How Much Do Criminal Defense Attorneys Charge For Criminal Cases

While researching a criminal defense attorney for your matter, an important consideration may be cost and how the attorney or law firm charges for criminal cases.

How Do Criminal Defense Attorneys Determine Fees?

Criminal defense attorneys will typically handle a case on a flat fee basis although it may be possible to have an hourly fee basis depending on the attorney and circumstances.

What a criminal attorney will charge for your case and how those charges are determined are generally based on the following:

  1. If your case is a misdemeanor or a felony
  2. The complexity of your case & the expected time that will need to be devoted to the case.
  3. Attorney or firm experience in handling this particular type of case
  4. Hourly fee x estimated number of hours worked on a case

Why Do Felonies Cost More Than Misdemeanors?

Felony cases will typically have more court appearances, be more complex in terms of evidence and can be more difficult to negotiate with prosecutors than misdemeanor offenses.

Are Multiple Criminal Charges More Expensive Than One Charge?

Attorneys will make a determination of whether all the charges against a client can be handled together or not.

For example, a DUI is typically charged as a violation of both Vehicle Code 23152(a) & 23152(b).

In this instance, the attorney can handle both charges together and an additional fee is not charged.

If the defendant was charged in multiple courthouses than additional fees will be required since court appearances will be required in different places.

How Do Attorneys Determine How Much Time Is Spent On A Case?

Attorneys will make a best guess estimate of time involved in a case based on the following:

  • Facts of the case.
  • How reasonable or unreasonable judges in a given courthouse may be.
  • Relationship with prosecutors in a given courthouse.
  • An estimate of time spent analyzing and reviewing the evidence.
  • Circumstances of the case which may require filing motions on behalf of the defendant.

How Important is Experience in a Case?

Experience allows an attorney to identify the imperative facts in a criminal case. These imperative facts allow the attorney to highlight which details in the case can be beneficial and which need to be explained and how to explain them.

What Is The Advantage Of Flat Fee Billing?

The advantage in charging a flat fee is that you know that you will not be charged additional fees and that the fee will not change regardless of how many hours the attorney spends on the case.

There may be other costs, however, for retaining investigators or experts in matters like a DUI or drug cases where chemical analysis and test results may need to be challenged.

What is the Payment Structure in Hourly fee Billing?

In an hourly fee case, the client will pay an initial retainer and the attorney will use a trust account where the fees will be deposited.

As the attorney or firm bills for its time, the fees are drawn from the trust account with a billing statement sent to the client on a monthly basis.

When the trust account fees are near zero or approach a certain amount, the client must pay an additional amount into the account based on a negotiated amount of time to be spent on a case.

Complex matters such as financial crimes or homicide may require the retention of numerous experts to explain accounting practices or policy or to challenge police procedures such as handling of evidence, blood or breath test results, and other evidence.

Expert and investigator fees are paid separately from the legal fees and may be charged hourly as well.

If experts testify at trial, they will charge their own fee depending on how long they are in court, whether testifying or not.

Why Hire An Experienced Criminal Defense Attorney Vs. A General Practitioner

Criminal defense attorneys are more aware of what elements of your case may be missing key evidence, are adept at planting reasonable doubt in the minds of prosecutors and jurors and in presenting challenges and arguments that a general practitioner is less likely to pursue.

They are also more experienced in plea negotiations and in presenting alternative dispositions, which may save clients money on classes or required programs and fines.

Next Steps If You Need Help

If you would like to discuss a pending case with an attorney contact the Aizman Law Firm at 818-351-9555 for a free confidential consultation.

10 comments

Hello,

Thank you for a well developed and easy to navigate website experience where I was able to quickly gather the information I needed without having to call for a consultation. I took the test for expungement and received a score of 101.1. I have a misdemeanor vandalism conviction and have served 1 year and 8 months of the 3 year probation period that I was sentenced to. I have not had any violations of probation, had completed all court requirements prior to sentencing (36 hours anger management classes, AA meetings 3x/week, payment of restitution and court fines) which can be verified by a review of the minute order for my case.

As many do, I have been having an extremely hard time getting a job because of the vandalism conviction and so I am interested to find out what the cost would be to request early termination of probation along with a request for expungement. If you could contact me via email or phone with the cost I could expect to pay, I would greatly appreciate it. Just so you know, I have been unemployed since July 16, 2015, and am only able to support myself because I receive Cal-Fresh and Cal-Works benefits and because my mom has been paying my rent for over a year.

Prior to this incident, I had no criminal history or any type of problems with the law. Because my experience was non-existent, I now believe that I should not have accepted the plea bargain that I did because I did not realize the severity of a vandalism conviction in the State of CA. However, that is neither here nor there as my mom would say. I also read that an expungement does not preclude me from the requirement of disclosing criminal history when applying for State Licensure (teaching/administrative credentials and life insurance licenses are my two areas of interest). And I definitely did not realize that was true at the time I was offered the plea bargain. I believe I would have been better served if I had taken the court to trial for my original charges, but again, that does not serve me in this moment.

I thank you in advance for your assistance in my quest to best move forward from this conviction.

My friend was charged with a felony assault and was set for probation. He did not appear to a progress court and had another court the same day for controlled substance. He was again arrested for those 2 bench warrants and is now being charged with another case of assault! what are the consequences he is looking at?

Hi Landy: The answer to your question depends heavily on the court of jurisdiction and the Judge sitting in that court. Judges have a wide range of discretion on how to handle a probation violation. I suggest contacting an attorney in the county where the case is being heard for the most accurate advice.

I was arrested for dui a couple nights ago, and I have a cdl. How bad are things looking for me?

Hi Jason: I’m sorry to hear that. Please give us a call tomorrow to discuss your particular case and the options available to you.

I was arrested for using my tax ID to get a car. I returned the car and got my down payment back and a month later they kicked down my door and arrested me. For using my information

Hello! I was pulled over by a police officer for swerving. He asked me if I had been drinking or doing drugs/medication. I said no to both and told him that I don’t do either or am not on any meds. that made me drowsy. He insisted that I was on one or the other. I told him that I didn’t feel good etc. light-headed, perspiring, left eye drooping. I told him that I thought it could be diabetes because I was having the same symptoms for about a week and a half and finally caught up with my PC doctor for an appt. Diabetes runs in my family and I had symptoms that led me to believe that I may have had diabetes as well. Then the officer called the paramedics and they said that I was lethargic but blood was fine. After the paramedics left the officer had me walk the 9 steps and turn and do all the things to see if I was sober. My eyes didn’t open as widely as he wanted and I twitched and rocked a lot because of my autism, so I’m sure I didn’t pass the flashlight test. Anyway, after telling me several times that his training told him that I had alcohol in my system he said that I was being arrested and would go to jail. He had my car towed away even after he told me that someone needed to come and pick it up. Anyway, when I was at the CHP station he continued to test me because he could not make up his mind about whether I was intoxicated or not. I finally took the breath test, but don’t know if I passed because he didn’t tell me. I’m assuming that I passed because he changed his training line to knowing that I had been using narcotics. I was taken to the hospital for blood work and all the while I kept telling him that I didn’t have anything illegal or medication in my system. After a few hours at the hospital they took me to jail. I was fingerprinted and photographed. When I was released from custody I went to my doctor and told her what happened. I found out that my blood was negative for everything like I said in the first place. I was tested for something else that is most likely the culprit of why I was feeling bad when I got stopped and arrested. (Nothing illegal but personal) Will I still get blamed for DUI if I had no trace of alcohol or drugs in my blood?

I’m so sorry you went through all of that. Typically, if the blood comes back and is negative for all substances, the prosecutor will decline to file charges. However, there may be a need to take some steps first depending on how the officer handled the arrest. You should contact an experienced defense attorney in your county to discuss the specifics of your case.

Last night 11/13/2019 around 2 am I was pulled over with three of my friends in the car. I was unfamiliar with the area since it was in Upland and I live in Walnut but I was picking up some friends from the bar and had turned out left across an open median section and did not see the no turn left sign since it was dark, I was unfamiliar and I was behind a car in front of me who had also made a left turn there to get to the lane on the other side of the median . When the car in front of me turned out it was right before a cop had passed by and I turned out right after . I was hopping on the freeway to head back to Walnut area since that’s where we all live and I was stopped by the officer who had passed right before I turned , the officer had sped up , made a u-turn and raced to pull me over right before the freeway. He was in training from another officer during the stop and he had asked if I knew why he pulled me over , I answered that it had to be the left turn I made out of the complex & he insisted there was a no turn left sign . He asked where we were coming from and I stated the bar since I was picking my friends up from there. He began to have me follow his finger with my eyes which I did so and soon had me step out after collecting my info and registration/proof of insurance. He had me sit on the bumper of the police car while my friends waited in the car and asked if I had been drinking At the bar , I answered no . He was being instructed by the training officer what to do and had jumped all around leaving his questioning and procedure not smooth in the process. He had me do a series of tests to prove I wasn’t drunk driving which I cooperated with, I didn’t fail or have to redo any of the tests that they were asking me to perform and I didn’t think I didn’t to either since I wasn’t drunk . I had had one small sip about 20 mins before I went to get my friends due to stress at home . However when it came to the end after I passed all the tests in my opinion , they insisted on me taking a breathalyzer test and told me I don’t have a choice since I am under 21 and I cooperated and said okay . However , they made me repeat the test repeatedly which leads me to believe and think it was faulty because like I said I wasn’t drunk . However the officer training the other had gotten mad the breathalyzer wasn’t giving them I’m guessing the reading they were wanting being positive & became irritated and raised his voice a little instructing me to blow as hard as I could and hold my breath in a forceful voice. I did and they would step away and not show me the reading . They did that with all of the readings and in the end didn’t even tell me my reading at all . The officer training told the trainee “you could do what you wanna do” and that’s when the trainee told me to put my hands behind my back , he didnt tell me I was under arrest nor did he tell me my reading which wasn’t very professional in my opinion . They stated to me once I was in the backseat of the cop car, one of my friends I had picked up from the bar was going to drive my car home . Never once did they state to me my BAC level or that I was under arrest until I was in the car already. They also found an ID on me which wasn’t mine and I expressed to them I was suppose mail it back because I live down the street from a post office off of Lemon Ave, the ID was found I believe at 7-11 a couple days ago , maybe 4-5 if I had to estimate . They took the ID and said they would mail it back, I thanked them for that. It was found in Monrovia area where one of my friends live and me and a group of friends were visiting. They went ahead and made me take more breathalyzer tests which the cop who was training began to get frustrated in which I believe was because they were not getting the reading they were trying to book me for and/or it wasn’t registering a specific amount they were looking for in my system. They filled out more paperwork and transferred me to San Bernardino County Sheriff Department and held me in a cell for around 6 hours. I got released and they gave me a court date to attend/pink citation. I believe the breathalyzer was false reading because I was not drunk and didn’t feel intoxicated in any way. I also feel the deputy who was training the other wanted to make sure he had something pinned on me due to the fact he was training the other deputy and it would’ve made for experience. Another deputy on site even stated to my friends waiting in my car that I seemed fine and he would’ve even let me go.

My father restrained his girlfriend of 5 years when she broke items in the house, threw chairs at him and was having a breakdown. He restrined her by her arms and wrists and she called the police which they seen the bruises and arrested him. He didnt mean her any harm and wanted to calm her. She wants the no contact order removed but she doesnt have money for a lawyer to file this motion and she wants the charges dropped! My father has a clean record but Florida is a tough state for domestic violence. Any advice? He doesnt deserve to go to jail and they both love each other and wish they could start that day over again. Im scared the prosecutor wants to throw the book at him. He only had arraignment the day after the arrest and the court appointed lawyer still hasnt called him back!

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