What is the cost of a lawyer? How will a criminal defense attorney bill for representation?
If you’re talking to a criminal defense attorney in regards to legal representation, the first question you will likely be asking is “How much will I have to pay?” Keep reading to find out how criminal defense attorneys charge for their services.
How complex is your case?
Depending on the severity of your case, the workload will vary and so will the prices. Attorneys often have higher fees for felony offences compared to misdemeanour charges. This is because more court appearances are required, the amount of preparation is greater and the risk of penalty is higher.
An attorney’s experience is often directly related to his or her skill level. This in turn leads to higher fees for more experienced lawyers. An hourly rate is not necessarily a good indicator of how much a lawyer will cost as a less experienced (cheaper) lawyer may require longer to do the same job meaning a more experienced but more expensive attorney may have been more cost effective in the long run.
Location of your attorney
Depending on where you live and require representation, attorney fees may be higher or lower than the national average. There are no set or standard legal fees so variations often occur. The average lawyer cost for criminal cases was roughly $1500 but included many single court appearance cases so that number also is misleading. Expect to pay at least a $2500 retainer with each day in court adding costs to the bill. Many attorneys will also want to be paid in advance, at least for their retainer fee.
Billing by the hour
Some lawyers operate on an hourly billing format, meaning defendants pay for every hour the lawyer spends working on your case. Expenses are usually added on as extras. The faster your case is concluded the better in this type of billing setup. However, if your case ends p being very complex and unforeseen circumstances arise you could be on the hook for a lot more than your bargained for. Experienced attorneys often have a general knowledge of how many hours will be required for your case after a quick review and are willing to give you an estimate. Hourly billing can be risky if you think your case is complicated.
Billing by the case
This means that a lawyer will charge a set amount for completion of your trial. This advantageous as the defendant knows how much representation will cost. Some disadvantages are that if your case is concluded quickly you may end up overpaying. Sometimes lawyers who have billed by the case will offer a partial refund if a case is resolved quickly and on the other hand may want to charge more if the case is extended.
No matter what type of billing system your lawyer uses, a retainer is most likely a necessity. This means that an upfront payment, not including actual case time payment must be made to get the lawyer on your team.
To find a criminal defense lawyer you can turn to the Internet for research and assistance. Look at the many lawyer databases for reviews and referrals on any attorney you may be considering in your area. Finding a criminal defense attorney in Huntsville is an easy task if you know where to look.