Know The Facts About Self Defense Insurance and Upfront Attorney Fees
by Sean Maloney
We have been getting a lot of questions about the difference between Second Call Defense and the new NRA Carry Guard insurance.
As an Attorney who defends clients arrested for exercising their right to self defense, and as founder of Second Call Defense, I know what it takes to take a case all the way through the courts. There is a difference between the two companies' policies surrounding the manner in which attorney's fees are paid.
Carry Guard offers to pay 20% of your total benefits upfront for expenses, and advertises that:
Most criminal defense attorneys will not require payment of final bills until after your case ends – at which time the rest of your criminal defense protection is available if you were acquitted or the case was dismissed.
This statement is not accurate, and it is the reason I founded Second Call Defense, which is specifically set up to immediately pay legal expenses upfront.
If you buy into Carry Guard's claim, you may not have the representation you need when you are facing possible prison time. Simply put, their coverage does not provide the upfront money to retain the best attorney available, let alone to pay for the expert witness who demands payment upfront. I know this from experience.
Oftentimes the quality of your defense depends solely upon the upfront money available to pay for that defense. These expenses can include attorney fees, expert witness fees, private investigator fees, and subpoena fees. Rest assured, you will be required to pay the vast majority of your attorney's fees upfront, or the attorney you seek to retain can simply refuse to take your case.
If you cannot pay the attorney you hired in the manner agreed upon and the attorney has already entered an appearance in you case, your attorney can file a motion to withdraw from representing you for nonpayment of fees. Attorneys don't like to take that step, but those motions are filed when necessary. You don't want this to happen when your freedom is on the line.
Carry Guard explains that you will not receive the other 80% owed until after your case ends:
... if you were acquitted or the case was dismissed.
This means that you would not have any additional money to pay for your attorney's fees or costs unless you are found not guilty, or in the unlikely event your case is dismissed. To put it another way, if you lose your case, you owe the attorney the balance of the fees.
If you were convicted, how would you be able to pay the balance of the attorney's bill? At that point you would likely be out of work or in prison.
This is precisely why attorneys demand some sort of retainer payment before trial. Once your retainer gets low on funds, you are required to deposit more money. If you cannot pay the high cost of a flat fee or retainer, then you could be forced to find an attorney you could afford, or if you meet certain financial guidelines you may be eligible for a public defender.
As an Attorney for over 24 years, I have never run across a criminal defense attorney who operates their businesses with the hope of being paid after their client's case is over.
Just a few short months ago, a Second Call Defense member located in California, was forced to use his firearm in self defense. As a result, he was charged with murder and immediately arrested and jailed.
Every criminal defense attorney I contacted on behalf of that member, and the Attorney he eventually chose, required that a $100,000 flat fee for his representation through trial be paid immediately up front. They all required 100% of their $100,000 fee up front, not just 20%. No attorney contacted would consider spreading the payments out, let alone waiting to be paid after trial.
Before you buy a self defense insurance policy, please look closely at how the policy is administered. Your freedom could depend on it.
Sean Maloney is a Second Amendment Attorney and Founder of Second Call Defense.