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The individuals, who need help of a criminal defence lawyer, are often worried about expenses for assistance. Here are some important facts on how an attorney charges for his service, which depend on several factors.
- Complexity of Case: Most attorneys demand a heavy charge for felonies than what they do for misdemeanours. This is because, felonies involve more complexities, preparation and risk of heavy penalties. Furthermore, such cases also require frequent court appearances than other types.
- Experience of Lawyer: The experienced lawyers from the law offices of Tad Nelson & Associates demand more for their service if compared with their less experienced colleagues. However, stay clear of the lawyers who charge extremely low fees/hour. An experienced attorney will take little time to resolve your case in your favour and thus, prove less expensive than a novice in the long run.
- Locations: Attorneys charge higher fees in some parts. That is why, there is nothing like standard legal fees. According to a survey published in Consumer Reports, the medial fee charged by the criminal lawyers is $1,500. But most of these cases involved only a single court appearance or a consultation and one may have to shell out more for extensive representation. Most lawyers want a substantial part of their fees paid up in advance. Some even demand full fees upfront.
- Hourly Billing: Some attorneys charge for their service/per hour and in that case, the defendants pay for the total amount of time their lawyers work on the case. The defendant has to bear the burden of expenses that an attorney incurs during the course of representation. Hourly billing has both merits and demerits form the defendants’ perspective.
- Merits: Defendants stand to get benefits from hourly billing if a case is resolved quickly.
- Demerits: If the case involves unexpected complications, it adds to expenses. Furthermore, hourly billing works as an incentive for the attorneys to spend more time on a case than it is actually required. In addition, most criminal defence lawyers demand a minimum retainer fee and this amount is not refundable, no matter how quickly the case is solved.
Lawyers, whose fee is based on the case billing, set up a fixed figure for the defendants represented by them. The fee will not change, irrespective of the hours the professional devotes to a case. The case billing also has its own pros and cons.
- Merits: Certainty is the main advantage of case billing. The defendants don’t have to bear additional expenses even if some unforeseen complications arise later during the proceedings.
- Demerits: If a case settles quickly, the defendant may feel that he/she has overspent. In some of these situations, the attorneys refund a part of their fee but many won’t do so. Furthermore, the fee may be only for the pre-trial phase and the defendant may have to pay additional fee for the trial.
A defendant must verify all these crucial points while hiring an attorney. The person may agree to hourly billing but only up to a pre-negotiated fixed sum. Once it is crossed, the attorney finishes his job without demanding any extra charge from the defendant. This approach minimizes the disadvantages of hourly billing while helping the defendant optimize the advantages.