Being accused of a crime is a serious situation that often has long-term repercussions. You shouldn’t face an accusation alone, but it can be expensive. The cost of a criminal defense lawyer in South Carolina and elsewhere varies depending on several factors, including the complexity of the case, the lawyer’s expertise, and the location of the lawyer’s office.
Common Fee Structures
The most common fee structure is an hourly fee, in which the lawyer charges an hourly rate for the time spent working on the case.
Some lawyers charge this fee for a specific service or job, like making a will or setting up a simple divorce. The charge is often agreed upon in advance and covers all work associated with that service.
This is typically for personal injury claims or other cases where damages may be recovered. If the attorney wins the lawsuit, they receive a share of the settlement or reward, and are paid nothing if they lose.
This is money paid in advance to ensure a lawyer will work for a certain amount of time. A retainer is usually for ongoing legal work, like representing a client in a long-term lawsuit or giving regular legal advice.
What Factors Affect Costs?
Complexity and Severity of the Case
The more difficult the case, the more time and work the lawyer must put into the defense. The severity of the charges also impact the cost of defense. It may also increase if the lawyer needs to hire expert witnesses or conduct more research.
A good criminal defense lawyer should be able to estimate how much time and work a case will take. Misdemeanor and felony charges differ by state, but a defendant will generally pay less than someone who requires legal assistance for a felony.
A minor charge, for example, may be less expensive to fight than a felony charge. A misdemeanor lawyer charges between $2,000 and $3,000 in most cases. A defendant accused of a misdemeanor who goes to trial could expect to pay a legal fee of $2,000 to $3,000. An attorney may request a $2,500 advance and $1,000 per day of trial in a felony case.
Experience of the Attorney
The length of time an attorney has been practicing law indicates their experience. Even though years of experience don’t always mean that a lawyer is the best, those with more years of experience have worked on a wider range of cases and learned many skills. You should check the attorney’s track record of success in cases similar to yours to get a sense of their competence and ability.
A lawyer who focuses on a specific area of law, such as criminal defense or personal injury, is more likely to have more expertise and understanding in that field. Certifications from professional organizations can also show how much experience an attorney has in a particular area of law.
The cost of criminal defense can vary significantly based on the attorney’s location. Lawyers in larger cities or places with higher costs of living may charge a higher fee than those in smaller towns or rural areas.
Trial Versus Plea Agreement
The cost of defense is often higher if the case goes to trial than if the defendant agrees to a plea agreement.
How Much Does an Attorney Cost, on Average?
Most criminal defense lawyers charge $300 per hour, but this can vary widely depending on the details of your case.
It’s important to remember that the price of hiring a criminal defense lawyer shouldn’t be the only thing you look at when choosing one. How to choose a criminal defense lawyer entails comparing other essential things, such as the lawyer’s experience and track record in defending similar cases, their reputation in the legal community, and their willingness to communicate and work closely with their clients throughout the legal process.
Even if you think you’ve committed a specific crime and want to plead guilty, you should talk to an experienced lawyer before responding to a criminal prosecution in writing or talking to the prosecutor directly. At the very least, a qualified attorney can ensure that the charges you face are suitable for the facts of the case, and they can advocate on your behalf so that you have the best chance of receiving the lowest penalty.
Are you being investigated for a crime in South Carolina? Don’t let chance determine your future. At Strom Law Firm, we are committed to standing up for your rights and defending your freedom. Contact us today.