How Much Does a Chicago Criminal Defense Attorney Cost?

Updated on 08/11/2023 / Under

If you want to hire a criminal attorney, most likely you're in a daunting situation and want the legal help of a skilled legal advocate quickly. Being charged with criminal charges, no matter their severity is quite stressful. Criminal matters carry serious legal consequences, including monetary fines, potential jail time, and even an inability to secure employment in the future. Therefore, it's vital to hire an experienced private attorney to help you navigate the complex legal process. 

Fortunately, the law allows you to secure legal representation in criminal cases. If you can't afford to hire a lawyer, a public defender will be appointed for you by the court. However, if the criminal court decides as per your assets and the monthly income that you have the capability to hire a legal counsel, then you can retain a private lawyer or opt for self-representation. 

Criminal attorney costs often vary depending on various factors, such as the complexity of the legal issues in the case, notoriety or experience of the attorney, and whether your criminal case goes to a criminal trial. Thus, it's vital before hiring a skilled Chicago criminal attorney to discuss the lawyer’s costs before you start working together.  

How Much Does it Cost to Hire a Good Chicago Criminal Defense Lawyer?

If you have been charged with a criminal charge in Chicago, you must seek legal representation from an experienced attorney in Chicago. To win beat your criminal charges, it's crucial to retain the legal services of a skilled experienced attorney.

Criminal defense lawyer Alex Ktenas in Chicago

Some criminal attorneys charge an hourly rate to represent those facing criminal charges. The hourly fee can range from anywhere between $100 and $1,000. However, some criminal attorneys may also work on a retainer fee. Sometimes, criminal lawyers may charge a fixed rate depending on the legal issue. The likelihood of finding a criminal attorney charges a flat rate is higher if you're facing a misdemeanor offense, such as a first-time drug charge. Criminal attorneys who charge a flat rate often charge between $1000 and $5000.

However, before retaining a potential criminal lawyer, ask how much they’ll charge for their legal services because every case is unique. For instance, misdemeanor charges require less legal time from the attorney, while a felony charge will require more work and time. 

Also, there may be additional costs, such as court fees or costs of hiring expert witnesses, such as a blood analyst or medical doctor, to prove your case.

Learn More: Benefits of a Lawyer vs a Public Defender

What Factors Affect Criminal Defense Lawyer Costs?

There are many factors to consider when evaluating the average cost of a criminal case. Very often criminal cases have multiple and complicated legal issues that call for expert witnesses and/or investigators. For instance, a criminal defense attorney may hire the services of an expert who specializes in breathalyzer testing to explain the results of a blood alcohol concentration in a drunk driving trial. Or your attorney may need to seek the services of a psychologist if you wish to make an insanity plea. Expert witnesses and investigators charge an average retainer fee of $2,500 and they may charge in excess of $300 per hour.

Lawyer’s fees also vary depending on several many factors. These factors might affect the rate attorney’s charge:

  • Whether the criminal case goes to trial.
  • The expertise of the legal counsel.
  • Number of years the lawyer has practiced criminal defense.
  • The severity of the offense.
  • The severity of the legal matters in your case.
  • The number of years the attorney has appeared in criminal court in that particular jurisdiction.
a photo of handcuffs and a gavel on a black desk

Why Do Criminal Defense Lawyers Charge an Hourly Fee?

An hourly rate is the most commonly used payment plan by criminal defense attorneys. That's because most attorneys feel that a fixed rate isn't a reliable way to measure several factors and expenses related to the entire criminal process. 

Hourly billing fees vary greatly and they depend on the skills and expertise of the criminal lawyer and the details of your case. Typically, you may pay $100 to $1000 per hour. With an hourly payment plan, it's common for legal costs to get to the range of $5,000 to $20,000 fast. 

A criminal lawyer who charges by the hour may also ask you to pay a retainer fee to cover part of their time. Once the retainer is exhausted, the hourly fee will step in, or the lawyer will top up the retainer and charge their hourly fee against that retainer.

Why Do I Need to Retain an Experienced Criminal Defense Lawyer?

Facing a criminal charge is never an easy matter. If you're charged with a criminal charge you risk severe fines and other severe legal consequences, such as criminal convictions, prison time, loss of relationships, and even inability to secure jobs in the future. Although you can handle some legal matters on your own, a criminal arrest warrants the legal advice of a seasoned Illinois criminal defense attorney. Criminal defense lawyers can help you understand:

  • The nature of your criminal charges
  • Available defenses
  • The plea bargain likely to be offered
  • And what to expect during court trial or conviction

Learn More: What Are Your Rights After an Arrest?

Contact Our Chicago Criminal Defense Law Firm Today!

Even if your case seems straightforward, don't face the charges alone. You need an experienced lawyer who can protect your constitutional rights throughout the entire legal process. Contact our reputable criminal attorneys now at 312-756-8652 to discuss your case. Our legal team of reputable criminal defense attorneys has decades of experience helping clients charged with criminal charges throughout Will County, DuPage County, Cook County, Lake County, Kendall County, Kane County, and throughout Illinois.