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2024 How Much Does a Criminal Defense Lawyer Cost in NC?

On Behalf of The Law Firm of Brent D. Ratchford |

If you’ve been arrested and charged with a crime, there are probably a great many things that you’re thinking about. Not only is your reputation on the line, but so is your family and your livelihood. A criminal charge can come with a great price, but there’s no reason you have to go it alone. An NC criminal defense lawyer can help advocate for you when you need it the most.

How To Choose the Right Defense Lawyer

Criminal charges are serious circumstances, and finding the right lawyer for your case is one of the most important decisions you can make. You want to know that the attorney you hire is in your corner and prepared to defend you so that you can get back to your life. You don’t want this situation looming over your head for the rest of your life.

Experience is one of the most important factors for you to consider when choosing a criminal defense attorney. While the cost may be your initial consideration, it’s also crucial you consider what inexperienced representation may cost you. An attorney with lower costs may mean that they’re overtaxed with cases, and they may not be able to devote themselves to your defense.

Criminal Defense Fee Structures

When you’re looking at the costs, you’ll likely see a few different pieces of terminology. It can be helpful to understand what each of these terms mean.

  • This is the fee that you pay upfront to secure legal representation from an attorney.
  • Hourly rate. As the name suggests, this is the rate that is paid for the hours worked by the attorney.
  • Flat fee. A flat fee is what an attorney may charge for straightforward cases. They may charge more for cases that are complicated.

Fee structures are different for each attorney, and you may find that prices and structures vary greatly. Much of the fee structure is based on the attorney’s experience and skill.

Fee Factors

As mentioned above, the experience of the attorney is often a factor in the fees for their representation. A more experienced attorney will likely cost more than a newer attorney. It’s important that you think about what’s most important to you when considering cost.

The severity of the crime can also affect the fee. Criminal cases can vary widely in levels of severity, from theft or robbery and white collar crimes to violent crimes or sex trafficking. Violent crimes like manslaughter or first-degree murder can be incredibly difficult to defend, making them the most complex and usually the most expensive. Knowing the difference between the categories can help you understand the complexity of your case.

A more complex case will take more time and resources to investigate. Since this is the reality, complex cases will typically incur a greater expense than cases that are more straightforward.

Location may also affect the expense. In larger areas, fees can be much greater than in areas that are smaller with a lower cost of living.

Finally, it depends on whether a plea deal can be reached or if the case must go to court. Court is very time-consuming and requires a great deal of work, so it can be much more expensive than a case where a plea deal can be reached.

FAQ About How Much Does a Criminal Defense Lawyer Cost in NC

How Much Do Lawyers Charge Per Hour in NC?

The price can vary greatly depending on several factors. The average per-hour charge for an attorney in NC is roughly $250, with the lower end being below $100 and the upper end being nearly $400. Price shouldn’t be the only deciding factor in choosing an attorney for your criminal defense case.

What Makes a Good Criminal Defense Lawyer?

Experience is a great indication of a good defense attorney. There are other qualities that factor into an attorney’s abilities. An attorney with good listening skills will likely be more effective. An attorney should also have extensive knowledge about their field. In addition, lawyers who take on a case aggressively and with attention to detail receive better outcomes. Finally, confidentiality is an important factor, as it’s vital that you can trust your attorney.

How Can a Criminal Defense Lawyer Help My Case?

A criminal defense lawyer has access to resources that you likely do not. They’re able to investigate your case to the fullest, talking with witnesses, viewing police reports, and viewing the alleged scene of the crime. Additionally, they have an extensive knowledge of the law and have a plan to represent and defend you in the wake of a criminal charge. Lastly, they have the knowledge to give you advice on the decisions you’ll have to make.

What Is the Duty of a Defense Lawyer to Their Client?

The primary duty a defense lawyer has for their client is advocating for them during a challenging time. The attorney can counsel their client on important issues and decisions and represent them during legal proceedings. An attorney is bound to uphold the constitutional rights of their clients and ensure that the letter of the law is being maintained. Their final duty is to ensure that they’re representing their client skillfully, giving them the highest quality legal services.

Choosing Your Gastonia Criminal Defense Lawyer

If you’ve been charged with a crime, you don’t need to panic looking for skilled legal representation. This can be a very difficult time for you and your family, and you need to know that your livelihood will be safe in the hands of your chosen attorney.

With over 25 years of criminal defense experience, Brent D. Ratchford is the Gastonia, NC, criminal defense attorney you need. He has not only the experience necessary but also a personal knowledge of Gaston County and the needs of his clients. He can advise you of all of your options should you find yourself having to face the unthinkable: a criminal conviction. With care and attention to detail, he’ll fight to ensure you have the greatest outcome possible. Contact us today.