When you are accused of a criminal offense, engaging a qualified lawyer is vital to getting the best legal assistance. There are many intricate matters and details involved in criminal cases whether it is a seemingly minor offense or an indictable crime. The legal fees charged by criminal attorneys will depend on a number of factors and it is important to understand these variables so that you can make an informed decision.
Complexity of the Case
Cases that have serious implications are more costly than those that are associated with low fines and short jail terms. The latter are summary offenses such as minor assaults, property damage and road traffic offenses including careless driving and unlicensed driving. These cases are not demanding in terms of time and labour especially if a guilty plea or a plea agreement is accepted. An indictable crime is severe and without proper legal assistance, the consequences are grim. These offenses include indecent assault, drug trafficking, manslaughter, aggravated burglary and murder. After a committal hearing in the Magistrate's Court, the cases will often go to trial in a higher court before a judge. The charges are higher because of the time input demanded, the number of court appearances and the investigative efforts.
Lawyers will generally charge either at an hourly rate or a flat fee linked to the type of case. None of the two billing methods are per se inferior but most criminal lawyers charge a lump sum for the legal services. This fee will cover for the preparation of the hearing and working with witnesses. There are also additional charges for court appearances outlined in the Criminal Law Cost Scale set by the Legal Services Commission. Lawyers that charge by the actual amount of time dedicated to the case may be advantageous if the case is concluded within a short period. On the other hand, if the case becomes complex or the lawyer is motivated financially, the costs could be astronomical. In addition, other expenses incurred in the course of the case will be billed.
Different law firms and lawyers (such as Northside Lawyers) will charge depending on the reputation and demand of services. If the desired legal representative has experience and often wins, the cost will be higher than that of an inexperienced lawyer. The location of the expert will also incur extra charges such as the traveling expenses whenever there is a hearing. If the case involves an indictable offense, the expense of an experienced and credible lawyer is worthwhile.