If you are facing probable criminal charges, it is vitally important you find a criminal defense attorney as soon as you can – as the penalties for criminal charges often have life changing consequences including a criminal record, fines, jail time and the possible loss of a career or job opportunities in your field.
Fortunately, the constitution states you have the right to legal counsel when facing prosecutions of a criminal nature. A court will appoint an attorney for you at no cost if you cannot afford one. You also have the option of representing yourself without counsel. The fees charged by attorneys in criminal defense are based on many factors such as the experience of the attorney, the complexity of the issues being dealt with, the severity of the charges and if the case must go to trial. So, a discussion of fees at the outset is very important.
What Does A Criminal Defense Attorney Do?
Potentially you are looking at fines and jail time when a criminal charge has been brought against you. Therefore, you need to speak with an attorney before proceeding further. An attorney can help you through the process and assist in asserting any legitimate criminal defenses in response to the charges.
By the time you hire an attorney, you have often been arrested and spent time in custody as well as gone through the booking process in the police system. You are then given the opportunity to post bail and an arraignment occurs where you will be requested to enter your plea. Should no plea bargain be on the table, an initial hearing will convene, and the judge will decide as to whether there is reasonable evidence for you to be criminally charged. As you can see, the procedures can become extremely complicated. Remember a criminal defense attorney will be ask you to pay you either a flat fee or hourly basis as well as billing you for any additional court costs to defend your case, such as fees for expert witnesses or investigators.
How Much Do Lawyers Cost For Criminal Defense?
Let us look at some of the factors that can have an impact on the overall costs of a criminal case:
- The income of the defendant is used to decide on whether you will be given a court appointed attorney or if you need to hire your own attorney. Different jurisdictions have differing standards in this regard. If a defendant does qualify, the court will appoint a public defender on their behalf without any further cost. However, you often “get what you pay for”.
- In many criminal cases, there are issues requiring expert witnesses or investigators. These can cost an average retainer fee of around $2,000 with hourly charges going from $300 per hour upwards.
- Some of the factors impacting the rates which attorneys charge include: if the case goes to trial, whether the attorney charges by the hour or a flat fee, the attorney’s skill level, the severity of the offense, the tasks that can be delegated to paralegals or law clerks, the legal issue’s complexity, and the time spent by the attorney in the process of pretrial discovery and filing of law and motion to the Court.
Do Criminal Defense Lawyers Charge A Flat Fee?
Some lawyers do but it is not particularly common and it is dependent on the kind of case involved. It should be noted that flat fee attorney arrangements do not typically include a guarantee of a favorable outcome such that your money is not refunded back to you. Also, many attorneys will not entertain a flat fee as the criminal process is too variable and hard to predict. The lawyer may also include a clause permitting them to raise the cost of the flat fee, should the case come to full jury trial.
Average Criminal Defense Attorney Fees
Most attorneys charge by the hour instead of charging a flat rate. These hourly rates will differ enormously but expect to pay $150 to $700 per hour. You should be aware; bills can run into tens of thousands of dollars very quickly. A lawyer working on this kind of pay structure may also require the payment of an up-front retainer fee. Once the retainer fee has been fully consumed, the hourly charge will then apply.
Should I Hire A Criminal Defense Lawyer or Represent Myself?
If you choose to represent yourself, it is still wise to speak with an attorney so at least they can make sure the charges you are facing are appropriate considering the details of your case. They may also be able to advocate on your behalf. Nuances in criminal cases can be complex to comprehend to the extent even skillful criminal lawyers contend they would not likely ever represent themselves.
So Should I Hire A Criminal Defense Lawyer?
You really need to contact a criminal defense attorney right away if you have been arrested and/or charged with committing a criminal offense. A criminal defense attorney will be by your side to defend the charges and defend you through the nuanced court process. This is even more vital if you are looking at a jury trial.
Source: Peeler, Travis. “Criminal Defense Attorney Fees.” LegalMatch Law Library, 18 Mar. 2019, https://www.legalmatch.com/law-library/article/how-much-will-a-criminal-defense-lawyer-cost.html.
Speak With One Of Our Criminal Defense Attorneys In Scottsdale
Canterbury Law Group’s criminal defense lawyers in Phoenix and Scottsdale will defend your case with personal attention and always have you and your best interests in mind when offering legal solutions. Call today for an initial consultation!
We are experienced criminal defense attorneys and will fight for you to obtain the best possible outcome. Our firm will rigorously represent you, so you can get on with your life. Call today for an initial consultation! 480-240-0040 or [email protected]
*This information is not intended to be legal advice. Please contact Canterbury Law Group today to learn more about your personal legal needs.