10 million people find themselves arrested in the United States every year. When they do, many are facing charges that could land them in prison for years if not decades.
The best course of action for those people is almost always to contact a quality criminal defense attorney. Still, some don’t and one of the primary reasons why is that they’re concerned with attorney fees.
That begs the question, how much are criminal defense attorney fees?
In this post, we break down that query by exploring various circumstances and scenarios that may apply to you which should help to better deduce what you might pay to have an attorney back your case.
Do You Qualify for Free Legal Defense?
It’s not often that something you need desperately can be attained free of charge. Believe it or not, though, the United States makes it so attorneys are among those rare, free things that you can claim assuming you qualify.
In short, if you have what’s considered to be low income, the court will appoint you a public defender who will handle your case at no cost.
While public defenders are usually not the most name-brand lawyers you can find in your area, many are deeply competent, and being able to use their services could be an incredible value.
Do you not qualify for a public defender? If that’s the case, you’ll have to plan on spending money to get the counsel you need.
You’ll see in a moment that there are a variety of factors that affect legal fees which is why we can’t quote you an exact number on what you will pay an attorney in your market.
Still, to level-set possibilities, know that in the United States, people pay anywhere from $100 to $350 per hour, plus fees, for legal services.
Factors That Affect Price
Where in the $100 to $350 spectrum are you likely to fall when hiring an attorney? That depends on several things.
Here’s what will most deeply affect your attorney’s rates:
Where You Live
Cost of living affects attorney fees just like it affects just about everything. Hiring a criminal defense attorney in San Francisco, consequently, is going to cost more than hiring an attorney in Iowa.
Where your attorney will be hired will usually be dependent on which state you committed your crime in.
Since attorneys licensed to practice in a state can support you in any city within that state, it might behoove you to hire a lawyer and import them from a cheaper city in your state than to hire one from the municipality you were charged in, assuming that area is expensive.
Difficulty of Your Case
If your criminal defense is going to fight a case related to vandalism, you’re almost certainly going to pay less if you’re asking your legal team to get you off of murder charges.
The higher the stakes are, the more research that’s required, and the more legwork it’ll take to convince juries of your innocence, the more you can expect to pay your attorney.
Pretentiousness of a Firm
There are no legal limits on what an attorney can charge you for their services. That creates massive disparities in the market.
A celebrity might pay their criminal defense lawyer hundreds of thousands of dollars to defend them in court. You might have a budget of $10,000 to defend yourself against the same charges and would almost certainly find a lawyer that would be willing to work for that.
Firm or lawyer prestige is one of the most volatile rate factors there are and something that can substantially change what you’d pay for two attorneys, even if they’re working the same market.
Your lawyer’s hourly rate for labor isn’t the only charge you’ll be liable for when working with legal counsel. Miscellaneous fees that come up in your lawyer’s pursuit of aiding you will almost certainly be billed back to you as well.
For example, your lawyer might need to hire a private investigator to get details regarding an aspect of your case. That investigator could be $100 per hour. On a smaller scale, your attorney might bill back fees associated with filing documents on your behalf.
Fees that are billed back to clients vary based on your lawyer’s practices. You can and should ask about them when interviewing prospects.
How Many Tasks Are Delegated
Your attorney’s time is valuable. Their paralegal’s time, less so.
What that means for you is that if your attorney outsources much of the legwork regarding your case to their less qualified team, you’ll almost certainly save money.
That, of course, comes with the drawback of not having the best and brightest eyes, like the ones that belong to this criminal defence lawyer, managing your needs. If that bothers you, let your attorney know you’d like more of their attention but be prepared to pay for it.
A Quality Criminal Defense Attorney Can Change the Outcome of a Case
There’s no doubt that hiring a criminal defense attorney can be expensive. That expense, however, is well worth it for the millions of people that engage legal services every year.
At the end of the day, nothing is more valuable than your freedom. If you can pay an attorney however much money to help you preserve as much autonomy over your life as possible, that, in our books, is an investment worth making.
Curious to learn more about legal services? If so, check out more of the content on our blog that explores the topic.