If you’re charged with a crime, one of the first issues you worry about is how much it will cost to hire a criminal defense attorney. Typically, expect to pay about $200 per hour for a defense lawyer’s services. Consider contacting Sean Fagan Criminal Defense Lawyer in Calgary, for help in navigating a driving charge or violent offense trial. 

Generally, the cost of a criminal defense lawyer can vary greatly depending on numerous variables. Simply put, you can pay as little as $100 or as much as $350 per hour. Plus, some attorneys may require a retainer, while others don’t mind a flat-fee arrangement- depending on the case’s circumstances. Let me walk you through some of the variables affecting the cost of a criminal defense attorney. 

1. Experience

It goes without saying that having an experienced criminal attorney in your corner counts when you are facing a criminal charge. And while the cost of hiring an attorney can be high, remember that your freedom may be at stake. The representative may cost a tidy penny, but an experienced lawyer is your best bet for a favorable outcome if you’re in a bind. 

A reputable criminal attorney will understand the law profoundly and knows how to navigate the court system. They will also be familiar with a prosecutor’s strategies and know-how to negotiate a plea deal effectively- if necessary. 

Also, a knowledgeable criminal lawyer can spot any constitutional violations that may have occurred during your arrest or detention. As you’ve probably noted, experience matters when choosing a criminal attorney. So, if you are facing criminal charges, hire an experienced attorney who can provide you with the best defense possible. 

2. Type of Case

The type of criminal case you are facing will also dictate the cost of your defense. A murder trial, for instance, is going to be more expensive than a DUI case. Why?

Typically, murder trials tend to be more complex and time-consuming than other types of criminal cases. They may involve a long-drawn court battle, multiple witnesses, and extensive pretrial preparation. 

Plus, a jury often tries violent offenses, which can add to the cost of your defense. If you are facing a murder charge, expect to pay on the high end of the spectrum for your criminal attorney. Besides, more serious crimes carry a greater risk of jail time, so a lawyer may charge more for such cases. 

On the flip side, DUI cases often involve a single witness (the arresting officer) and relatively little pretrial preparation. Also, DUI cases are almost always tried by a judge, saving you money on your defense. Here are some ballpark figures to give you an idea of the cost (retainer) of hiring a lawyer based on the type of case: 

  • Misdemeanor defense: $2,500 – $9,000.
  • Assault: $5,000 – $50,000.
  • Drug possession: $3,000 – $10,000.
  • Criminal trial: $20,000 or more.

3. Location

Lawyers in large cities tend to charge more than those in smaller towns due partly to the higher cost of living. In short, they incur higher overhead costs and may be more experienced in handling cases that go to trial.

What’s more, lawyers who practice in multiple states may command top dollar for their services as they have to maintain a law office in each state. Such costs are often passed on to the client. 

4. Jurisdiction 

The jurisdiction in which your case is tried is one of the primary variables impacting the cost of a criminal defense lawyer. For starters, federal courts have higher fees and costs than state courts. As a result, the cases in the former tend to be more expensive to defend. 

The type of court system in which your case is tried can also impact the cost of your defense. If you are facing a jury trial, expect to pay more for your lawyer than if you are facing a bench trial (a trial before a judge). 

5. Level of Communication 

When seeking legal assistance, be aware that you will be billed for all the time an attorney spends working on your case. This includes time spent in meetings, telephone calls, and email correspondence. While some lawyers may offer a free initial consultation, expect to be charged for any subsequent sessions. 

If you have questions about how your lawyer will be billing you, ask for a detailed explanation. Remember that effective communication is key to maintaining a good relationship with your attorney. By being upfront about your budget and expectations, you can ensure the criminal defense lawyer you hire meets your legal needs.

By Manali

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