If you’ve been served with criminal charges, you’re going to need to hire an attorney for yourself. Securing a confident and knowledgeable criminal defense lawyer is the key to winning your case. The consequences of criminal charges are often very severe, like jail time and heavy fines. A good criminal defense lawyer can help you get the most favorable decision from the judge and jury.
In the event that you can’t afford a criminal defense lawyer, the court will appoint one for you. However, if you are in better financial standing, it’s going to be up to you to find a lawyer.
Can I Represent Myself?
If you are trying to save yourself some money, you may think that representing yourself is a good option. However, in most cases, this is a terrible idea. Unlike a lawyer, the defendant is often unable to distance themselves emotionally from their case. This makes them more likely to act unprofessionally or out of turn.
Without the guidance of a lawyer, the defendant could be facing unfair charges and not even realize it. A criminal defense attorney is well-versed in this area of the law and has years of experience with courtroom proceedings. It’s their job to ensure that you’re getting the best defense possible.
While the cost of hiring a criminal defense lawyer varies depending on each case, attorneys usually charge one of two rates: hourly and flat fees.
Hourly Fee for Attorneys
An hourly fee is the standard rate offered by criminal defense attorneys for their services. Because each case has its own level of complexity and severity regarding the actual crime, an hourly rate is the best way to ensure that the lawyer is getting paid sufficiently for their work. This hourly fee can range between $200-700. Some lawyers will also need to be paid a retainer fee.
Flat Fee for Attorneys
While less common than hourly-paid attorneys, you may be able to find someone who will represent your case at a fixed rate. Your odds of finding a flat-rate lawyer are better if your charge is simply a misdemeanor, such as a first-time drunk driving offense. The standard flat rate for criminal defense lawyers is around $1500-3000.
In the event that your case goes to trial or other complications arise, your lawyer is entitled by law to increase their flat fee as they see fit.
The reason why there is no hard and fast rule for determining the cost of hiring a lawyer is that no two cases are alike. Running a red light won’t require much work on the lawyer’s part, but a felony charge is going to require more time and resources. To make sure that they are being adequately paid for their efforts, attorneys will charge a rate based on:
- The severity of the case
- The complexity of all legal issues involved with the case
- The location of the lawyer or firm (larger cities will require hire fees)
- The experience and skills of the lawyer
- The reputation of the lawyer or firm (a firm with a history of many successful cases may have higher fees)
Additionally, experts who lend their services to a case will need to be properly compensated as well. A criminal defense lawyer may need to hire an expert witness such as a blood analyst or medical doctor to help prove your case. Depending on who they hire, this could add hundreds of dollars to your hourly rate.
Is it Worth it To Hire a Criminal Defense Lawyer?
While hiring a criminal defense lawyer may be costly, you won’t be able to find anyone else with the expertise needed to help you win your case. If you need to hire a criminal defense lawyer, please contact us today.
DISCLAIMER: The information contained in this article does not constitute an attorney-client relationship. Please contact attorney Kirk Anderson for an initial consultation.