When looking for an attorney, keep in mind that you will have a limited time to shop around for an attorney. You may need to schedule appointments with various lawyers, while you will have that important court date quickly approaching.
Can I Get a Free Public Defender?
Following Miranda v. Arizona, the Miranda Warning has been an often quoted phrase during an arrest. The warning states a lawyer can be appointed for the defendant. A caveat to this is that a court-appointed lawyer has an income requirement. You will need to check the local requirements to see if you qualify. If you do qualify, the public defender likely will not be able to mount a sufficient defense to have a fair chance for an acquittal or give you the best opportunity to mitigate the potential penalties.
Can I Just Pay Contingency Fees?
Many times on television or other forms of media, you may hear or see advertisements for class action lawsuits. These may include personal injury or wrongful death attorneys advertising their services. These types of lawyers can offer contingency fees. These fees are only paid if the case is successful and then a percentage of the settlement will be paid to the law firm. These are civil attorneys, but criminal attorneys do not offer contingency fees. The lawyer, almost without exception, will require to be paid in advance and you will still have to pay for the attorney regardless of the outcome.
Many Lawyers Charge by the Hour.
One typical form of billing in a criminal case is hourly billing. According to legalmatch.com, you can expect to pay $150 to $700 per hour for most attorneys. This hourly fee usually will not include the cost of additional witnesses, a paralegal or investigator fees, or other minor expenses. The defendant will need to factor those fees into the cost. If the case is settled quickly, this can be a benefit of hiring a lawyer by the hour, but if trial becomes lengthy the cost can skyrocket.
You May Want to Pay a Flat Fee.
Another method of hiring a criminal lawyer is by a flat fee or case billing. According to thumbtack.com, the cost of a theft case can be from $750 to $10,000. An advantage for a flat fee or case billing is knowing the cost of the attorney up front, but if the trial is concluded quickly the defendant may feel they have overpaid.
Make Sure You Consider All Other Major Cost Factors to Make a Quick but Informed Decision
You will need to determine the complexity of the case, the criminal lawyer’s experience, and the court’s geographical location, which can all affect the cost. You will need to make important decisions in a short amount of time. Depending on how much you can spend, you can retain an experienced attorney and give you a full legal representation. Make sure you have all the pertinent information before making a life-changing decision.