Paying a Criminal Defense Attorney San Diego

Before you hire a criminal defense attorney San Diego, it is wise to start by learning how to pay for the services. The last thing you would want is to fire the best federal criminal lawyer San Diego halfway through the case simply because you can no longer afford him. In this article, we shall focus on how much a lawyer will really cost.

The question you should always ask any criminal defense attorney San Diego before hiring him is what will the service cost be? There are numerous factors that influence the cost of an attorney’s service.

Complexity of the case

More often than not, the federal criminal lawyer San Diego may charge more for felonies than for the misdemeanors (less serious cases). Therefore, if you are facing serious time in prison or high penalties, be prepared for higher service fees from the criminal appeals lawyer. Lawyers charge more for felonies because they require more work and court appearances than the misdemeanor cases.

Attorney’s experience

When a criminal defense attorney San Diego has less experience, he will tend to charge less for his services so as to lure more clients. The most experienced attorneys understand that they are in high demand and that their skills are worth more so they will charge higher fees. All in all, you should be very careful when dealing with an attorney who charges extremely high or low rates. Look at the attorney’s experience, reputation as well as education before committing to his or her charges.


Just like the cost of living is higher in major cities, so is the cost of a criminal defense attorney San Diego that operates in a big city.

It is because of the aforementioned factors that there are no standard legal fees. If you want to know how much you will pay for an attorney, all you can do is look at the average cost. The average charge by a federal criminal lawyer San Diego is about $1,500. This value may vary depending on the size and severity of your case. If the attorney will need to spend more time on your case, he will charge you more and vice versa.

Billing Options

There are two options that criminal defense attorney San Diego use.

  1. Hourly Billing

In this option, the defendant pays the attorney for the amount of time the lawyer devotes to the case. The rate is about $100 to $1,000 or more. Though you will be paying for the time spent, the criminal appeals lawyer may also ask you to pay for the expenses incurred such as subpoena fees and copying fees. You only benefit from hourly billing if the case concludes fast.

  1. Case Billing

The criminal defense attorney San Diego may represent you for a fixed fee. For example, you may be charged $2,000 for a DUI case. The beauty of this option is that you will know what the total cost will be. The attorney will bear for the cost of any unforeseen complication.

In addition to the above fees, the criminal defense attorney San Diego may ask for a retainer fee upfront. The retainer fee may be  much as $2,000 or 20 hours of the lawyer’s time.

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