If you are trying to decide whether or not you should hire a criminal defense lawyer, one of the biggest reasons why you’re struggling to make that choice may be concerns about the cost involved. Not all criminal defense lawyers charge the same amount of fees, nor do they all charge in the same way. You are probably aware that there are public defense lawyers who are assigned by the court to persons accused of crimes who cannot afford to pay for an attorney. However, you may be surprised by how few people actually qualify for free legal help in this way. Additionally, you may not want to hire a public defender if they are like most public defenders in that they are usually overworked and lack resources to fully defend their clients.
Though most public defenders make every effort to protect the rights of the accused, they usually can’t compete with private law firms who have a team of criminal defense lawyers who assist each other when necessary. Also, law firms belong to professional networks that include experts across many industries. Such experts can be called upon to testify on behalf of our clients and offer invaluable information to judges and juries that can result in an acquittal.
In what ways might a criminal defense lawyer charge a client?
Various factors will affect the rate charged by a criminal defense lawyer. Generally speaking, the more experience they have, the higher their hourly fee and other costs. Their success record, where they are located, and their reputation also factor into their charges. Here is what else you should know:
- Most lawyers bill on an hourly basis. If they must travel as part of your case, they may bill by the day rather than by the hour.
- Many lawyers charge a flat fee per case, particularly if the client is hiring them to review or draft a contract.
- Many lawyers require an upfront deposit, known as a retainer fee, before they begin working on a new client’s case.
- Some lawyers, particularly those who practice personal injury law, work on a contingency basis. This means that unless they obtain a jury award or settlement for their client, they do not charge a fee except for their out-of-pocket expenses. In the event of a successful outcome, their fee will be a percentage of the jury award or settlement.
- If you cannot afford any criminal defense lawyer, you can submit a request to the court for a public defender. They will likely require proof of your wages in order to confirm that you do not have the funds to pay for a lawyer on your own.
- When a client anticipates needing a lawyer on a regular and consistent basis, such as for providing legal guidance on policies and contracts, it may make more sense for the client to pay a monthly retainer. This is a monthly set fee.
- If you will not be able to pay the lawyer’s fees in full, ask if they will accept a payment plan.
To discuss your case with a criminal lawyer in Civic Center San Francisco, CA, contact a law firm today.
Thanks to Hallinan Law Firm for their insight into criminal law and why to hire a criminal defense lawyer.