How Much Does a Criminal Defense Attorney Cost?
The cost of a criminal defense lawyer can vary significantly depending on the circumstances: the severity of the crime, the experience of the criminal attorney, the complexity of your case, and even the location of your crime.
Typically, misdemeanors cost much less to represent than felony charges. In these cases, some criminal attorneys charge a flat fee – but it can still be costly, ranging anywhere from $1,000 to $3,500. In criminal cases involving felony charges, attorneys most commonly charge an hourly fee, ranging anywhere from $150 to $700 an hour, depending on the circumstances.
Can I Be Arrested If the Police Don’t Have a Warrant for My Arrest?
Yes – in California, an arrest warrant typically is not needed to arrest somebody. This is because a police officer may be allowed to detain individuals at their own discretion. This is otherwise known as probable cause: if a law enforcement officer has reasonable suspicion to believe you have committed a felony, a public offense, or any other crime which may cause harm upon another party.
Will I Have a Criminal Record That Will Show Up on Background Checks?
In California, all misdemeanors and felonies will show up on a routine background check. These marks can impact your ability to rent a house or vehicle, or even apply for employment, depending on the circumstances.
If I’m Innocent, Do I Need an Attorney?
Innocent people unfortunately end up in jail all the time, due to evidence that leads to incorrect conclusions about certain crimes. An experienced criminal defense attorney with a proven track record can fight for your freedom, ensuring that the truth about your case is upheld.
If I’m Guilty, Should I Hire a Criminal Lawyer?
Even if you are guilty or a crime, or are planning on pleading guilty, a San Diego criminal defense lawyer can be invaluable. There are still options available that can reduce the impact of the crime. For example, an experienced criminal defense attorney can negotiate for a lighter prison sentence in exchange for pleading guilty – or may even be able to eliminate prison time altogether for probation or house arrest.
This type of plea bargaining is incredibly difficult to do if you represent yourself. However, it can be much easier in the hands of a respected criminal defense attorney.
How Does California Differentiate Between a Misdemeanor and a Felony Charge?
Much like other states, misdemeanor charges are typically much less severe than felony charges. In California, generally any crime that carries a maximum potential penalty of one year in prison is considered a misdemeanor. Although standard traffic violations such as speeding and running red lights is less than a misdemeanor, offenses such as excessive speeding and driving under the influence are considered misdemeanors. Other common misdemeanors include minor drug possession charges, shoplifting, and trespassing.
Felony charges are much more serious criminal offenses, punishable by more than one year in prison. The most egregious felony offenses include murder and rape – which could even be punishable by death.
It is important to note that some crimes can be charged as either a misdemeanor or a felony, depending on the circumstances. Domestic violence, sexual battery, and assault with a deadly weapon may be charged as felonies if they are severe and egregious.