If you are now facing criminal charges, you know that being convicted could result in serious consequences, including high legal fines and many years in prison. Hiring a criminal defense attorney Jacksonville FL on your side can make a big difference between winning and losing. But, hiring an attorney can be expensive.
There are some things that you should consider before you hire a lawyer.
On the average, criminal defense lawyers in Jacksonville Florida cost up to $4500 nationwide. However, various factors affect the overall cost of legal services. Criminal defense attorneys represent clients who are charged with felony and misdemeanor offenses, including robbery or theft, possession of drugs, parole or probation offense, sexual, aggravated or physical assault. Knowledgeable lawyers can attend court dates and offer legal advice in a certain period of time.
The Severity Of The Case
The level of seriousness and complexity of the case are two main factors that affect the cost. This is because a lawyer invests a longer time in felonies as compared to misdemeanors. The legal fees for felony cases are typically more costly.
The more pre-trials, reviews, negotiations, and court appearances attended by the criminal defense lawyer, the more hours the legal professional will invest in the case, which means a higher fee to the client. Cases that are more complex normally involve investigation and testimony of the expert witnesses, which are subject to additional fees.
Flat Fee Versus Hourly Billing
Some criminal defense lawyers bill by the hour for their professional services. If your case is cut and dried, an hourly rate may be suitable for you. But, when your case is more complicated, the cost can skyrocket fast particularly if it takes more time.
When it comes to charging by the hour, defense attorneys often request an upfront cost, which is a retainer fee. For example, if a criminal defense attorney has a $200 hourly fee, the professional may need a 10-hour retainer fee with the amount of $2,000.
Other lawyers charge flat rates or set specific fees depending on the case. Flat fees give you an idea of the total cost of legal services in advance. Also, the legal professional does not have to keep detailed notes on all the witnesses’ interviews, phone calls, e-mails, motions, trips to the law library, and so on. Flat rates are based on the type of case.
Experience And Skill
The background and experience of the criminal lawyer typically affect the cost of legal services. Lawyers with extensive experience in the field, degrees from prestigious law schools, and those who have a reputation for winning high-profile cases may ask for higher rates compared to those who are just starting out their legal careers.
As their client, an experienced criminal attorney from a reputable law firm can help guarantee that the criminal charges against you are in accordance with the crime committed, and help make the case against you.
If you have a criminal history, it can also affect the total cost for the services of your defense attorney. The more legal trouble you had before, the more representation, preparation, and negotiation work for the lawyer.
The following are a few examples of how costs can be different for common criminal defense cases, based on the severity of criminal history and crime of the client:
- A defense for theft. The costs vary due to criminal history and the amount of theft by the client. $750–$10,000.
- A defense for misdemeanor possession of marijuana. The costs can depend on the criminal history of the client and the amount of cannabis in possession. $750–$2,00.
- A defense for possession of controlled substance. The costs differ depending on the criminal history of the client and the amount of illegal substance involved. $3,000–$10,00.
While the state provides you with a lawyer, the big question is whether or not to hire your own private lawyer. While public defense attorneys are good at their jobs, they often have lots of caseloads and may not give your case their full attention. Also, you cannot fire a public defender for incompetence, as you need the approval of a judge beforehand.
So, when you decide to look for private criminal lawyers Jacksonville FL, it is important to know how they charge.
It is best to hire an experienced lawyer with a reputable background from a firm that has a solid track record. You can ask for a phone call consultation to get an idea of what the relationship and communication could look like.