How Much Does a Criminal Attorney Cost?
Whether you are facing a misdemeanor or felony, being charged with a serious crime demands serious help. Hiring an experienced attorney to defend you is the first step in settling your case. Before choosing a lawyer, it’s important to understand the financial responsibility involved. Whether you are hiring a sex offender attorney in Houston or a criminal attorney, here are the few financial policies your attorney may observe.
Many attorneys choose to bill their clients by the amount of time spent working on their case. Usually, there is a set hourly amount tracked to determine how much will be paid. If your case is easy to resolve or won’t take a lot of time, hourly billing is an advantageous financial policy. If your case ends up taking longer than expected, though, you may find yourself paying more than you originally expected. Usually, experienced defense attorneys estimate how much time a case will require before taking on a new client. This gives both the client and the attorney a better idea of what to expect financially.
If your attorney doesn’t use an hourly billing method, they may have a case billing plan in place. This type of financial policy sets a fee for specific types of cases. For example, a lawyer may charge $1,600 for a DUI case. This means that you would pay the designated amount and no more. There are both advantages and disadvantages to case billing. If your case is complicated, it may cost you less to pay a lump sum than to pay by the hour. In the event that your case is easy to solve, you could end up paying a hefty premium for only a few hours of work. If your attorney does offer a case billing plan, it’s important to ask if there are any other charges that may be incurred. Many attorneys don’t include the pretrial phase of the case in their original lump sum. In the event that your case does go to trial, will your case billing amount cover the trial proceedings? By asking these questions ahead of time, you avoid any miscommunication or surprise charges.
A lot of attorneys require their clients to pay a retainer fee before choosing to represent them. For example, if an attorney charges $400 per hour, they may require $4,000 to be paid up front as a retainer. This guarantees 20 hours of work. The attorney then provides a detailed statement displaying how each hour of that time was spent. If more time is needed to complete the case, an additional agreement will be reached to ensure that the attorney is compensated for their time and energy.
Most criminal attorneys do not work on a contingency basis. A contingency fee means that your attorney doesn’t collect any money unless you are awarded a cash settlement in your case. Their fee is then subtracted from your awarded amount. Because most criminal cases don’t end in monetary compensation, criminal attorneys don’t usually bill this way.
No matter how your criminal defense attorney in Houston, TX, decides to bill you for your case, it’s worth it. An experienced attorney increases your chances of winning your case.