A criminal charge can change your life in an instant. As criminal defense attorneys, we at Cofer Luster Law Firm will fight for your rights while trying to get the best outcome for your case. We advocate on your behalf while investigating your case, check for evidence illegally obtained by police, and challenge inconsistent witness statements. These are just a few of the services we provide as part of your experienced defense team.
Since criminal cases are complex, the cost structure is broken down depending on the type of criminal charges.
Factors that go Into Criminal Defense Attorney Costs
Every case is different and is treated as such. Some of the factors considered in defense costs are the defendant’s income, investigation time, experts witness cost, and attorney’s fees. Let’s break these down further so you can get a better idea of how the cost structure works.
Generally, in Texas, if your income is less than $49,200 a year, then you may be entitled to a court-appointed attorney. If you do not meet this threshold, you will need to hire a private attorney to fight on your behalf.
Investigation and Experts
Criminal cases can get complex very fast. Once your case starts getting complex, your criminal defense attorney will need experts to testify on your behalf. Expert testimony is expensive, and just one testifying expert can charge over $300/hour, depending on their area of expertise. Your defense team will help you understand what type of expert is needed and what pay is appropriate. An expert witness testifying on your behalf may make the difference between a conviction and freedom.
An investigation is a necessary part of a defense case. The defense team may need to talk to witnesses, visit the crime scene, and/or find the right experts to ensure you have a solid defense.
Not all attorneys charge the same amount in the Dallas and Fort Worth area. Some things to think about when it comes to attorney fees include:
- Complexity of the case
- Seriousness of the charge
- Attorney’s skills and experience
- Length of discovery process
- Whether the case goes to trial
Are Flat Fees an Option?
Flat fees are an option and vary from case to case. Generally, a misdemeanor charge can range from $1,500 to $3,500. If the case goes to trial, fees may increase to $3,000 to $5,000. In cases of felony charges with a trial, costs may range from $10,000 to $20,000. Talk to your criminal defense team to understand how flat fees could work in your case.
If the flat fee option is not used, then attorneys bill by the hour. This can range from $100 on the lower end, an average cost of $300 per hour, or to $750 an hour on the higher end. This is a general overview of hourly charges when it comes to criminal defense attorney fees.
Oftentimes, defense attorneys use payment plans to help make legal defense more accessible. Payment plans depend on the type of charge, how complex the case is, and if the case will go to trial. When you consult with us to defend your criminal case in the Tarrant County area, we will provide you with a more solid idea of the cost for your individual case.
Misdemeanor Charges and Fines
Different types of misdemeanors have varying levels of punishment. A Class A misdemeanor is more serious than a Class B; therefore, Class A can be more expensive in attorney fees.
A Class A misdemeanor carries a maximum punishment of one year and a $4,000 fine. This type of misdemeanor includes:
- Theft of property between up to $2,500
- Stealing of cable service
- Violating a protective order
A Class B misdemeanor carries a maximum punishment of 180 days and $2,000 fine. This includes:
- Theft of property between $100 and $750
- Theft of property less than $100 if the defendant has previously been convicted of any grade theft
- Indecent exposure
- Possession of two ounces or less of marijuana
Generally, the costs of a criminal defense attorney in Texas can range from $2,500 to $8,000 for a misdemeanor charge. The higher-end is typically for more serious misdemeanor charges.
Felony Charges and Fines
Felony charges are usually more expensive because they are more time consuming and complex.
A capital felony carries a punishment of execution for capital murder. Only an experienced defense attorney should handle your case if you are charged with a capital felony.
A first degree felony carries a punishment of five to 99 years (or life) in prison and a $10,000 fine. Two types of first degree felonies include aggravated sexual assault and theft of property that is valued more than $300,000.
A felony in the second degree has a punishment of two to 20 years and a $10,000 fine. One example of this crime includes reckless injury to a child if there is serious bodily injury, serious mental deficiency, impairment or injury. Other second degree felonies include aggravated assault or theft of property that is valued between $150,000 to $300,000.
A felony in the third degree carries a punishment of two to 10 years and $10,000 fine and includes theft of property that is valued at $30,000 but less than $150,000 or a drive-by-shooting without causing an injury.
As you can see, the punishments vary depending on the degree of felony charges. Generally, felonies can range from $10,000 to $20,000 to defend in the Fort Worth area. However, more serious felonies such as rape or murder can cost over $30,000. The only way to get a more accurate estimate is to consult with an attorney.
If you are charged with a DWI in the Dallas and Fort Worth area, you want an attorney who has experience with DWI cases to help lower the overall fees. At Cofer Luster Law Firm, we have helped many people in the Tarrant area who were charged with driving while intoxicated and helped minimize penalties and avoid jail time.
Generally, DWI cases can cost between $3,000 to $7,500 for misdemeanor cases and over $10,000 for felony cases that are more extensive and lengthy.
Hire an Experienced Defense Attorney
The difference between jail time and thousands of dollars in fines may be a skilled defense attorney. When your rights and freedom are on the line, you want the best on your side. We at Cofer Luster Law Firm have years of experience successfully defending our clients in all types of criminal charges.