What Is the Average Cost of a Criminal Defense Attorney?

Crime is an unfortunately common thing in most societies. Many crimes are minor infractions, such as petty larceny, while felonies are much more serious crimes and carry more serious sentences.

Despite what popular media might present, an estimated 90 percent or more of all criminal cases never reach trial in the US.

Even if a case never winds up in a trial, though, people charged with crimes will still need legal representation. If you’re in need of such legal representation, you may rightly wonder about the cost of a criminal defense attorney.

If so, keep reading for a quick overview of criminal defense lawyers and their fees.

What is a Criminal Defense Attorney?

One of the things that doctors and lawyers share is that they typically specialize in a particular area. Some lawyers focus on things like corporate law or tax law and generally represent businesses. A criminal defense lawyer will typically specialize in representing those accused or charged with a crime.

The role of a criminal defense attorney varies. They will often research a case, form a defense strategy, and represent you in hearings and during a trial, if one occurs. They will often look for ways to negotiate a reduced sentence with prosecutors as part of a plea bargain agreement.

Factors that Affect Criminal Defense Attorney Fees

A number of things can affect the overall criminal defense attorney costs you will pay. Some lawyers will use a flat-fee approach for common or easily resolved charges. The other, more common, approach is an hourly rate.

The costs can go up if the attorney feels they need an expert witness to testify on your behalf. The complexity of the case can also drive up the cost. If the case requires extensive research or involves gray areas in the law, for example, the time involved goes up along with the price.

Location is another factor that can push your overall bill up or down. A lawyer from a Manhattan law firm will likely charge more than a lawyer from a firm in Dayton, Ohio.

Average Cost of a Criminal Defense Attorney

Setting aside the various factor that can affect the price of your attorney, criminal defense attorneys charge an average of about $200/hour. You should know that even lawyers charging an hourly fee will often ask you for a retainer before they take you on as a client.

Criminal Defense Attorney Costs and You

Any time you brush up against the criminal legal system, it’s a good idea for you to secure representation from a criminal defense attorney. A decent lawyer will help ensure that no one violates your rights if nothing else.

Of course, it helps if you go in with a clear sense of the cost of a criminal defense attorney. While some lawyers will work on a flat-fee structure, you can expect to pay around $200 per hour for your lawyer.

Looking for more information about the law or legal representation? Check out the posts over in our Legal section.