Can You Afford Legal Representation in a Criminal Proceeding
Can you afford the $10,000 to $15,000 it will cost to hire an hourly criminal defense attorney for your case? While this price might seem outrages, it is the average value of a criminal case when hiring attorneys that cost anywhere from $150 to $700 per hour. If you’re lucky, you might find other attorneys willing to charge a flat fee of $1,000 to $3,000, but these attorneys typically only work minor misdemeanor cases. Therefore, what are your options if you don’t have the money to pay for a costly defense but you are facing felony charges? Thankfully, there are at least two options: request a court-appointed attorney or find a criminal defense attorney in San Francisco, CA willing to argue your case pro bono.
Requesting a Court-Appointed Attorney
When you were arrested, you were notified of the right to request an attorney if you could not afford one, or told that one would be appointed to you. The lawyers referred to in the Miranda rights are public defenders or court-appointed attorneys. These lawyers often get a bad reputation that is not deserved. They are hardworking, intelligent and genuinely go to the mat for their clients. However, not everyone is entitled to one of these bright minds. To qualify for a public defender, you must not exceed specific financial barriers set by the state. Although, in some circumstances, a judge will allow a defendant to seek a court-appointed attorney even when they surpass these requirements, but the defendant will probably have to pay the court a portion of their defense costs.
Pro Bono Attorney
While not every lawyer offers pro bono, or free services, some state bar associations do require attorneys to give so many hours every year. Therefore, it is not uncommon for a criminal defendant to find an attorney willing to argue on their behalf. Although, in certain situations, an attorney might only be willing to take a high-risk, high-profile case if the odds of winning are high. Therefore, it might be difficult to find attorneys willing to take on felony cases pro bono due to the possible negative press, difficulty of the case and potential public backlash should the lawyer and their firm fail.
A defendant who cannot afford to hire an attorney out of pocket and who exceeds the financial limits of the state for public defenders has other options. They can seek assistance from legal clinics or other nonprofit groups.
Are you facing misdemeanor or felony charges? Can you afford representation? Contact a local criminal defense attorney to discuss your options.
Thanks to The Morales Law Firm for their insight into criminal defense and if you can afford legal representation.