How much does a criminal defense attorney cost?
How Much Do We Charge For Criminal Defense Representation?
Each attorney and law firm are different as are each Defendant's criminal case and criminal history. I would like to give you an idea about how this law firm deals with pricing and give you a general framework for how much we charge for criminal cases.
Keep in mind that in legal work, as with in pretty much everything else in life, you get what you pay for. Generally, an attorney with very little experience is going to charge much less than an experienced attorney. Like any other marketplace, there are also attorneys that, in my opinion, are charging significantly more than they should be. It is a good idea to ask around and do some research online and find someone with good reviews and most importantly, someone who you like and feel comfortable with. A criminal case is something that can drastically affect your life so it is very important that you feel confidant with and trust your attorney.
Criminal defense attorneys generally charge flat fees. Unlike some attorneys (for instance, family law and divorce attorneys) who require a retainer up front and then charge hourly until that retainer is depleted, then the client must pay another retainer if legal work is going to continue, most criminal defense attorney simply charge one flat fee that (typically) covers representation for the entire case.
Every Case is Different
Also, please be aware that pricing in a criminal case is not like pricing for clothes or car parts. Because each criminal case has a unique set of facts and defenses, each case will differ as to how much work will be necessary to adequately and successfully represent the client. Therefore, prices will vary between similar criminal charges. Below are general guidelines, for an exact quote please call me and I will review the facts of your case and give you a definite quote.
Misdemeanor cases (cases punishable by a maximum of 12 months in jail or less) and ordinance violations (generally 60 days in jail and less) are generally the least expensive. I usually price these cases at $2500 and less. Sometimes as low as $1500. The exception to this rule are DUI's (technically referred to criminal traffic violations) which generally start at $4000, but can be significantly lower (sometimes as low as $2500) depending on the case and client. Some misdemeanors can be more, for instance a battery charge with significant injuries.
Felonies are much more serious than misdemeanors. The least serious felony is called a Felony of the Third Degree. These are punishable by a maximum of 5 years in prison. The cost to defend a third degree felony can vary considerably. I generally charge at least $2500 for a basic third-degree felony charge (such as a possession of a controlled substance charge). Costs for more serious or difficult third degree felonies can be significantly more.
Regarding second-degree and first-degree felonies, it is not appropriate to quote a general figure online as the cost to defend these can vary drastically depending on the seriousness of the allegations and the individual's criminal history.
Violations of probation (VOP's) generally start at $1500 to $2500 depending on the basis for the violation and the underlying charges.
Reasonable Payment Plans are Available, If Needed
I will typically allow people to make payments on cases if they are unable to pay the entire fee up front. I usually require at least half of the fee up front and will work out reasonable payment arrangements per week or month on the remainder.
Please call me for a quote for your criminal case. I would be happy to review your case with you and discuss your best course of action.