How Much Should Good Criminal Defense Cost in California?

A person can be charged with different criminal offenses. These are infractions, misdemeanors, and felonies. In light of these, such an offender will require an attorney to represent him or her throughout the trial process until conviction. This is mostly because, with an attorney, there are higher chances of a better outcome.

A good attorney not only knows how to win a case (or help you get restitution for wrongful conviction), but they will also have extensive experience in criminal law.

The rates at which California lawyers charge their clients vary depending on the following:

  1. The sort of offense charged

The legal fees charged will vary depending on the offense charged and the penalties that such an offense attracts. For instance, felony cases will attract a higher legal bill as compared to a misdemeanor or infraction charge.

  1. The level of experience of the attorney in that field

A lawyer who has specialized in a specific matter and has more experience in it will charge more than the ordinary attorney who practices the law broadly.

  1. The complexity of the case at hand

Some cases are more complex and require more time before completion, and such cases will attract a higher legal bill.

Types of Fee Arrangements

The State Bar of California outlines the following sorts of fee arrangements used by attorneys. They include:

  1. Fixed or Standard Fee

This is mostly used for routine legal matters such as making wills. It is advisable that before settling on this, you confirm what it entails. According to Legal Match, the average cost of a criminal defense attorney is 8,000 USD, with the prices ranging between 1,000 o 15,000 USD. A misdemeanor charge may attract a 1,500 to 3,500 USD flat fee. Where such an offense proceeds to trial, the fee expected will be 3,000 to 5,000 USD. In cases where the offense is a felony with a high chance of settling without trial, the expected fee ranges from 3,000 to 6,000 USD. But where the felony is likely to proceed to trial, the flat fee charged will be approximately 10,000 to 20,000 USD. Lastly, in serious charges where life imprisonment is a possibility, such as murder, the flat fee to be charged is above 40,000 USD.

  1. Hourly Fee

An hourly rate is sometimes used where agreed to by both parties. It is important to inquire how long your case will take to estimate your total costs as a client. According to CostHelper, the average hourly rate is between 100 to 300 USD. However, it is heavily dependent on the lawyer’s ability and expertise, with some charging as high as 250 to 750 USD per hour.

  1. Retainer Fee

A retainer is mostly used when the client wants to ensure that the attorney takes up any case when requested. The lawyer on retainer is an ‘on-call’ lawyer and is available to the client over the retainer’s time.

  1. Contingency Fee

This fee is mostly used in personal injury, accidents, or other legal cases where someone is being sued. The contingency fee is normally a certain percentage of the attorney’s money after settling the matter.

  1. Statutory Fees

This is the fee that is set out in statutes such as probate matters. The court dictates or rather approves the fee to be paid.

Legal fee agreements exceeding 1000 USD must be in writing. As stated in the State Bar of California, there is no specific legal fee for criminal defense lawyers. It is up to both the lawyer and client to agree based on the specific case at hand. Whether you need help with a DUI expungement or something as trivial as illegal cow flatulence, our legal fees at Criminal Defense Heroes, P.C., are carefully calculated to reflect the results we achieve for our clients. Call us now at (323)529-3660 for a quotation of the best legal services in the state.

The DUI Attorney Don Hammond


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