Understanding Criminal Defense Attorney Costs
According to a 2019 study, the average cost of a criminal defense attorney in the US is around $8,000, with prices varying between $1,000 and $15,000. However, discussing averages is not necessarily the best way to determine how much a defense attorney will cost you. Unfortunately, costs vary because crime and personal interest vary. For example, you can have a law firm that is geared to affluent clients and their attorneys charge several hundred dollars per billable hour, but you can have a small law firm with equally experienced and capable lawyers who only charge about $100 per hour. Although, again, understanding the costs depends on several variables.
Alleged Crime and Fees
One of the major components in determining costs is the crime being charged. For example, lawyers who charge a flat fee will often charge less for misdemeanor crimes and more for felony charges. For example, a simple misdemeanor might only cost between $1,500 and $3,500, depending on the lawyer, but a felony charge that is bound to go to trial might cost between $10,000 and $20,000. Although, keep in mind that is the averages for a flat fee attorney. Lawyers who charge hourly can be more expensive or fall somewhere in the middle, but it is necessary to point out that hourly attorneys will also charge for surplus expenses, like investigators and expert witnesses. Therefore, it is essential that you read the attorney-client agreement and understand all potential charges and costs before signing.
When facing a possible criminal conviction with little money, money defendants entertain the idea of self-representation, especially for misdemeanors. However, this is typically always advised against. If you are like any other average Joe or Jane, then you do not know the first thing about presenting a legal defense, which means that you can potentially open yourself up to a slew of legal issues, possibly earning yourself a harsher sentence than if you had hired an attorney. Also, if you are in a financial bind, then you can request a public defender, and despite negative stereotypes, these attorneys are capable and do care about their clients.
Criminal trials are expensive, and hiring a private attorney can be equally so. However, do not think that you need to hire the costliest attorney on the block to get a proper defense. Lower priced attorneys and even public defenders are often competent, capable and talented. If you have been arrested and need legal representation, then contact a criminal defense attorney in DC to discuss your options.
Thanks to The Law Firm of Frederick J. Brynn, P.C. for their insight into criminal law and understanding defense attorney costs.