If there is a criminal charge against you, it is paramount that you hire a criminal lawyer to defend you in court. Failure to do so, or if you risk undertaking the court proceedings yourself, can result in you suffering harsh criminal penalties, such as fines, jail time, or both.
Unfortunately, many individuals are put off by the notion of hiring a lawyer due to their high fees. Having an understanding of what your lawyers and why can aid your search for a defence attorney that fits into your budget and supports your case.
Therefore, we will look at the factors that influence a lawyer’s fees, the difference between a flat fee and hourly rates and why you should hire them regardless.
What Impacts the Cost of a Criminal Lawyer?
Just like most other professional industries, the rate of the lawyer is impacted by several external factors. This can include the following:
- The defendant’s income – Your personal income determines whether you are eligible for a court-appointed attorney or if you have to obtain a criminal lawyer yourself. If you have enough money to support yourself, then it’s likely that you’ll have to pay the lawyer yourself, thereby affecting their fees.
- The complexity of the case, and its work requirements – There is a chance that in order for you to successfully win your case, investigations and expert analysis will be required to build your defence. Hiring such professionals may prove costly, and the lawyer might include in their overall billing or charge you directly for them. Experts can include psychologists, professionals in particular industries, psychiatrists and medical professionals.
- The lawyer’s own fees – The lawyer has to be compensated for their work, and that widely depends on their qualifications in the first place. Their skills, success in the courtroom, experience (ENTER https://www.dunlapcriminaldefencelawyer.com/), the seriousness of the offence, if the case goes to trial or not, and, as we mentioned above, the complexity of the legal issues in the case will incur higher charges for the lawyer. You also have to consider additional support from the lawyer’s team, such as the delegation of tasks to law clerks or paralegals and the amount of time spent by the attorney in the case’s research.
Criminal lawyers charge for their fees in two ways: flat fee and by the hour. Choosing one over the odd will have an impact on the overall costs of their service.
Flat Fee Vs. Hourly Work
Due to the fact that no criminal case is identical, most attorneys choose to charge an hourly fee for their work. The length and complexity of the case mean that extensive work is required, and the varying nature of the criminal process means that if they were to charge a flat fee, they would not be fairly compensated for their time and effort.
Hourly billing rates will greatly vary depending on the ability of the lawyer and your case. You could be charged anywhere from $150 to $700 an hour, without the added fees of court appearances and expert witness and analysis. As such, legal bills for criminal matters can get into the $10,000 to $15,000 range rather quickly.
In some cases, lawyers will have a retainer fee, which will automatically start once the hours assigned under that retainer has expired. This might be offered before their work begins.
Flat fees, on the other hand, are not commonly used unless for simple misdemeanour charges. Because the outcome is pretty much guaranteed, there is no need to charge extra for the lawyer’s time. However, in some cases, flat-fee arrangements come with an additional cost if matters go to court and if the outcome is favourable.
Why You Should Hire A Lawyer Regardless
While it might be important to note what attorneys might charge for their services, when harsh penalties are on the line and your livelihood, hiring a criminal lawyer is worth it.
Having a well-qualified and successful lawyer on your side can help assert your defence and reduce the chances of you suffering from severe consequences. They will guide you through the entire criminal process, which can be complex and difficult, considering the differences in criminal charges from case to case.
If you wish to represent yourself “pro se”, you should still consult a lawyer about your case and defence. Gaining an insight into how the lawyer might approach your case, ensure that the charges brought against you are appropriate and advise you how to proceed.
Regardless, if you have been charged with a criminal offence, it is best to seek a criminal lawyer’s support.