The cost of hiring a criminal defense lawyer can vary significantly in different areas, and is typically based on the nature and severity of the charges, the complexity of the case, the court to which a case is assigned, the lawyer’s years of experience and reputation, the size of the law firm, among other factors.
A “flat fee” paid up front, before services are rendered, is the normal pricing practice for criminal cases. Because of the intricacies of a criminal case, pricing usually doesn’t lend itself to hourly rates; such cases typically involve numerous appearances and often complicated legal procedures, e.g., status settings, preliminary hearing, jury selection, trial, motions, writs and appeals.
Attorneys working on a flat fee may have one price for pre-filing defense work (before any charges are filed against you in court), another flat fee for legal assistance up to the preliminary hearing, and yet another fee for representing you in a court or jury trial.
In addition to the attorney fee, there may be additional charges, costs and fees that you will be responsible for paying, such as costs of photocopying and certified copies, investigators, expert witnesses, travel-related expenses, court costs and fines.
When facing serious charges it is important to find the best lawyer you can. While you should always keep in mind, when seeking the right attorney for your case, that you should not let price dictate your choice, you should think about how much you are comfortable spending in order to resolve your issue. Legal services aren’t cheap.
The best way to choose a lawyer is to meet them, discuss your case, ask questions, and have your concerns addressed directly. When you first contact an attorney, know the exact criminal charges and cases filed against you, your court date, your bail amount and any other pertinent facts.