What Are The Estimated Legal Fees For A Criminal Defense Attorney?

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Being in chains can be a very stressful experience due to the lack of control of the future and the uncertainty of how much this problem will affect your financial well-being. When hiring a lawyer, other than their track record, you should ask about how they charge to get a clear picture of whether to proceed with them or not. This article has been prepared by criminal trial lawyers in Orlando to enable you to understand how legal fees are estimated in the USA before you put a retainer on a criminal defense attorney for your case.

Factors Determining Legal Fees for a Criminal Defense Attorney

Although there is no set charge indicating how much the court proceedings will cost you, we can easily estimate how much you are likely to pay depending on several factors. These include;

The Type Of Criminal Case

Legal fees vary depending on the type and severity of criminal charges you are facing. For instance, if you have been charged with a misdemeanor, you should expect to be charged less compared to when you are charged with robbery with violence. Additionally, your case may require a more stringent way of getting evidence or special witness from professionals, and this cost will be added to your account.

Here are just a few types of criminal cases and how much they cost depending on the severity.

  1. Misdemeanor – these are minor offenses compared to felonies and they are divided into two parts. Second degree misdemeanor will cost you at least $750 for the first charge while a first degree, if severely punished, can cost you upwards of $2000.
  2. Felony – A third-degree felony will cost you about $3000, second-degree will cost you at least $5000 and the first-degree which is the most severe of them all will cost you at least $10,000.
  3. A DUI charge will be determined depending on the number of times you have been charged, first-timers will usually pay at least $2500 while second charges will be at least $3500 and a third-time charge will cost you at least $5500.

Attorney’s Skills And Experience

When you seek counsel from a pro attorney who has been practicing criminal law for years, you are likely to pay a lot higher than when seeking counsel from a newly-minted attorney. Some lawyers may specialize in a specific branch of criminal law, which gives them much traction to being the best and winning more cases. This type of attorney will charge you exorbitantly compared to one who is more general.

The Defense Attorney’s Fee Structure

Understanding how your attorney is billing can help figure out how much you will pay by the end of your case. There are several ways an attorney may charge, these include;

Hourly billing – This is the most common fee structure. You will have to pay your lawyer for every hour they spend on your case, which includes all the processes that are included in pursuing evidence, trials, and any other activity your case demands. This can become expensive in the long run, especially when your case takes longer to be closed.  On average, attorneys charge from $100 to even $400 an hour, depending on the location the lawyer operates in.

Flat fee structure – This is mainly used in highly predictable cases like DUI or misdemeanors. Your lawyer will give you a figure that includes all the court fees and charge you once for the whole duration of your case. This can be a good way of saving legal fees when your case runs longer than initially thought but can be a waste of money if the case is dropped earlier than you had anticipated.

Retainer – This is the up-front advance payment that you are mandated to pay before the lawyer gets to work. This mainly depends on the severity of your case and the hourly rate your attorney charges.

Additional Things To Note

  • When looking for a defense lawyer, it is important to find a lawyer who is affordable but not cheap. Compromising on quality to accommodate your budget might not be helpful, especially if the lawyer is inexperienced or is juggling many cases at a go.
  • If you can afford it, we advise getting a lawyer immediately if you are accused of a crime to allow your rights to be protected.
  • If you cannot afford a defense lawyer, we advise you to seek free legal aid, which will give you a public defender to assist you with your case.

You should always think of your financial capacity and the severity of your charge before deciding on hiring a lawyer. Although legal representation is important, it can be frustrating to realize you are swimming deep in extreme debt after your case is concluded.