How To Navigate The Rising Costs Of Criminal Lawyers

A legal case is very expensive for all parties involved. As the costs continue to rise in the legal system

How To Navigate The Rising Costs Of Criminal Lawyers
A legal case is very expensive for all parties involved. As the costs continue to rise in the legal system, many charged individuals should keep the legal costs as low as possible. In criminal cases, individuals do not always have the financial means to hire a private lawyer. If so, a free attorney is provided for the defendant unlike international criminal court. However, defending yourself or having free representation could become costly by other means. If you receive an unfavorable decision, you might be subject to years of jail time. In order to find the proper representation, charged defendants should take the following actions to manage rising legal costs.

Understand The Magnitude Of The Case 

Especially in criminal defense, your legal costs can depend greatly on the level of criminal charges. These charges can range from misdemeanors to felonies. Then, there are varying levels of severity of misdemeanors or felonies. Typically, felony convictions have a higher penalty. Sentences can include a year of jail time up to a lifetime period. If the case will require more court appearances, investigation and consultation, you can expect the fees to rise very quickly. It is very important to understand the severity of your case before looking at the costs. 

Gather Your Case Details And Facts 

When you start to look for a lawyer, prepare all the basic court information. If a lawyer sees that you are well organized, you might have a better chance of them giving you a break. Put together a file of the charges against you, any court dates or other essential information. Additionally, practice articulating yourself clearly to answer questions about the incident. Your lawyer consultations will go much more smoothly when you can communicate the case details in an organized and efficient manner. This makes you a good client that will end up saving time and costs throughout the process. 

Explain Your Criminal History 

If you have repeat criminal offenses, it could cost you more to defend your case. Lawyers will have to work harder to negotiate and defend your position. According to Tim Flaherty of Flaherty Defense Firm, “Sometimes, a trial can be avoided altogether through negotiating with your accusers.” Any assessed fines or penalties would be greater because of past convictions. Especially, if you are engaged in a same type of criminal activity, your lawyer may have to ask for higher compensation to offset the additional work required. When you consult with a criminal attorney, have a record of any past criminal incidents. Explain how this situation is either different or similar to before. This can help the attorney understand how to help you and take on your case at a lower cost. 

Consider Pleading Guilty 

Once you have narrowed your search for an attorney, discuss your options about pleading guilty to the criminal behavior. Many criminal cases are settled by the defendant confession. While this might not sound like an ideal option, it could save you from filing bankruptcy. The costs of a long trial can go above $100,000 very quickly. If you wish to continue to fight a high level case, the costs could get into the millions. Unfortunately, you might not have funds to fight through a criminal case for several years. It might be more cost effective and ethical to plead guilty with the counsel of your attorney. 

Negotiate A Flat Fee 

If possible, use all your prepared information to negotiate a flat fee for your case. Experienced criminal defense lawyers can estimate fairly accurately how much work the case will require. Most lawyers work on an hourly basis or with a retainer. However, a flat fee agreement could keep your legal costs under control. By giving a lawyer all the necessary information upfront, you could set yourself up to negotiate a flat fee for the case. This could help you set a reasonable cost to handle your case from start to finish. 

It is very important to find a criminal defense lawyer that is willing to work with you at a rate that you can afford. With the rising legal costs of court fees and attorney rates, there are many actions that you can take to keep the costs under control. Assess your situation and understand the level of severity associated with your case. Put together all the case facts, details and information that would be relevant for defending your position. Especially if you have a past criminal record, you should be ready to explain what happened and your mindset moving forward. When talking with attorneys, discuss your options for pleading guilty and possibly agreeing to a flat fee. By preparing ahead of time, you can keep the rising legal costs under control.
Updated Date: 12 October 2018, 11:25

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