What to Expect From Criminal Defense Attorney Costs and Fees

It doesn’t matter what you did, but you’re in trouble and need a criminal defense lawyer as soon as possible. You’re looking at possible fines or jail time and you need someone on your side. When you check your bank account, you worry that you might not have enough to cover the costs.

When it comes to criminal defense attorney costs, they can run the gambit from a few thousand to hundreds of thousands of dollars depending on the charge and the lawyer. Attorney fees can be flat rate or charge by the hour.

We’ll examine some of the common crimes a defense attorney faces in a criminal court and how much you can expect to pay.

Criminal Defense Attorney Costs: Trial or No Trial

Many crimes are handled without a trial. Your lawyer either suggests you plead guilty or has the charges dropped before the trial date. A trial can be lengthy depending on the charge. Without a trial, the average cost of a lawyer can be $3,000 to $8,000.

It depends on the experience of the lawyer, where you leave, and their criminal experience. For example, a lawyer that specialized in DUI cases costs more for a DUI case than a general lawyer.

If there is a trial, the price goes up considerably. If the trial is quick, you still will pay $10,000 or more, but if it’s a lengthy trial, then it can be hundreds of thousands of dollars or even more.

Misdemeanor Charges

The lowest charge available is a misdemeanor. They can still cause large fines and jail time, but they won’t get you decades in prison. Lawyers specializing in various misdemeanors often charge a flat fee because they know the process.

You’ll pay $1500 to $3000 if there isn’t a trial, but that increases to anywhere from $6000 to $20,000 depending on the lawyer, severity of the misdemeanor, and where you live.

Many times, a criminal defense lawyer offers an initial free consultation where they talk about your case and what they can do for you.

Felonies and Hourly Charges

Felonies are more serious and rarely come with a flat fee. Many lawyers charge hourly fees for misdemeanors as well. A criminal defense attorney charges anywhere from $100 per hour to more than $1,000 per hour.

If the case is minor and quick, then they break that up into increments. For example, they may go to court and it lasts 15 minutes, so they charge you for 15 minutes.

To prove you can pay him, the lawyer may request a retainer fee, which is a set amount of pre-paid time. In a more involved case, you’re not only paying for a lawyer but expert witnesses, testing, etc.

Choose Your Defense Attorney Wisely

Criminal defense attorney costs can be high, but you can’t beat a good lawyer. The best lawyers in the industry charge a high amount for a reason. If you’re involved in a criminal lawsuit, then choose your attorney carefully.

If you want to learn more about how the criminal defense system works, then explore our site.


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