If you have been charged with a criminal offense in Minnesota, you have the right to an attorney if you are facing the prospect of incarceration. While you might be entitled to legal counsel, that does not mean the state will provide you with your choice of lawyer. If you want to select your legal advocate, you must hire a private criminal defense attorney. When considering hiring an attorney, you’re bound to ask, How much does a lawyer cost for criminal defense?
The benefit of hiring a private attorney is that they can focus on your case in ways that a public defender cannot. The obvious drawback is that you are responsible for covering their fees. Thankfully, many defense attorneys provide flexible payment options.
Given the wide range of factors that go into the cost of an attorney, it is impossible to give an easy estimate on what your defense might cost. If you are facing criminal charges in Minnesota, schedule a free, no-obligation initial consultation with Gerald Miller to learn more.
How Private Attorneys Charge Legal Fees
Not every attorney approaches billing their clients the same way. The method of calculating legal fees varies not only by geography but also by the area of law as well. Generally speaking, attorneys either bill by the hour, set a flat fee for specific types of cases, or use a hybrid system of different flat fees. All three types are common among criminal defense lawyers.
Hourly billing is the traditional way of calculating legal fees. Attorneys keep track of every hour they work on a client’s case, then charge their hourly rate based on the amount of time they put in.
While still common, this type of billing is not used as frequently in lower-level cases. Billing remains common for serious offenses like the defense of a murder case, though.
Hourly billing usually requires the use of a retainer. A retainer is pool of money the client pays up front. As the attorney performs their work, they withdraw the fees from the pool. When the pool runs low, the client must refill it. This ensures the attorney does not perform work for which they will never get paid.
The use of flat fees among defense attorneys has grown in popularity over the last 20 years. This approach is especially common in traffic court cases and minor misdemeanors. Because some cases require more work than others, attorneys will typically set a specific fee for each offense. For example, an attorney will likely charge more to defend a DWI compared to a speeding ticket.
Some attorneys use a hybrid system where they charge different flat fees depending on the stage of a criminal case. The most common example is when an attorney charges one fee in cases they resolve through settlement and another fee if the case ultimately goes to trial. This is because the work that goes into trying a case far exceeds the effort needed to resolve the charge through a plea bargain early on.
Discussing Fees Up Front
You will only be able to determine exactly what an attorney will charge in your case by asking the directly. The good news is that most criminal defense lawyers offer free consultations. At your consultation, you can break down your case to a prospective attorney so that they can get a feel for what your defense needs are. Not only could an attorney advise you on your defense options, they can also inform you on their billing structure and payment options. By discussing fee questions up front, you can avoid any misunderstandings down the line.
Talk to Gerald Miller About Your Defense Options
Due to the risk you face after an arrest, it is wise to consider the cost of your legal counsel as an investment. By investing in a legal team that understand how to fight back against the allegations you are facing, you increase your odds of a favorable outcome.
Are you asking, How much does a lawyer cost for criminal defense? The attorneys of Gerald Miller are ready to evaluate your case and advise you on your options. We believe in transparency and will gladly discuss our fee during your free consultation. To learn more about how we can help, Schedule your free consultation with the attorneys of Gerald Miller as soon as possible.