How much does a criminal defense attorney cost?
Being charged with a crime can be a scary process. You have to deal with the embarrassment of being arrested and the aftermath of putting your life back together. That’s all before you consider the costs of hiring a defense attorney.
The severity and classification of your criminal offense will play a role in the outcome of your case and what a criminal defense lawyer decides to charge. We have taken the liberty of providing a range of costs you could face depending on the charges.
Keep in mind that these numbers are just estimates, and it’s best to speak with a Florida criminal defense law firm if you have specific questions.
Florida misdemeanor attorney costs
Second-degree misdemeanors include many simple charges and first offenses. The average lawyer will charge anywhere from $1,500 to $3,500. Attorneys with less experience may charge as low as $750, while more experienced attorneys might charge up to $5,000.
A first-degree misdemeanor is different because it is a more serious charge. First-degree misdemeanors are punishable by up to one year in jail and a $1,000 fine. Many criminal defense attorneys in Florida will charge between $2000 and $3,500 for a first-degree misdemeanor defense.
Florida felony attorney costs
The cost of a Florida felony defense lawyer will also depend on the type of charges you are facing. Here are some examples of what you can expect to pay for a Florida felony attorney.
Third-degree felonies are punishable by five years in prison, a $5,000 fine, or five years probation. Florida criminal defense lawyers charge anywhere between $3,500 to $10,000 for third-degree felony defense. Second-degree offenses are more severe, punishable by up to 15 years in prison, and legal representation may cost between $5,000 and $25,000.
First-degree felonies are punishable by death or life in prison. These cases take time and can be hard to evaluate due to their severity. However, many experienced defense attorneys agree that the minimum cost for an adept first-degree felony attorney is at least $10,000. However, the general price range is between $35,000 and $100,000.
DUI attorney costs
What you pay for a DUI attorney and the charges you will face will depend on the nature of the offense. Second, third, and fourth offenses are treated more severely by the courts and could cost more.
The average attorney quote for a DUI case in Florida is about $3,500, but the cost ranges from $2,000 to $7,500 for a first DUI offense.
If you’re charged with a second DUI, your rate could be anywhere between $3,500 and $10,000 or more. If it’s a third DUI, you can expect to pay anywhere from $5,500 to about $12,000.
Now that you have an idea of how much your criminal defense attorney may cost, you may be unsure whether or not you can pay for it. You should speak with an understanding criminal defense attorney about your payment options.
Criminal defense payment plans
It is common for lawyers to require payment upfront. However, many criminal defense attorneys have recognized the need for financial assistance and now offer payment plans to their clients. The terms of those payment plans will largely depend on the severity of your case.
Many attorneys will coordinate your payment plan arrangement with how long they anticipate the case to take. For example, a lawyer in a misdemeanor case can typically ask for a 1-3 month payment plan, but for a felony case, payment plans can range from roughly three months to one year.
Some lawyers will require more than half of the payment upfront, and others will only ask for a third. Most lawyers will take some initial down payment before they start working on your case. If you’re unable to continue to pay your legal fees, your criminal defense attorney will be forced to withdraw from your case.
Tips for hiring the best criminal defense attorney
All lawyers are not created equal. Lawyers that invest less time in your case generally charge less money. Be upfront with your attorney about what you can afford while you shop around. Often, when it comes to legal expenses, you get what you pay for. Be sure to vet your potential attorneys for their level of experience, skills, and resources before making your choice.
Think twice before hiring the cheapest lawyer because you don’t want to be cutting corners when it comes to your freedom, rights, and civil liberties. If the lawyer charges less per case, then it’s likely that this lawyer is going to have a large caseload and will not be able to give much attention to your case.
Speak with a Florida criminal defense attorney in your community about protecting your rights. Ask questions about how much cases like yours typically cost so that your civil liberties are protected under the law.