For most people cost is a factor in determining whether to hire private defense counsel and who to hire. I am willing to charge by the hour, but most of my clients prefer flat fee agreements because of the degree of certainty those agreements afford.
In misdemeanor cases, the fee varies based on the type of case, but the average is approximately $1,350. The fee is graduated meaning that it does not include the cost of drafting motions, hiring investigators, hiring experts, trial preparation, or trial. Those additional services are paid for as needed and as authorized by the client. However, many misdemeanor cases are resolved without the need to draft motions, and most are resolved short of going to trial. In the majority of my misdemeanor cases the initial fee does in fact pay for all of the legal services necessary to see the case through to its conclusion.
In felony cases, the average initial fee is approximately $3,000, but can be significantly more in complex and/or serious cases. Like misdemeanor cases, the vast majority of felony cases are resolved short of going to trial, but the more serious felony cases oftentimes do require pre- trial evidentiary hearings, motions, hiring an investigator and extensive trial preparation even if the case does not ultimately go to trial. Those additional services are paid for as needed and as authorized by the client.
A fee related question I am often asked is whether I accept payments. I do within reason. In the smaller and medium fee cases ($5,000 and below), I require at least half the fee up front and the remainder within a few weeks. In the higher fee cases, I am more flexible on payments as long as I am convinced that the client ultimately has the financial means to pay for his or her defense.