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What is the Cost of my Criminal Defense?

Updated: May 16

What is the Cost of my Criminal Defense?


As a criminal justice attorney, one of the questions I routinely get from potential clients is how much it will cost to hire an attorney to defend a criminal charge. Well, the truth is, the answer depends. The world of criminal defense encompasses as a wide a range of options as is possible. If you are able to make a choice, then you should think very seriously before deciding. A good criminal defense lawyer could mean the difference between facing the stiffest penalty and being found not guilty.


The Ohio Public Defender


It could cost nothing if you are indigent in Ohio and qualify for a public defender. You have a Constitutional right to counsel, which is why if you cannot afford an attorney, then one will be provided for you by the State. This is one of the most important rights the Constitution bestows, but remember that you get what you pay for.


The downside is that the public defender’s office serves all of the public. This means that the public defenders are weighed down by many cases streaming in and have limited time and resources. It is just a reality that there is only so much time a public defender will be able to spend on your case. In addition, you are assigned a public defender; you don’t get to choose who will represent you. So, whether or not you think your attorney is skilled, knowledgeable, or meshes well with your personality will be irrelevant for you to consider. Unless there is an exceptional reason as to why your assigned attorney needs to be replaced, you take who you get.


Hiring a Criminal Attorney in Ohio


It is common for criminal attorneys to bill by the hour. This means that the attorney bills for each hour worked on your case. The attorney keeps an accounting of the work done so you can see how each hour was spent. If you have questions, you should raise them with your attorney. He or she should be able to explain to you what the billing is for. Most clients have very little idea how much work attorneys do and the scope of activities that go into preparing a case. Luckily, the accounting is there for you to consult if you want, and if you need to sit down with your attorney to discuss planning your finances, this should always be available to you.


So, what will an Ohio criminal defense attorney charge in your case?


A very rough average hourly fee for criminal defense attorney services in Ohio ranges from $200 to $400 or more per hour. The exact fee depends on the complexity of the case, the size of the firm, the number of years the attorney has been in practice, and other factors.


What is a Retainer in a Criminal Case?


In many cases, your defense attorney will require you to pay a retainer or lump sum up front, before taking your case. This amount is meant to cover part of your legal costs. Often you pay for a certain number of hours at the attorney's hourly rate. For misdemeanor matters, the retainer might be between $2000-$2500. In complex felony cases, a retainer could be as in a range from $3500 to as much as $5,000, or even $10,000 or more depending on the crime you’ve been charged with.


Law Offices of Kevin C. Cox want clients to sleep easier knowing they are transparently paying for counsel that has their best interest in mind. Kevin Cox, Coshocton Attorney, offers a free consultation, during which we will discuss the legal fees and how they will be calculated in your particular case.

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