat fee pricing
  • 99%+ non-conviction success rate
  • U.S. travel advice and information
  • Help with related immigration/IRCC issues
  • Employment background check advice/services
  • Fingerprints and records destruction services
  • Clear goals of getting charges dropped and bail conditions varied without a trial
  • Vulnerable Sector records suppression help
  • Experienced, focused counsel

* Please note:

If you are not a paying client, we cannot answer questions and provide assistance about avoiding jail and/or a criminal record, employment background checks, IRCC/immigration applications and status, or travel to the U.S. in the future. This includes those who have already retained other counsel and those whose cases have already been completed.

We only can respond to calls and emails relating to current Ontario criminal cases. Please see our FAQ for a listing of the courthouses we service.

Are you a lawyer? If you are defending a criminal case and are looking for expert advice regarding possible defences, case strategies, and information release management call us at: 647-228-5969.

Please note: We do not accept legal aid certificate cases. All clients are handled on a private retainer only.

*2023 Results: the percentage of 99% of clients avoiding a criminal record (conviction) stated on this page is based solely on Lawyer Mark Zinck's personal representation of approximately 2000 criminal defence case clients as of the year 2023. Past results are not necessarily an indication of future results.


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   Criminal Information:

   We provide:
  • Flat fee pricing
  • 99%+ non-conviction success rate
  • U.S. travel advice and information
  • Help with related immigration/IRCC issues
  • Employment background check advice and services
  • Fingerprints and records destruction services
  • A clear goal of getting the charges dropped without a trial
  • Vulnerable Sector records suppression help
  • Timely resolutions
  • Lawyer/client privilege
  • Experienced, focused counsel