Have you ever asked yourself the question: what does it cost to hire a criminal defense lawyer? Read on to learn what hiring one would cost you.
If you’re reading this, you or someone you love has likely been charged with a serious crime. As a result, you may be worried about the cost of hiring a lawyer.
But don’t fret! There are plenty of options to help you affordably defend yourself against criminal charges.
While there are no one-size-fits-all solutions when paying for legal services, most clients can choose between hourly billing and flat fees. There are also contingency fees and other ways to split costs between you and your attorney.
Here’s everything you need to know about criminal defense. Read on to find the answer to the question, “What is a criminal defense lawyer?” and more.
Types of Criminal Defense Lawyers
Criminal Defense Lawyers can be divided into three categories: criminal defense attorneys, civil rights lawyers, and public defenders. Depending on which one you hire will depend on the amount you pay.
Criminal Defense Lawyers
Criminal defense lawyers work as private practitioners or in government offices. A criminal defense lawyer can be a sole practitioner or part of a law firm.
They have experience in dealing with all aspects of criminal law. This includes homicide, theft, assault, murder, and kidnapping. In addition to representing individuals accused of crimes, they also represent corporations that may have been charged with environmental violations or other crimes.
Civil Rights Lawyers
Civil rights lawyers focus on protecting the constitutional rights of citizens from unlawful search and seizure by police officers.
They also prosecute illegal wiretapping by government agencies (such as the NSA) and seizure of property without due process (such as through eminent domain).
Another crime they prosecute on your behalf is unreasonable searches and seizures at airports using full body scanners without probable cause.
Other crimes they can prosecute against the state include Sixth Amendment violations involving denial of counsel during interrogation; Eighth Amendment violations involving cruel and unusual punishment (such as solitary confinement).
These attorneys work for the state or federal government. They represent people who cannot afford to pay for their legal representation.
They often have a high caseload (or several cases to handle). This means they may not be able to spend as much time on each case as they would like to.
Billing by the Hour
Attorneys typically charge by the hour. If your case goes on for four months and you have five lawyers working on it, you will pay them thousands of dollars for their time.
You will also pay for all the services they provide—for example, drafting motions or responding to discovery requests, communication with opposing counsel, and phone calls or emails between you and your attorney.
When you choose a criminal defense lawyer, be aware that some attorneys charge an hourly rate per person. For example, if there are two defendants in one case, each defendant pays half the hourly rate their respective attorneys charge.
Other attorneys charge a flat fee after they consider all their expenses. They only get paid when the case is closed out—won or lost.
Other attorneys charge a contingency fee, meaning they receive part of any settlement or verdict awarded on behalf of their client. They don’t get paid if no settlement or judgment is awarded. In short, it’s risk-free!
In addition, a firm will not make money if something terrible happens during the trial.
Your Attorney May Charge You a Flat Fee
In some cases, an attorney may charge you a flat fee. This is often the case when the client cannot pay an hourly or contingency fee. Flat fees are also used for simple cases, such as minor offenses or traffic violations.
The time an attorney dedicates to your case and other costs associated with hiring them (for example, court filing fees) determine how much they charge per hour.
As well as costs for this legal case, you need to factor in costs for cases arising from your criminal trial. For example, the case might strain your marriage. But before you rush into anything, consider whether divorce is for you, including the additional legal costs this decision might entail.
Lawyers Paid on a Contingency or by Percentage
Sometimes, the lawyer will be paid on a contingency or by percentage. So what is a contingency fee?
A contingency fee is an agreement in which a client pays no fees unless the lawyer wins the case. The lawyer receives a percentage of what they recover for the client. For example, if your damages are $100,000 and you hire a lawyer on a 33% contingency fee basis, the lawyer gets paid $33,333.
This percentage varies from state to state but typically ranges between 25% and 40%.
The client hires an attorney who agrees to take their case if it goes to trial and wins at least 60% of its value. If this happens—and only then—the attorney earns part of whatever was recovered through legal action.
Making Monthly Payments
Many people are offered a monthly deal regarding the payment structure of their legal services. For example, if you hire a criminal defense lawyer, you may be able to pay in installments or as a lump sum at the end of your case.
Don’t feel you must pay for everything all at once.
You can also pay based on a percentage of your winnings or settlement. Again, you can pay it all at once or break it into monthly payments.
Is Your Criminal Defense Worth It?
Unsurprisingly, many people facing criminal charges look to hire the cheapest criminal defense attorney.
But you can’t put a price on your freedom. If you want to stay out of jail, ensure that the criminal defense lawyer you hire is worth the money. The best way to do this is by researching criminal defense and ensuring they have experience defending against offenses similar to yours.
For more legal support and advice, contact our team today.