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How Much Does a Criminal Defense Attorney Cost?
When it comes to retaining legal counsel for a criminal case in Los Angeles, one of the most common questions asked is how much does a criminal defense attorney cost? Cost is a major deciding factor for many people in need of a defense attorney, and for good reason. Attorney fees can be costly, and many people don’t know how to determine whether an attorney’s fees are reasonable, which is why it is a good idea to schedule consultations with several attorneys before making a decision about who to hire.
The outcome of your criminal case can be life-changing, and you need an experienced attorney on your side who can provide you with the best legal representation at a fair price. To learn more about how much it will cost to hire a defense attorney for your criminal case, schedule a consultation with our seasoned attorneys at Perlman & Cohen today.
How Much Can I Expect to Pay?
If you are in need of a Los Angeles criminal defense attorney, you are probably wondering how much you can expect to pay. By learning some basic facts about the cost of legal representation and how criminal defense attorneys charge before meeting with prospective attorneys, you can be sure to ask the right questions about pricing and get the answers you need to make the best decision for your case.
Flat Fee vs. Hourly Rate Agreements
It is important that you have a clear understanding of what you will be expected to pay before you commit to hiring a defense attorney to represent you in your criminal case. Many Los Angeles criminal defense attorneys charge a flat or fixed fee while others charge an hourly rate, and knowing the differences between these two free structures is crucial.
If your attorney charges a flat rate legal fee, you will pay a fixed amount of money for each stage of the case, regardless of the amount of time it takes to complete the necessary work. In Los Angeles, the typical fixed rate for a criminal defense attorney is between $1,500 and $3,000 for a misdemeanor charge, or upwards of $5,000 if going to trial is a possibility, and between $3,000 and $6,000 for a felony charge, or upwards of $15,000, if going to trial is a possibility.
In some cases, however, an hourly rate agreement may be more favorable, especially for clients facing minor charges that typically would not require a great deal of work on the attorney’s part. The average hourly rate for a criminal defense attorney in Los Angeles is between $150 and $300 per hour. By agreeing to pay your criminal defense attorney an hourly rate, you may be able to minimize your financial exposure if your case is not a complicated one.
You may have heard of some attorneys being paid on a contingency basis, which means they don’t collect compensation unless they recover money for their client. This type of payment agreement generally does not apply to criminal cases, since criminal defendants don’t recover money at the end of the case.
How Rates are Calculated
Quality Los Angeles criminal defense attorneys have specialized knowledge of criminal law matters and therefore have a great deal of discretion when deciding what to charge for their services. That being said, attorneys have an ethical obligation to charge fees that are fair and reasonable. The following are some examples of factors that may come into play when an attorney calculates his rates for legal representation. Considering these same factors can help you determine whether an attorney’s fees are reasonable:
- The attorney’s experience in criminal defense
- The attorney’s education and training
- The attorney’s record of success defending criminal cases like yours
- The type of pricing structure
- The complexity of the criminal case
- The average attorney fee in the area
- The time and skill required to represent you
Other Legal Fees You May be Responsible For
In addition to paying for your attorney’s time, you may also encounter other costs associated with your legal representation, such as filing fees, investigator fees, expert witness fees, and more. Some attorneys require clients to pay money up front in the form of a retainer, from which the attorney will draw to pay for legal fees and expenses related to the client’s legal matter.
The bottom line is that the amount you can expect to pay for a Los Angeles criminal defense attorney depends on the attorney you choose and the specific facts of your case. As noted above, complex felony cases tend to cost more than minor misdemeanors because of the simple fact that complex felony cases will require more work on the attorney’s part. You can also expect to pay more if you go to trial than if your case is resolved without going to court.
Why We Offer a Free Consultation
Because no two criminal cases are the same and every client’s needs are different, there is no way to predict exactly how much it will cost to hire a criminal defense attorney in Los Angeles. That is why we offer a free consultation to clients considering our legal services, so we can review the basic circumstances of their case and lay out our pricing structure. To learn more about what our criminal defense attorneys charge and how we can help you fight the charges against you, contact Perlman & Cohen today to schedule a free case evaluation.
Contact Perlman & Cohen for Qualified Legal Help
If you are facing a serious legal issue like an arrest or criminal charge in Los Angeles, hiring a knowledgeable criminal defense attorney can be invaluable. Having an experienced attorney fighting on your behalf can have a significant impact on the outcome of your case, and the sooner you find the best criminal defense attorney, the better your chances of beating the charges and moving on with your life.
To learn more about our proven record of success defending criminal cases in Los Angles and throughout Southern California, contact our defense team at Perlman & Cohen today.