Fees and Expenses

In misdemeanor criminal cases, such as a DUI, it is relatively easy to find a reputable attorney who will handle your case for a flat fee, providing there are no unusual circumstances. A flat fee is the one-time charge for handling your case until it is resolved. Some attorneys advertise and you can contact their office to ask for a quote or estimate of fees for your case. Take advantage of free consultations to ascertain whether an attorney seems reputable. If you are given a fee contract, take it home and read it carefully. Most attorneys will convert your flat fee case to an hourly fee if certain situations arise, such as a jury trial, and you should be aware of those conditions before you retain an attorney and sign a contract.

In more serious criminal cases, attorneys charge by the hour. Do not be surprised if you are quoted $300 an hour or more by an experienced criminal defense attorney to represent you on a felony charge. Additionally, you may be required to deposit a retainer with the attorney as security should you fail to pay fees or expenses. A retainer is not a credit to your initial billings. Criminal defense attorneys typically have developed creative ways for their clients to pay. Do not be afraid to ask what options are available.

In all cases, not only will you incur attorney's fee, you will also be charged for any expenses. Find out the specific expenses for which you are responsible. Ask about charges for copies, couriers, express mail deliveries, lunches, travel, etc. These add up quickly. You will always be charged any filing fees, court reporter expenses if depositions are taken and fees for experts testifying on your behalf.