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How Much Does a Fort Lauderdale Defense Attorney Cost?

When you’re facing criminal charges, ideally you want the best Fort Lauderdale defense attorney you can get. But there are always going to be cost considerations. Making an informed decision about which attorney to hire means knowing roughly how much you can expect to pay - and how the defense attorney’s fees are structured.

Worth noting right off the bat is that Florida criminal defense attorneys are ethically bound to charge fair rates. They can actually be sanctioned by the Florida Bar Association - and potentially lose their license to practice law - if their fees aren’t set in good faith.

Per Rule 1.5 of the American Bar Association, some of the factors that go into determining the “reasonableness” of an attorney’s fee include:
  • The time and labor required, the novelty and difficulty of the questions involved, and the skill needed to properly provide these legal services.
  • The likelihood that taking on this case will mean the attorney will need to forgo other work.
  • Customary fees locally charged for similar legal services.
  • The experience, reputation, and ability of the lawyer(s) performing the services.
  • Time limits - imposed either by the client or the circumstances of the case. (How far along is the case by the time you hire your lawyer? The further in you are, the more likely it will cost because time restraints will be tighter.)

Whatever the fee is, the Fort Lauderdale defense attorney you hire should clearly communicate their rate/fee at the outset of the case (preferably in writing). Any changes to that rate should be communicated right away.

If you feel like a defense lawyer’s rates are too high, it may be a good idea to arrange for free initial consultations with a few different attorneys in the area to determine the reasonableness of that rate.

Hiring someone with the education, experience, resources, and skill to effectively take on criminal cases - frankly, isn’t going to be cheap. That said, it can definitely still be affordable - and is almost always worth it.

So What Will Lawyer’s Fees Likely Cost Me?

As mentioned above, an attorney’s fee rate is going to be based on their own level of experience and skills - particularly as it relates to your specific practice area - and the seriousness of the charge you’re facing.

Some attorneys charge by the hour, some will charge a flat rate.

Attorneys with greater skill level in a particular practice area are more likely to charge by the hour, but it depends. If they do charge by the hour, you can probably expect to pay a retainer fee upfront. For example, if the lawyer charges $200 hourly, they may require a 10-hour retainer fee upfront for $2,000. The retainer will cover an agreed-on amount of the lawyer’s initial time working on the case. Once that amount runs out, the client is expected to replenish it.

An attorney might also charge hourly if the complexity of the case makes it difficult to determine a fair flat rate.

The low end of a criminal defense lawyer’s hourly fees is about $100 hourly. The high end is about $750 hourly. Average is somewhere around $300 hourly. But attorneys can decide to charge a little more or less depending on the complexity of the case.

Criminal defense lawyers who charge hourly will sometimes break up the hour into smaller increments. For instance, a lawyer who charges $200/hourly and does 15 minutes of work would charge you $50 for that time.

If we’re talking flat rates, representation for a felony is almost certainly going to cost more than a misdemeanor or traffic case. For misdemeanors, the low-end of flat-rate fees is probably somewhere around $1,000. High-end flat rates for misdemeanors will be somewhere around $15,000, while average is probably around $8,000.

With felony cases, flat rates are probably somewhere around $10,000 on the low end, $100,000 on the high end, and average about $35,000. But there are a lot of factors that play into that. Crimes of violence may cost more to defend than drug crimes, even if they’re technically the same degree of crime.

We understand most people don’t have that kind of money just laying around. Many lawyers will extend reasonable payment plans. And while you may be loath to put it on a credit card or ask to borrow from family members, it’s important to put in context how much may be lost if you don’t prioritize high-quality legal representation in these matters. Fines for misdemeanors alone can run you several thousand dollars each. In felony cases, jail time will mean likely losing your job - and the tens of thousands of dollars you would have made during each year of incarceration.

So while a high-quality defense is no trivial cost, it’s one worth the value.

If you have been arrested in South Florida, call The Ansara Law Firm in Fort Lauderdale today for your free initial consultation at (954) 761-4011.

Client Reviews
“Just wanted to say what a professional law firm "The Ansara Law Firm" was in handling my case and can't thank Richard enough for keeping me calm and letting me know the status of my case. You really do care about your clients and made me feel at ease during my legal issues!” Andy Austin
"Richard was thorough, patient and went above and beyond to make a hard time for my family a little more bearable. I pray we never need a criminal defense attorney again, but if we do, there is NO doubt who we're going to!" Amy
"I had a dui case and Mr. Ansara made it go as smooth as possible. He was able to time everything so I could get a new company up and running without the dui effecting my ability to drive." Sean
"I have been a client of Richard Ansara for several years now, I am pleased with his outcomes on all my cases, patience, professionalism and courteousness when I come into his office. I would definitely recommend Ansara's Law Firm to friends and family for any of their future legal needs." Emily Gutierrez