How Much Is a Lawyer for a Felony Case?

There are many different felony charges, and the amount that a lawyer charges for one as opposed to another may differ.  There are a variety of reasons why different felony offenses may cost different amounts.

First, some types of cases are more complex than others.  Some cases require great preparation, thorough legal research, and the allocution of the correct resources.  Resources may include the use of private investigators, expert witnesses, subpoenaing of records, etc.

Second, some cases take a lot more time for a lawyer to handle.  Sometimes the amount of discovery the lawyer receives is so large that it takes days to review it all.  Some cases require preliminary examinations, motions, and evidentiary hearings to challenge the evidence being presented.  If the case requires a lot of time the criminal defense lawyer may not have the time or ability to take on new cases.

Third, the lawyer’s reputation and experience has a value in and of itself.  Lawyering is a skill that is honed over the course of a career.  That experience and judgment that the lawyer has may have a worth that deserves higher compensation.

Fourth, the location of the Court may affect the amount the lawyer charges.  If the Court is  a many hour drive from the lawyer’s office, the lawyer’s time and resources are being disproportionately used for that particular case and the lawyer may have to charge more for that reason.

Fifth, if the client is incarcerated, again the lawyer has to spend additional time to access his client to prepare the case.  Again, time is money.

Sixth, the need to prepare and conduct a trial will result in a higher attorney fee.  If evidentiary or sentencing hearings are necessary, a higher attorney fee is likely.

Attorneys in Michigan are not required to charge a particular fee for a case; they have the discretion to charge whatever is reasonable.  Different lawyers have different ideas as to what constitutes a reasonable fee.  For most cases a lawyer will provide a written fee agreement to his client before engaging in the representation.  This is a good practice, because it provides clear guidelines and justifications for the lawyer’s fee.

The limitations that a lawyer has when charging a fee are a matter for the ethical rules that lawyers must follow.  For example, in Michigan lawyers are forbidden from charging a contingency fee for any type of case.  A contingency fee basically means that the lawyer’s fee is controlled on the outcome that is obtained.

Most fees in criminal cases are flat non-refundable fees.  Hourly fees are usually not part of the equation.

The client needs to consider that a budget may be necessary for items such as bail, witness and expert witness fees, and discovery related expenses.  Also, any fee, fine, cost, restitution amount ordered by a Court is never deducted from an attorney fee.  Unless a dismissal or acquittal occurs, there will always be fines, costs, and  imposed by the Court.  The Court has staff, utilities, and other operational expenses to maintain.  That money, by and large, comes from the revenue it collects from litigants, Respondents, and Defendants.

Also, Court appointed attorneys are rarely provided for free.  In most cases the Court requires the Defendant to reimburse the Court for expenses related to paying for the Court appointed attorney.  Expenses for such are fees to the lawyer, and for the salary of the person who assigns the lawyers and processes the payment invoices that the Court receives from the public defender.

The only way to know how much a criminal lawyer will be for a felony case is to contact the lawyer directly and ask.  However, the fee agreement is always what is controlling in terms of the amount the lawyer receives.  The fee agreement is a binding contract, so it is very important that you read, understand, and are willing to be bound to the terms of the fee agreement before you sign it.

For excellent felony legal representation it is recommended that you contact Attorney Daniel Hilf of the law firm of Hilf & Hilf, PLC.  When it comes to felony charges you should always make the best effort to hire a lawyer that knows what he is doing, and who can provide effective representation.