While an attorney’s help can be invaluable to a defendant hit with criminal charges, many people are concerned with the total cost of representation. This concern is understandable, as legal fees are not very cheap. However, there is no single answer to the question of cost. The amount of money a Los Angeles criminal attorney may charge a client can vary from case to case and attorney to attorney. While we understand that legal fees are expensive, our Los Angeles criminal defense lawyer, Eric D. Davis, Attorney at Law, provides top-notch legal services. Read on to learn more about how much a criminal defense attorney could cost you in Los Angeles.
Different Attorneys May Charge Different Rates in Los Angeles
There is no universal rate for lawyers. Different lawyers will charge different fees based on their skill level, experience, and area of practice. There are many different criminal defense lawyers in Los Angeles and they all may have different reasons behind their fee calculations.
Attorneys will often factor in their years of experience when determining the cost of legal fees. A more experienced attorney will typically be a bit more expensive than a novice lawyer. You are not only paying for their time and effort, but also the many years it took them to hone their legal skills. An experienced attorney can bring much more to the table than just legal knowledge. They are more likely to know other people within the field, like judges and prosecutors. This can put them at an advantage in the courtroom because they may be familiar with how certain judges like to run their courtrooms or the litigation styles and plea negotiation tactics of certain prosecutors.
A lawyer’s skill level will also play a role in determining the cost of legal fees. Any Diamond Bar criminal defense lawyer is technically allowed to represent you in court as long as they have a valid license to practice law. However, you will want an attorney who practices in the field most relevant to your need. A criminal defendant will obviously need a criminal defense attorney. In addition to the reasons mentioned above, an attorney can adjust their fees based on their skill level. A criminal defense lawyer may be particularly adept at handling sexual assault cases. In that case, they may charge more for their services because they believe their skills to be superior to those of their colleagues as a San Bernardino sexual assault defense lawyer.
Finally, some attorneys may simply value their time more than others. While things like skill level and experience will play important roles in determining fees, attorneys may set their prices as they see fit. Some lawyers are willing to work with your budget; others may not.
Factors in a Criminal Case that Can Raise the Cost of an Attorney
Different cases have different needs. Sometimes, cases are open-and-shut and are resolved relatively quickly. Other times, cases are highly complicated and drag on for months at a time. You must also consider the nature of your criminal charges. Minor charges like low-level misdemeanors and infractions are often handled on a routine basis. Other charges, like serious violent felonies, will be handled more carefully and take a longer time to process. The nature of your case and what is required of your attorney will play a significant role in determining your legal costs.
Many attorneys charge by the hour. They will log the time they spend working on your case and present you with itemized bills. You not only pay for their time in the courtroom but also for the time they spent getting there. Things like legal research, time writing briefs or motions, and time interviewing witnesses must all be included. More complex cases typically mean more hours of work and greater fees.
Additionally, your case may take unexpected turns that result in higher legal fees than you initially anticipated. For example, if you are convicted of your criminal charges, you must decide whether to file an appeal. Filing an appeal will take more time and effort, and you will have to pay your Long Beach criminal defense lawyer for their work. Speak to your attorney ahead of time about what you can expect from your case to get an idea of how costly your legal fees may be.
Ethical Rules for Attorney’s Fees in Los Angeles
Attorneys ultimately set their own fees, but they must do so within reason. Lawyers cannot set unreasonably high fees so they can take advantage of clients in need. They also have to actually do the work their client pays them for. Attorneys are bound by the California Rules of Professional Conduct, which include provisions for setting legal fees.
The Rules include a section about the factors that may determine legal fees. These factors include the ones mentioned above in addition to others. For example, in addition to the attorney’s experience, skill level, and time spent on a case, other determining factors include fees customarily imposed for similar services and the novelty of the legal issues involved.
The rules also set other requirements, such as informing the client of the expenses they must cover and getting fee agreements in writing. There are also requirements restricting how attorneys may charge their clients. For example, a criminal defense lawyer may not charge a contingency fee in a criminal case.
Payment Options for Legal Fees in Los Angeles
Legal fees tend to be expensive, and not all clients are capable of paying right away. You and your attorney can negotiate how costs are to be paid at the beginning of their representation. This could include payment installments or paying some up front and the rest later. While there are some rules and regulations surrounding fee agreements, these agreements are generally worked out between the attorney and the client. Agreements almost always must be in writing and signed by the client.
Contact Our Criminal Defense Lawyer to Discuss Your Case
If you or someone you know is charged with a crime, contact our skilled Glendale criminal defense lawyer for help. We can work out fees and costs ahead of time so there are no expensive surprises down the road. Contact Eric D. Davis, Attorney at Law, by calling (909) 861-8075. You can schedule a free and confidential legal consultation to discuss your case and any associated fees.