When it comes to criminal cases, the ramifications of being convicted are both serious and have the potential to be extremely punitive. The justice system affords everyone the right to legal counsel but you may be curious about how these legal experts structure their fees. Read on for an overview of what to expect in terms of legal fees to your attorney.
By the Case
Some attorneys will quote you a flat fee to handle your case—from start to finish. For example, an attorney might charge you a flat fee of $2,000, regardless of how much time they spend on the case. This fee structure allows you to budget for your defense because there are no unknowns to deal with. Be sure to find out whether or not the flat fee includes trial services. Since cases that go to trial can cost more, some attorneys limit their flat fee services to pretrial services. The downside of flat fee billing is when your case resolves quickly. For example, you might be offered a plea, which ends the case quickly. If so, you might pay for services that you end up not needing after all. Most attorneys don't give refunds but ask your attorney about their policy.
By the Hour
This form of billing can be more expensive, but not necessarily. Cases can vary greatly in complexity, and simple and fast cases that can be settled quickly won't incur as much in fees as flat fee arrangements. In addition to the hourly fees, most attorneys also charge for miscellaneous expenses like subpoenas, printing, shipping, parking, etc. Often, attorneys can provide you with an estimate of hours your case might take to be resolved. If your case is more complex, your bill might get out of hand pretty quickly. Read on to find out about some factors that influence the cost of legal services.
Factors That Influence Legal Costs
1. Experience – Newly minted attorneys who are trying to build up their reputations may offer lower prices than more experienced attorneys. Keep in mind that you are getting what you pay for and new attorney who charge hourly rates may take longer to make things happen.
2. Complexity – Felony cases that hold the potential for incarceration and other strong sentences may incur higher legal fees. Cases that call for more preparation, appearances, research, and so on will cost more to litigate.
3. Location – Legal costs will vary from one area of the country to another. Additionally, if an attorney has to travel a distance to and from a courthouse or to consult with you, it costs more.
The best way to find out what to expect in terms of fees is to consult with several attorneys. Speak to a criminal attorney about your case today.