Cost of Hiring a Lawyer
One of the first questions people ask before they hire an attorney is, what will it cost?
When you or a family member is charged with a criminal offense, it is critical to have an experienced lawyer by your side. But among the many worries you have after an arrest, the costs for an effective defense are a top concern.
It’s best to talk over costs with your lawyer before their work begins so you understand what the fees will be.
How Fees Vary
Several factors go into determining what a lawyer will charge:
- The attorney’s reputation and experience. If you hire a lawyer who is fresh out of law school your fee will less than if you hire one of Philadelphia’s best-known attorneys. If your lawyer is experienced in a particular area of the law, they will charge more.
- Complexity of your case. If your case is a simple misdemeanor, with only one court appearance, the cost will be lower than if your case is a serious felony.
- The time your case will take. Your lawyer may have to meet many times with prosecutors, spend long hours going over phone conversation recordings or videos, interview numerous witnesses or examine long transcripts. The lengthier the preparation time your case requires and the more court appearances, the higher your legal fees will be.
Your attorney will also add in costs that you will need to cover, such as charges for obtaining expert consultants or hearing transcripts.
Different Ways Lawyers Charge
In criminal defense, defendants are often billed by the hour. This means your attorney will charge you only for the actual time he or she spends working on your case.
An experienced attorney can give you a good idea up front of how many hours they expect they will spend on your case.
Your lawyer will probably ask you for a retainer that you will need to pay before his or her work actually begins. The retainer will be a down payment on the costs to come. When your attorney has worked the number of hours that will cover the amount of the retainer, they will bill you for the additional hours.
Lawyers will also charge a fixed fee instead of billing by the hour. For example, they may tell you it will cost a flat $2,000 for a DUI – no more or no less. With a fixed fee you will have no uncertainty about your legal bill and you will know exactly what it will cost.
Attorneys may combine both of these billing approaches by charging a client by the hour but setting a ceiling that the hourly billing can’t exceed.
Questions? Contact us today.
If you are arrested for a criminal offense, you need an experienced defense attorney who will charge you fairly. Fienman Defense provides skilled representation without inflated or duplicated fees. Your first consultation is free.