Criminal/DUI Defense Blog

How Much it Costs to Hire a Defense Lawyer for a Felony

Posted by Erin FieldJan 21, 20220 Comments

A lawyer working with a client

How Much Does It Cost To Hire a Lawyer for a Felony?

Most people will never need a lawyer — and that's a good thing. But if you've been accused of a crime you'll need someone in your corner to help fight for your rights. That's where a good criminal defense attorney comes into play. Particularly if the crime you've been accused of goes beyond a simple misdemeanor, you could be risking serious jail time or substantial fines, and a criminal lawyer may be able to help you reduce your exposure to both.

But for many, retaining a lawyer is an issue of budget. After all, many people don't know how much it costs to hire a lawyer for a felony. If it's too expensive, you might be doing irreparable harm to your finances. Others may simply have no money on hand to hire a competent attorney, and that means possibly ending up with a state-appointed lawyer that won't be able to put the necessary time into your case.

The good news is that hiring a criminal lawyer for a felony may likely cost less than you think. While federal criminal defense lawyers may cost you more due to their knowledge of processes at the federal level, a felony defense attorney in Connecticut may be able to take your case for no money down, at least for the initial consultation. Let's break down how the fees work.

Typical Lawyer Fees

There's no one type of fee structure for a criminal lawyer, and that means costs can vary wildly. For those wondering how much does a criminal lawyer cost, that depends on the nature of the charges, the complexity of the case and how much your lawyer charges for their time. Some attorneys may give you a free consultation as they debate whether to take your case while others may charge you a few hundred dollars for that first meeting.

When it comes to your case itself, some attorneys may charge you a flat rate for taking a case — such as $5,000 to $10,000 for a felony crime — but most prefer to charge by the hour, which is typically in the $100 to $300 range. In that case, you'll pay for your attorney's time via some kind of up-front retainer where they have an allotted number of hours to dedicate to your case. As they work, they'll deduct hourly rates from the retainer until it is exhausted or the work is done.

In that sense, the question of how much does a lawyer cost for a felony is variable. Felony case retainers can run thousands of dollars, and some attorneys may even charge a minimum amount regardless of the hours worked due to the complexity of felony cases. In fact, some serious felony cases can cost upwards of $30,000 or more — it all depends on the details of your case and how much time and work has to be put in to mount an effective legal defense.

What if You Can't Afford a Lawyer?

If you can't afford a lawyer, one will be appointed to you. However, most public defenders are overworked, overstressed and hardly have the time to dedicate to your case. They could be juggling dozens of existing cases, and that means they won't be able to put in the time to effectively help you. That's why hiring an attorney of your own is always better than going with the public defender. Sure, you won't be charged anything with the public defender, but you'll also be getting what you pay for.

If you're worried about how much a felony defense attorney costs, it's important to keep in mind that your defense attorney is the only thing standing between you and your freedom. Even if you're convicted, a competent defense attorney can help reduce your sentence or argue for probation or time served rather than a long sentence.

In need of a criminal defense attorney in Connecticut? See how we can help today.