Criminal Defense Attorney
A conviction requires proof and the belief that beyond a reasonable doubt the defendant is guilty of the crime being charged. However, a conviction also relies on the opinions of twelve strangers, which is why, when facing a criminal conviction, you want a competent attorney on your side. Unfortunately, many lawyers are expensive, and with fees ranging between $150 and $700 an hour, most defendants cannot afford superior counsel. Fortunately, price is not finite, meaning that several factors contribute to the final quoted costs.
Felony or Misdemeanor
The first contributing factor to price is the criminal charge. Are you accused of a misdemeanor or a felony? If a felony, is it a violent crime? The level of the charge determines the amount of work and time a lawyer must put into your defense. Therefore, a misdemeanor drug charge likely costs less than felony assault or murder.
Every defendant also has a right to counsel, which includes those people who cannot afford it. However, to qualify for a free representation provided by the state, you must meet certain financial thresholds. Although, you may also seek representation from legal clinics or aid programs if you do not meet the requirements for a public defender.
Every attorney has their personal fee structure and their own way of charging those fees. Some attorneys bill by the hour while others charge a flat rate. The attorney you choose depends on the charge and suspected trial length. For lengthier and tougher criminal cases, a flat fee structure is likely the most beneficial options, but in misdemeanor cases, there may be little difference in cost between either structure.
For significant criminal offenses and trials, an attorney will probably require the support of expert witnesses for your defense. The experts may cost anywhere from $300 to $2,000 or more depending on their contribution to your defense.
Your defense may also require the help of private investigators and the request of many legal and professional documents, which costs money. Again, the more significant the contribution or need often equates to higher costs.
Settlement or Trial
Last, the ultimate costs of an attorney depends on the level of commitment. Working with prosecutors to settle outside of court proceedings is far more affordable and less time-consuming than arguing at trial.
The final cost of a criminal defense attorney varies, and it depends on all the factors listed above, possibly more. Therefore, if you need a lawyer for criminal defense in DC, contact a law firm and discuss your options.
Thanks to The Law Firm of Frederick J. Brynn, P.C. for their insight into criminal defense and how much an attorney costs.