Key Facts About the Cost of Legal Representation

Those accused of crimes will inevitably need to hire a criminal defense lawyer. For most criminal matters, the stakes can be high. Depending on the charges, being convicted of a crime can bring about considerable changes to your life. Lawyers help clients get out of jail, deal with plea bargains, prepare their case for trial, and represent clients in court. All that work costs money and it's helpful to learn about what to expect with legal fees. Lawyers tend to set their fees using two methods. 

Flat Fee Per Case

In most cases, you get more for your money by paying a single fee for certain services. Certain kinds of legal matters are more routine than others. There may only be a limited amount of legal actions necessary to help a client when a flat fee structure is appropriate. For example, if you are charged with driving under the influence (DUI), the flat fee will typically cover things like representation at all hearings, advice about issues like plea bargains, trial preparation, and trial representation. Before the lawyer offers you a flat fee agreement, they will review the case and evaluate the level of work required. The agreement will state what the lawyer will do for you and what they will not do. In some cases, the representation will be limited to certain actions. Some flat fee agreements only cover help up to the plea bargain. Since most cases end with a plea bargain, that would be a good option for some. If there are other potential charges, the agreement should state that. Be sure to read and understand what is and what is not included in the flat fee agreement.

Per Hour Fees

Some lawyers will charge you hourly for legal services. Some types of cases call for hourly fees, which are often the more complicated ones. That category might include cases of felony charges like rape, murder, or other serious crimes. These types of cases tend to last longer, require more court appearance, call for a lot of background investigations, and are just more time-consuming for lawyers to handle. With hourly fees, you might have to pay some money up front to get the case started. That money is known as a retainer. Once the hourly fees have used up the retainer, you will be billed for additional hours. The fee agreement will state the hourly rate and what to expect with the billing. You should be able to get an idea of what your fees might total at the end of the case.

Your case, your criminal record, the area of the country you're in, and more influence legal fees. Some companies, like, know that the best way to find out about your own fees is to speak to a criminal law attorney.