How Much Does It Cost to Hire a Criminal Defense Attorney?

Are you finding yourself in need of a criminal defense attorney? Hiring a lawyer is nerve-wracking. Not only because you’re likely in some kind of legal trouble, but you’re also worried about attorney fees.

If you need any assistance finding the best defense lawyer and questions about the cost and fees that go along with it, we’ve got you covered. Keep reading to learn all the information you need to know about the cost of a criminal defense attorney. 

Finding a Criminal Defense Attorney

Your first step will be to search online for “defense attorney near me.” You’re going to want to make sure that the lawyer you contact specializes in criminal defense. You’re also going to want to see if they have any reviews online. 

The lawyer that you reach out to should have a good outcome ratio and experience with the kind of case they will be taking on. Contact the lawyer and set up an initial meeting to talk about any additional information you both need to know before you hire them and they take you on as a client. 

Retainer Fees

Many lawyers will require some kind of retainer fee, usually starting from $2000+ depending on the severity of your case and the location of your attorney. The retainer will work as a deposit for your case and sometimes be calculated to cover the estimate of your attorney bills.

Hourly Billing Rate

The cost to hire a lawyer is definitely dependent on where you live. A bigger city will come with a larger hourly rate. 

You can usually expect an hourly rate of $250-750.  

In the attorney world, “billable hours” are everything. You are going to be charged by the amount of time your lawyer works on your case. They will also likely add travel fees to and from the court, jail, or anywhere else they may have to travel for your case.

Flat Rate

Some lawyers will charge a flat rate. If your case is relatively simple, you might be able to pay one flat rate for the entire case. 

Public Defence Attorney

Miranda Rights are something that most American’s are familiar with. Check for your state’s legal aid income eligibility requirements to see if you qualify for a free or low-cost attorney.

Keep in mind that public defenders often have a heavy caseload. If your case is going to be time-consuming, you may want to consider hiring a private attorney that can better focus on just you.


You always have the option of self-representation. Even if you plan on pleading guilty, consulting a lawyer is always a good idea. They can help reduce your sentence or advise you on proper procedures in the courtroom. 

Good luck!

We wish you all the luck with finding a great criminal defense attorney and with your case! Be sure to write down any questions you may have for your lawyer and bring them with you to your first meeting.

Ask about their hourly rates, retainer fees, and any other fees they think will apply to your case. Knowing what the charges will be upfront is always better than being surprised with a bill later on. 

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