How Much Does a Sex Offender Lawyer Cost?
Sex offenders are often severely punished. The penalties for a sex crime conviction include imprisonment, fines, community service, and probation. Other consequences are lifetime electronic monitoring and compulsory registration with the sex offender registry. Being convicted for a sex offense typically harms the lives of the offenders. Therefore, hiring a sex crimes defense lawyer is crucial to avoiding conviction and punishment.
Blank Law, PC provides legal services to defendants charged with sex offenses. We help them create aggressive sexual assault defense strategies tailored to their specific cases to improve their chances of fighting the criminal charges against them. If you or your family member is charged with sexual assault, we can help you avoid conviction and secure your freedom. Contact us for a free consultation.
How Much Does a Sex Offender Lawyer Cost?
Many defendants assume that criminal defense attorneys cost a fortune, so they are usually wary of getting legal representation. Failing to hire a criminal sexual conduct attorney when you face criminal charges for a sex crime can adversely affect your chances of succeeding at trial. You should consider your purse when hiring a sexual assault defense lawyer, but you should not allow the fear of exorbitant legal fees stop you from seeking legal assistance.
The cost of hiring a sexual assault defense lawyer depends on several factors, such as:
● Experience and expertise of the attorney
● Severity and penalty of the offense
● Amount of time and effort the case requires
Criminal defense attorney charges for a case of sexual assault vary significantly. Most lawyers consider the potential expenses and costs of the case and may charge defendants in two common ways:
● Flat Fee
● Hourly Rate
What Does it Mean for a Criminal Defense Attorney to Charge a Flat Fee?
Some sex offender lawyers charge a flat fee for a sexual assault case. A flat rate means the lawyer will get a fixed and total amount for the legal services provided. The advantage of a flat rate is the certainty of legal fees, regardless of how long the case takes or the seriousness of the offense. Also, it is easy to plan your finances and source the funds to pay your lawyer when you know the attorney’s fees.
In some situations, a private lawyer may charge a flat rate per phase for a case involving sexual assault. Typically, the entire case may be divided into two primary phases – a pretrial phase and a trial phase. So, you may be required to pay a flat rate during the pretrial phase. Afterwards, you will need to pay the attorney’s fees if the case goes to trial. If the case does not go to trial, you will no longer be required to pay the lawyer.
Defense attorneys usually charge flat rates for simple sexual assault cases, such as indecent exposure or lewd and disorderly conduct. Complex and prolonged cases of sexual assault, like what is statutory rape and child molestation, often attract higher fees.
What Does it Mean for a Criminal Defense Lawyer to Charge an Hourly Rate?
Many attorneys charge their fees per hour, particularly civil attorneys. However, hourly rates are not as typical in criminal cases because criminal defense lawyers cannot terminate the legal representation of a defendant without the judge’s permission. Therefore, defense attorneys may be stuck in cases where they charge per hour, but the defendants have failed to pay. Complicated criminal cases often last several months and sometimes up to several years.
For cases of sexual assault that are prolonged and complex, defense attorneys may choose to charge hourly rates since they may be unable to predict how much work and time the lawsuit would require. Paying an hourly rate may also benefit defendants if the case is resolved within a short time, as they are only required to pay for the time the attorney spends on their case. The average hourly rate for a defense attorney in a rural area is $200-$300. In metropolitan areas, the hourly rate may be $400-$700 per hour.
Which is Cheaper for Attorney’s Fees: Flat Fee or Hourly Rate?
If you need to hire a sex crimes defense lawyer and you are caught between a lawyer who charges a flat rate or one who charges an hourly rate, you need to consider the nature of the charges you face if you have been accused of misdemeanor sex crimes.
Misdemeanor offenses are often tried within a short period, so paying an hourly rate may be better for you. Where the lawyer charges per hour, you only pay for the hours spent on your case. If the case does not go to trial, you would only pay for the lawyer’s work to help you fight the charges against you. However, paying a flat rate may be more expensive since you have to pay a specific amount, no matter the hours worked.
On the other hand, if you have been charged with a sex crime felony, paying an hourly rate may be a more expensive option because of the potential lengthy duration of the trial and the amount of effort required of the lawyer. Thus, it might be better to go with a flat rate option because you know how much the lawyer charges regardless of how long the case takes or how complex it may be.
What are the Other Costs of Hiring a Criminal Defense Lawyer?
In addition to attorney’s fees, defendants may be required to cover other costs and expenses related to the legal assistance. Therefore, you should ask your lawyer for a breakdown of the charges to know the exact amount for attorney fees and what relates to other costs. Examples of these other costs are:
- Expert Witnesses – Prosecutors may call expert witnesses, such as a sexual assault nurse examiner, child psychologist, or forensic expert, to strengthen their cases. Defendants are also allowed to call their expert witnesses. The lawyer may charge an additional fee for the expenses procured in getting an expert witness.
- Depositions – In some cases, defendants may be allowed to take witnesses’ depositions. The lawyer may be able to obtain sworn testimony from witnesses or other people relevant to the case on oath. Depositions often help defendants build a solid defense strategy even before the trial begins.
- Investigators – Law enforcement officers and the prosecution typically conduct investigations to uncover evidence against the defendant (learn more about how long you can be under investigation here). To secure a conviction, the prosecution must prove that the defendant committed the offense. So, state detectives and investigators may be required to help the prosecution with the case. Defendants may also employ private investigators to help them obtain evidence to establish their innocence.
If you are struggling to afford a criminal defense attorney, there are ways to hire a lawyer at a cheaper rate. You can ask for a discount or ask the lawyer to reduce the hours spent on your work. Although some attorneys may refuse, others may agree to such terms for a new client. Some lawyers may even provide a free case evaluation to new clients.
You can also research law firms or legal teams that offer pro bono services, which is free legal assistance to criminal defendants. Pro bono services are usually provided to financially impoverished people.
Why You Need an Experienced Sex Crimes Attorney if You are Charged with a Sex Offense
While cost is a significant factor when choosing a lawyer, you should not hire the cheapest attorney you find. The consequences of being convicted of a sex crime are often severe and long-lasting. You may face a lengthy prison sentence or even lifelong imprisonment, fines, and/or community service. Depending on the severity of the offense, you may be required to maintain a criminal record with the sex offender registry compulsorily or be subjected to electronic monitoring all your life.
When hiring a private lawyer, you should ensure that the lawyer is experienced. You want a lawyer who has successfully represented various criminal defendants facing sex offenses charges. If you do not want to reduce your chances of fighting the charges against you, you need to hire an experienced attorney. Learn what to look for in a criminal defense lawyer here.
An experienced lawyer will advise you on the legal defenses available and which would be most effective in your particular situation. A good attorney would also help you create an excellent defense strategy to improve your chances of beating the charges against you. A criminal lawyer respects the attorney-client relationship.
Hire Michigan Sex Crimes Defense Attorney Nicole Blank Becker
Even though most lawyers typically charge a flat fee or an hourly rate, finding an attorney is not a straightforward process. While you may struggle to find a lawyer within your budget, it is not an impossible feat. You can get excellent legal representation at an affordable rate.
Attorney Nicole Blank Becker is a top Michigan criminal sexual conduct attorney who has successfully represented many legal defendants in sexual assault cases. If you are charged with a sex crime in Michigan, hire Attorney Nicole Blank Becker to improve your chances of fighting the charges against you.
Contact her at (248) 515-6583 for a free consultation.