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How are Criminal Defense Lawyers Paid?

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What is a Criminal Defense Lawyer?

A criminal defense lawyer is an attorney that works on behalf of someone who has been charged with a crime. Everyone charged with a crime is entitled to a defense attorney in America. People who can not afford to hire a private attorney will be assigned a public defense attorney to represent them in their criminal cases.

What Kind of an Arrangement Will My Lawyer Require?

The first step in hiring a private criminal defense attorney is to have a consultation. Attorneys will often visit people who are accused of crimes in prison if they are being held because they can’t afford bail or if they are not granted bail. At the consultation, the attorney will usually listen to your legal problems and give you a preliminary idea of what kind of defense or legal assistance he or she might be able to offer.

Lawyers often require retainers in order to get started on a case. Sometimes this is half of the overall amount that they estimate the case will cost, but sometimes they will ask for the full amount up front. If they do ask for the full amount up front, any unused portion of the money will be returned to the client after the case has ended.

Which Fees Will My Lawyer Charge?

Some lawyers add a consultation charge, but some lawyers offer this initial visit for free. Flat rates are offered if the lawyer has a good idea of what the case will cost and feels he or she can offer the case at one specific rate that will not change. Divorce or DUIs are examples of cases that may have flat rates.

Do I Need a Lawyer?

Yes. Each person charged with a crime needs a lawyer experienced in their particular area of law to represent them. A lawyer will help you build your best case, secure the best plea bargains, and represent you in court.

Photo of page author Danielle Winterton

, LegalMatch Legal Writer

Last Modified: 06-12-2018 10:18 PM PDT

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