Once you are alone in a jail cell, it might occur to you that you should hire a lawyer. Indeed, those who don't hire a private attorney are doomed to wait in line for an overworked public defender's office to help you as best they can. Once you realize you need a private attorney, the next question might be how legal fees work. You probably can be represented by a lawyer for less money than you think when you consider the alternative. Most criminal defense lawyers charge for their services using one of two methods. Read on and find out more.
How Are Legal Fees Set?
Many criminal lawyers will only provide you with a cost estimate after speaking with you about your case. That is because not all cases require the same effort and work to resolve. Legal fees can also vary by other factors, such as the below:
- Your geographical location. What you pay in various cities and parts of the country will vary in fees just as most things do.
- Lawyers with more years of experience in criminal law will charge more than those with less experience.
- Complex cases may require higher fees. For example, cases with lots of witnesses to interview and evidence to gather will cost more than a simple driving under the influence (DUI) charge.
- Felony cases, particularly life or death cases, may require higher fees due to the seriousness of the charges.
On a Case-by-Case Basis
One common way to charge defendants legal fees is a flat fee based on the charges. For example, some lawyers might charge a flat fee of $2,800 for a fraud case, $1, 500 for a DUI case, and $10,000 for a murder case. For flat fees, the total payment is usually due in advance and may include only certain services. For instance, if the case is subject to a plea deal, the agreed-upon fee applies but if the case goes to trial the fee may increase.
Adding Up the Hours
The other common method for charging legal fees involves a two-part process. First, a retainer is charged for the case. The amount varies depending on the case. The retainer is drawn from as the lawyer works on the case and charges accrue hourly. Once the retainer runs dry, more money will have to be paid if more work needs doing on the case. Your lawyer should be able to give you an estimate of the charges before you decide on things.
Get started by phoning a law office and asking about the fees. Many lawyers offer a free or inexpensive consultation where you can find out more information so make the call today.