A misdemeanor defense attorney can charge fees that range from the lower end for a less complex misdemeanor charge that could ultimately get dismissed, to higher fees for a more complex charge that could lead to trial.
Regardless of the misdemeanor charge you receive, we highly recommend that you get an experienced defense attorney who can help you to obtain the best outcome for your case.
Factors that Determine Attorney Fees
An attorney will typically charge either an hourly fee where they bill you for each hour they have worked on your case or a flat fee of the estimated overall value of their work.
Attorneys take into consideration various factors before setting their fees for a misdemeanor. This includes:
1. Type of Misdemeanor Charge
The misdemeanor classification depends on the severity of the charge. For example, a more serious offense such as possession of 35 grams or less of marijuana is categorized as a Class A misdemeanor, whereas a less serious offense such as driving with a suspended license is categorized as a Class D offense.
- Class A Offense is punishable by up to 1 year of jail time and/or up to a $2000 fine.
- Class B Offense is punishable by up to 6 months in jail and/or up to a $1000 fine.
- Class C Offense is punishable by up to 15 days in jail and/or up to a $750 fine.
- Class D Offense is punishable by up to a $500 fine.
A misdemeanor defense attorney will take into consideration the type of misdemeanor charge you receive, as a factor for their fee determination. The lower the charge, the lower the attorney fee, whereas a higher charge would lead to a higher fee. Therefore, understanding the severity of each charge will help you to assess whether an attorney is charging you a fair fee.
2. Reasonableness of the Fee
Attorneys are required to charge their clients a reasonable fee to represent them in a misdemeanor case. Rule 4-1.5 outlines the reasonableness factors that an attorney must comply with in setting their fee.
The reasonableness factors include charging based on:
- The average fee for a similar misdemeanor charge in that jurisdiction: We recommend that you compare the fees you have been offered to ensure that your selected fee does not exceed the custom fee in your jurisdiction for a similar offense.
- The attorney’s skill and reputation: An attorney may charge a higher fee if they have long-term experience, an excellent reputation, and a history of successful outcomes for their clients.
- Timing: If an attorney has a limited amount of time to work on your case, this may lead to higher attorney fees. Therefore, we recommend speaking with an attorney as soon as you have been charged.
Learn About Your Rights Under Missouri Law
Contact us to provide details about your misdemeanor charge and receive a personalized breakdown of our fees for your case.
With over 25 years of experience as a criminal attorney and prior experience as a chief assistant prosecutor, I can help you navigate your misdemeanor case to a successful resolution. Schedule a free initial consultation today.