If you’re facing criminal charges, you may have to serve jail time, pay fines, and more. In addition, you may receive a permanent mark on your record that potential employers, lenders, and landlords can see. It’s important that you speak with a criminal defense attorney right away if you’ve been arrested or charged with a crime. They’ll guide you through the legal process, look for defenses to your charges, and help you pursue a lessened sentence.
Criminal defense attorneys typically charge based on a flat fee or hourly rate. Their prices will depend on the severity of your charges, the experience of the law firm, and the complexity of your case. Fees can also vary depending on whether your case goes to trial. Keep in mind that you may also owe additional court costs for your case. Therefore, it’s important to discuss and make sure you understand the attorney’s fees before you sign a contract.
As an American citizen, you have a right to counsel if you’re facing criminal prosecution. While you technically can represent yourself in a criminal case, it’s not advisable as a lack of experience will severely hinder you. The law is complex and ever-changing, so a person without legal know-how is at a significant disadvantage in court. You’ll be much better off hiring a skilled criminal defense attorney who can use their experience to help you.
Since each case is unique, criminal defense lawyer costs vary widely. Rates will also vary based on the attorney’s specialty and experience. Standard attorneys typically charge between $250 and $600 an hour. Minor misdemeanors and standard fees for criminal charges can cost about $1,000. Other categories of crimes may involve higher lawyer fees. For example, a DUI lawyer will cost up to $1,500 on average if they accept a plea, and between $1,500 and $4,000 if the case goes to trial.
Keep in mind that you’ll be facing other fees related to a charge for driving under the influence, in addition to lawyer costs. However, paying legal fees now could help you avoid additional penalties and lower long-term costs.
Like other attorneys, criminal defense lawyers will either charge a flat rate or an hourly fee. Let’s look at average costs for each option below:
Average Flat Fee Costs
If you’ve been charged with a misdemeanor offense and hire an attorney who uses a flat fee, you may pay between $1,500 and $3,500. If the case goes to trial, it may cost between $3,000 and $5,000. For felony charges, your lawyer may charge between $3,000 and $6,000, or $10,000 to $20,000 for a felony trial case. Keep in mind that some attorneys include a clause in their flat fee agreements that enable them to increase costs if the case goes to trial.
Average Hourly Costs
Some criminal defense attorneys charge by the hour instead of using a flat fee. In addition, they may charge hourly if the complexity of your case makes it difficult to determine a flat fee. On average, you’ll pay an hourly rate of $100 to $300 for a criminal defense lawyer. However, highly experienced attorneys can charge between $250 and $750. Keep in mind that legal bills can quickly add up to the thousands with an hourly fee structure.
As mentioned, attorney costs might only be a small portion of the expenses related to legal trouble. Fines for criminal convictions can cost hundreds or even thousands of dollars in Arizona. Class 3 misdemeanor assault, for instance, comes with a $500 fine. Felony crimes in the state can come with fines up to $150,000.
For certain crimes, such as DUI, you may have to attend counseling classes or undergo alcohol screenings, which may cost around $500. If you’re ordered to install an Ignition Interlock Device in your car, you’re looking at an additional $1,000 or more. Repeat criminal offenses will typically result in higher costs.
Attorney fees are far from cheap, but a criminal conviction may cost you even more in the long run. When you work with a criminal defense attorney, you increase your odds of receiving a lesser sentence. While you will have to make an initial investment to hire a lawyer, lesser penalties will mean lower costs for a conviction. Keep in mind that it’s especially important to speak with a lawyer if you’re facing trial.
While you may be tempted to hire the cheapest lawyer you can find, price is far from the most important factor when it comes to your legal defense. Cheap services tend to be more focused on attaining as many clients as possible. Higher-priced lawyers, however, tend to have more resources, experience, and knowledge to dedicate to your case. When you pay a lawyer, you’re paying them for their local expertise and track record. So, don’t necessarily assume that cheaper legal costs are better.
Considering the substantial consequences that can result from a criminal charge, you’ll need a professional you can rely on. A skilled lawyer will defend you in court, guide you through your case, and answer any questions you have along the way. Considering the high costs you may be facing with a criminal conviction, having an attorney on your side will be invaluable.
Our team of experienced attorneys have helped thousands of people with cases similar to yours. From reduced penalties and dismissed charges to a smoother legal process, we can help you with your goals. If you’re considering hiring a criminal defense attorney, you’re probably in a hurry to get started with your defense. So, give us a call today and get a free case evaluation.