Criminal Defense Attorneys: Factors Behind The Fees

18 February 2016
 Categories: , Blog


Shortly after being arrested and charged with a crime, most people begin focusing on obtaining the best defense possible. After all, your very freedom may be at state.

After calling a few local defense attorneys, most defendants notice that criminal defense attorney rates vary greatly—sometimes by an order of magnitude. This frustrates many defendants, who understandably feel like attorneys are just throwing darts at a board to determine their fees.

But in actuality, most of this variation in fees can be explained by a handful of criteria. By understanding these basic factors involved in attorney pricing, you can get an idea of the fees you can expect to pay.  

The Nature of the Case

The crimes with which you are charged play a large role in determining the fees your attorney will require. This means that in most cases, your defense will cost more if you are charged with a felony, rather than a misdemeanor. Additionally, the number of crimes with which you are charged strongly influences the associated cost.   

The Complexity of the Case

Simply put, some court cases are relatively simple and others are incredibly complex. Generally speaking, the more complex your case is, the more your defense will cost. If your case only requires minimal pretrial preparation and a single day in court, your defense attorney will charge you much less than if your case required extensive preparation and a lengthy trial.

Your Attorney's Track Record

While the nature of the charges and complexity of the case both influence the quantity of legal representation you require, your attorney's track record and professional reputation are the most important factors influencing the hourly rate he or she charges.

Attorneys who have yet to accumulate a great deal of experience, or who have only recently begun specializing in a given type of law usually charge lower fees than those at the opposite end of the spectrum. However, one caveat is that attorneys who practice a very narrow category of law—for example, DUI defense—are sometimes capable of becoming so efficient at their craft, that they can be profitable while charging relatively low rates, despite their expertise.

Geographic Considerations

Even when all other factors are the same, geographic details will strongly influence the cost of your defense. A defense attorney in Manhattan is going to cost more than one who works in a small town, simply because rent and other business expenses will be much higher.

Additionally, if your attorney must travel extensively while preparing your case, he or she is likely to require reimbursement for these expenses. 

Contact various attorneys, such as Thomas A Corletta, to find the right criminal lawyer to fit your specific situation.