How Much Does a Criminal Defense Lawyer Cost on Average?

Criminal Defense Lawyer

Are you facing a weighty charge that could carry multiple years in prison? Perhaps you’re facing a minor business dispute.

You may be wondering, “how much does a criminal defense lawyer cost?” 

You could pay hundreds of dollars per hour. The overall cost will spend on various factors, such as the criminal defense attorney experience and the region you live in.

Also, the resources needed to strengthen your case will factor into the cost. This article will explain the legal costs in greater detail. Let’s explore. 

The Average Cost

Overall, you could pay anywhere between $150 to $700 per hour for the services of a defense attorney. With that, you could pay thousands of dollars in criminal lawyer fees. In many cases, attorney fees can hover between $10,000 and $15,000.

The Fee Structure

In most cases, a defense attorney will require a retainer. A retainer is an upfront sum needed before the lawyer will perform services for the client.

The retainer confirms that the client is serious about the attorney-client agreement. You’ll receive an agreement outlining the defense attorney cost, in addition to the attorney’s services. 

The retainer is a portion of the total representation cost. With that, the overall cost may change as your case proceeds. If your retainer fund runs low, you must refill it to continue the attorney-client relationship. 

Instead of a retainer, other lawyers may require a contingency fee. This fee will derive from monetary awards you receive from a court judgment. Therefore, you’ll pay nothing if an attorney fails to win your case. 

Crime Severity

Criminal lawyer fees also depend on the nature of the offense. Severe offenses will cost more than minor ones.

  • Example: A lawyer may charge between $2,000 to $3,500 for a first-degree misdemeanor charge.

Lawyers will typically charge more first-degree misdemeanors offense because you could receive jail time and a hefty fine. On the other hand, lawyer fees are more expensive for felonies.

  • Example: A third-degree felony can come with a charge of between $3,500 to $10,000. A third-degree charge typically comes with up to five years in prison and a $5,000 fine. 

Serious felonies (i.e. first-degree and second-degree felonies) can cost tens of thousands of dollars. 

Variable Factors

One variable boils down to the attorney. A less experienced attorney will usually charge less than an experienced one. Attorneys with the best track record of winning cases will charge more.

  • Note: Hiring the least expensive attorney is tempting. However, you’ll want an experienced attorney who can get your charges reduced or eliminated.  

A seasoned attorney typically has more time and resources to devote to your case. These resources may include:

  • Investigative experts 
  • Lab technicians
  • Psychologists
  • Legal teams

Outside experts and counsel usually come with their own fees. They may also charge per hour.  Click here for more information on why you need a veteran attorney by your side.

How Much Does a Criminal Defense Lawyer Cost in My Area?

Speak to several local attorneys to know the criminal cost in your area. Many attorneys offer free consultations. Even though attorneys come with expensive rates, many offer payment plans that allow clients to pay in chapters. 

You may also wonder, “how much does a criminal defense lawyer cost your state?” The answer still depends on each lawyer. Regardless of the expense, hiring a competent lawyer is the best way to get the desired outcome.

Interested in learning more? Read more on our blog to gain insight into other legal topics.