How Much Will it Cost to Hire a Criminal Defense Lawyer?


“How much will the services cost,” is perhaps the first questions that most individuals who face criminal charges ask their attorneys.

And it’s likely that you too are wondering how much it will cost to hire a criminal defense attorney; otherwise, you wouldn’t be reading this article. If it’s any consolation, you are not alone. Here is a basic breakdown of how criminal defense lawyers charge for their services and it varies depending on factors like:

The attorney’s experience

Criminal defense attorneys, like ones from Colorado Legal Defense Group, who have been practicing criminal law for decades have more experience dealing in cases like yours. They have a vast understanding of the legal process, have well-developed networks in the industry, and have resources that will add extreme value to your case. Naturally, the most experienced and top rated law firms will charge more than what an attorney who is just getting started would charge. Working with an experienced attorney will likely mean more money is spent on attorney fees, but also a higher value for your case – and potentially a much more favorable outcome. When it comes to hiring lawyers, go with the best – especially when your future is on the line.

The complexity of your case

This one is a no-brainer, you will pay more if your case is complicated, like a felony, than you would pay for a misdemeanor case, the reason being felonies demand more preparation, require more court appearances, have higher penalties and so on.


How much a criminal defense attorney charges will depend on their location. When it comes to legal representation, there is nothing like standard legal fees. Attorneys who are located in areas where the rent and cost of living are high will charge more than their counterparts in places where the cost of living is slightly lower, to cover for their overhead costs.

The cost might also be slightly higher if you are getting a lawyer from another state to come and represent your defense case.

Types of billing

Hourly billing

If you are charged by the hour, it means you will pay for the actual time that the attorney has spent on your case – say $100 per hour. You may also pay for expenses that the attorney incurs while in your case, like subpoena fees, copying fees, etc. from your standpoint, there are pros and cons to hourly billing.

Pro – you will benefit if the case ends fast

Con – it can get very costly if the situation becomes unexpectedly complicated.

Case billing

If you are charged by case, it means you will pay a fixed rate. For instance, an attorney may charge a fee of $1,000 for a DUI case. But this fee will remain constant, regardless of how many hours they devote to the case. Similar to the hourly billing, case billing has its own set of pros and cons:

Pro – you have certainty since you are aware of how much the whole process is going to cost you.

Con – feeling that you paid more than the case deserved, especially if the case settles very quickly.


Whether they bill by the case or hour, defense attorneys will want you to pay retainer fee beforehand. For example, if the attorney charges an hourly rate of $100, they may need to pay for 20 hours of their time before they can start working.