Understanding Criminal Attorney Fees

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When you need a criminal defense attorney, you need a criminal defense attorney.  You can’t possibly put a price on your freedom, or the freedom of your loved ones.  Having said that, the fact that you value freedom doesn’t mean you should let yourself get ripped off.  You owe it to yourself to find an attorney who is both a competent provider of legal services as well as a fair and compassionate human being.  In order to do that, you must first develop an understanding of how defense attorneys generally charge for their services, and what is considered a “fair price”.

For the most part, defense attorneys charge on an hourly basis.  The reason for this is that there is no real way to tell, in advance, how much time or effort will be involved in any given case.  After all, criminal defense work is, by its very nature, contentious.  And whenever there is dispute, there is always unpredictability, because you never know what the other side will do (in this case, we’re referring to the prosecutor).

Of course, as with anything in the legal industry, there are notable exceptions.  The most prominent exception to the hourly fee rule is DUI defense; that is, defending people who have been accused of driving under the influence of alcohol.  Another prominent exception is defending people for traffic tickets.  Finally, the third most common type of defense work that escapes the regiment of hourly fees is expungement, which is a fancy legal word for getting people’s criminal records to be sealed.  In all three of these cases, there is a common thread, which is that the case has a natural lifetime.  Whether the defense succeeds or fails, it will only take so long.  This shelf life, if you will, enables the lawyer to estimate (in the worst case scenario) how much time and effort will be involved, and as a result, the attorney is able to assign a flat fee price.

In another article, we will proceed to put some numbers onto this story in order to give you a better idea of how much attorneys charge for DUI defense, how much attorneys charge for fighting traffic tickets, and how much attorneys charge for expungement.

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