Although the criminal lawyer cost can be a source of concern for many individuals, it is crucial to have an experienced criminal attorney to ensure that you receive the most effective legal representation possible.
Are you facing criminal charges and wondering about the cost of hiring a criminal lawyer? In this guide, we will discuss the fee arrangement of criminal lawyers and what you can do if you can’t afford to hire one.
Understanding The Economics of Criminal Legal Practise
It is important to understand the fee arrangement of a criminal lawyer before engaging in their services. Typically, lawyers for criminal cases charge fees using fixed fee arrangements or hourly rates.
- Fixed Fees
A fixed fee is charged for a defined scope of work in a criminal case, i.e., legal services for a specific stage or the entire case. The fixed amount is set based on the circumstances of the case, the lawyer’s experience and expertise, and the time and resources utilized to handle the case. It gives clients a clear idea of how much they will have to pay for a criminal lawyer’s services, regardless of the time spent on the case.
- Hourly Rates
Hourly rates are based on the time spent by the lawyer working on the case.
Hourly billing is less common in criminal law practice because such cases require significant time, which can result in unpredictably high legal fees for the clients.
Criminal Lawyer Fees For Pleading Guilty And Claiming Trial
The charges of criminal lawyers for pleading guilty and claiming trial are substantially different in Singapore.
- Charges in The Case of Pleading Guilty
If you are pleading guilty, the primary focus of your criminal lawyer is to negotiate with the prosecutor for the lowest possible sentence. The scope of work is significantly reduced and is easy to replicate for the criminal lawyer because the defendant has already admitted the crime. As a result, the lawyer’s fee for pleading guilty or generally lower compared to claiming trial cases.
It is cost-effective for clients to go with fixed-rate criminal lawyers in pleading guilty cases to receive quality legal services at predictable and transparent costs.
- Charges in The Case of a Claim For Trial
Unlike pleading guilty, claiming trials require demanding legal services such as researching and analysing the evidence, cross-examining witnesses, preparing legal arguments, and presenting the case in court. Due to the more extensive legal process, the cost of a criminal lawyer for a claim trial is generally higher.
Choosing an hourly-billing criminal lawyer can be beneficial if money is not an issue. It may be expensive, but it will ensure that your lawyer does what you need them to do.
When do Criminal Lawyers Expect to be Paid?
The timing of payment can vary based on the fee arrangement agreed upon with the client.
1. Payment Upfront
In this arrangement, the client is expected to pay the full amount to the lawyer before they start working on the case.
2. Monthly Retainer Basis
In this arrangement, the client is expected to pay a fixed amount to the criminal lawyer each month to cover their legal services. The monthly retainer is an estimate of the total amount that will be charged for the lawyer’s services.
Criminal charge receipts are generated monthly, and the lawyer will continue working on matters after you have paid.
3. Representation Before Payment And Payback
Sometimes, the criminal lawyer may agree to provide legal representation before receiving payment. This arrangement is made in cases where the clients face financial challenges or cannot pay upfront. However, the client must sign an agreement with the lawyer to pay the fees owed later or in installments with interest.
If the criminal lawyers have not received payment for their services, they can terminate their representation of clients, even on the day of trial or guilty plea. So, make sure to pay your lawyer in advance to avoid any last-minute disruptions to your case.
What if You Cannot Afford to Hire a Criminal Lawyer?
If you are unable to afford a criminal lawyer in Singapore, there are several options:
- Pro Bono Criminal Lawyer
Pro-bono Criminal lawyers work voluntarily and provide legal assistance for free or for a reduced fee.
Under the Pro-Bono Services Act 2007, lawyers who provide free legal services to individuals accused of crimes can claim their fee from the state, which is managed by the ministry of law. This law ensures that people who can’t afford legal representation still have access to a fair trial.
- Legal Aid
If you cannot afford the fees of a criminal lawyer, you can apply for legal aid provided by the Law Society of Singapore. Legal aid is only available to Singapore citizens and permanent residents who meet the eligibility criteria.
- Self – Representation
Self-representation is another option if you cannot afford a lawyer. This approach is usually not recommended for complex criminal cases, which require legal training and expertise.
Get Expert Legal Help at Affordable Rates.
Are you looking for an experienced criminal lawyer to handle your case in Singapore? At Prestige Legal LLP, we believe in providing swift, affordable, and high-quality legal services to Singaporeans. We have a team of professional lawyers who deeply understand Singapore’s legal system and will assist you throughout the legal procedures.
So, book your free consultation today and allow us to help you navigate the legal system with confidence.