Are you facing legal trouble or criminal charges, or is a loved one in need of a criminal defense lawyer?
Criminal charges can be life-altering. If not handled professionally with proper legal guidance by a criminal attorney, it could make prison your long-term home. Criminal charges should thus not be taken lightly. They should be combatted with the premium weapon, a criminal defense lawyer.
We often begin to wonder what legal help could do to our bank accounts. There also seems to be quite some ambiguity around exactly “how much does a criminal defense lawyer cost”, or would it be possible for one to hire a criminal defense lawyer?
Read on to know more about what to expect cost-wise when hiring a criminal defense lawyer, what to look for in a criminal defense lawyer, and where to get the services of a criminal defense lawyer for free.
How Much Does A Criminal Defense Lawyer Cost?
Each criminal defense lawyer could charge differently depending on the following factors:
- Facts of the case.
- The complexity of the matter.
- Cognizable or non-cognizable type of crime.
- Location of the practice.
- Expectations out of the case.
However, there is a general standard according to which lawyers charge, whether they charge Hourly, In Advance, or Post-Case. So let us dive into how much does a lawyer cost for criminal defense depending on the type of case.
Cost Of Defense- Misdemeanor
The state generally puts criminal behavior into a few categories, they are as follows,
Infractions do not usually amount to time in prison, however, you could always choose to hire a defense attorney to ensure that you get the best out of a situation.
Misdemeanors are of medium seriousness. They could amount to a year in prison, a financial penalty. An attorney is often required to negotiate terms as much as possible.
A felony is however punishable by the state seriously. If accused of a felony, a criminal defense lawyer is a must.
Fees charged for a misdemeanor can vary from $2000-$8500 depending on the aforementioned factors.
Cost Of Defense- Assault And Battery
Hitting someone physically, attempting to, or threatening them to do so can be defined as assault. Some states make no distinction and charge the person with assault and battery as a whole.
In cases of assault and battery retainer fees are quite popular. A retainer fee is an initial fee that a defense lawyer charges which lasts for the first few consultations and court visits. After that, the advocate charges an additional fee for each occasion.
The retainer fee for assault and battery may range from $5000 to $100,000.
Cost Of Defense- Drug Possession Charges
Drug abuse, possession, distribution and sale, single or multiple uses, and possession of paraphernalia related to drugs, are all punishable offenses. All of the above are sufficient to get you criminal charges.
A criminal defense attorney would ideally charge in the range of $3000-$10,000 as a retainer fee. Or the equivalent hourly.
Cost Of Defense- Domestic Violence
Even if domestic abuse is a horrific practice, every accused has the right to prove his innocence and defend himself. Thus even a person charged with domestic violence can seek legal counsel from a criminal defense attorney.
Depending on the charges made against you, a criminal defense attorney may charge anywhere between $3500-$10,000.
Cost Of Defense- Court Appearances
When charged with a crime, court visits are going to be a very common occurrence. These visits are mostly supervised and accompanied by a defense lawyer. For a felony, the court appearance cost is between $10,000-$20,000.
For misdemeanors, the charges can go up to $8,000.
Why Does A Criminal Defense Lawyer Charge That Much?
To understand why a criminal defense lawyer charges that much or whether they are simply evil, you need to know what exactly a criminal defense attorney does.
- They interview the accused and find out every little detail about the case.
- They analyze the evidence that was gathered from the case to be able to prepare a strong defense.
- The burden of proving that the accused is innocent lies on the defense attorney.
- They select a proper jury and make sure that no jury member is biased about the accused before the conviction has taken place.
- A defense lawyer can get the accused a plea bargain. A plea bargain done right could decrease 30 years of prison to 15, if the facts of the case permit.
How Much Does It Cost For A Criminal Defense Lawyer To Get His Degree?
In order to get a degree in criminal justice, one has to get a law degree specializing in the field. The fees for a law course would be around $48,000-$51,000. It is usually in the higher range if the law school is amongst the top private ones.
How Much Does A Criminal Defense Lawyer Make A Year?
An average criminal defense lawyer makes around $80,000 a year. Lawyers with more experience and a good reputation tend to earn close to $150,000 a month. That being said, a lawyer’s income may vary throughout states.
Choosing Your Defense Based On Fees
You must have understood by now why and exactly how important a criminal defense lawyer is.
Five Red Flags To Watch Out For In Your Criminal Defense Attorney
- They constantly demean you.
- They do not acknowledge the importance of your case.
- They charge exorbitant amounts compared to other lawyers.
- They are disorganized and careless.
- They are not reachable when you need them.
So, when choosing an attorney to represent you in court, asking “ how much does a criminal defense lawyer cost ? ” is not enough. It is best to choose an experienced attorney who has a history of getting client acquittals and convenient plea bargains.
If you feel like you have been charged and no lawyer will be willing to take up your case, you are wrong. Even the worst of cases deserve a defense.
The concept of defense is based on the legal maxim- “Audi Alterem Partem”.
This maxim states that before a judgment can be reached, it is the duty of the judge to listen to both sides of the story. That is where the role of a criminal defense lawyer comes into question.