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How Much Does a Criminal Defense Lawyer Cost?

People accused, arrested, or charged with a crime often ask, “How much does a criminal defense lawyer cost in Minneapolis, MN?” It is difficult to accurately determine how much a criminal defense lawyer will cost. The reason is that numerous factors impact the cost of legal representation in criminal matters. These factors include the type and severity of criminal charges, the lawyer’s experience and reputation, required time and effort, and geographical location.

Suspect with handcuffs being interviewed in interrogation room by Police officer. how much does a criminal defense lawyer cost

The best way to determine how much a criminal defense lawyer will charge you is to schedule an initial consultation with that lawyer. An initial consultation allows a lawyer to evaluate your case, explain your legal options, and determine how much you should pay for legal guidance and representation.

Schedule a consultation with Keller Criminal Defense Attorneys to find out how much you will pay for legal representation if you have been charged or accused of a crime in Minnesota. Call (952) 913-1421.

Why You Should Hire a Criminal Defense Lawyer in Minnesota

Getting arrested or charged with a crime is a stressful experience. Your freedom and social status are at risk. You are also likely to face hidden costs of a criminal conviction that may affect all aspects of your life. Your best shot at protecting your reputation, freedom, and constitutional rights is to work with an experienced criminal defense lawyer. Your lawyer will do the following to stack the odds in your favor:

Leverage in-depth Legal Knowledge to Evaluate Your Case

A proficient defense lawyer has interacted with criminal laws at the state and federal level for years and will identify those relevant to your case. The lawyer will review your charge and refer to the law to determine the penalties and the hidden costs of a criminal conviction.

You may have multiple legal options. For instance, the prosecutor may offer a good plea deal, the court may dismiss your charges, or proceeding to trial may be necessary to get a favorable outcome. Your lawyer will discuss all legal options available in your case and help you decide on the best one for your situation.

Gather Evidence to Support Your Defense Strategy

Your lawyer will collect relevant forms of evidence and preserve them to protect their credibility and admissibility in court. Evidence collection may involve going to the alleged crime scene to assemble evidence to strengthen your defense strategy. It may also involve interviewing witnesses, obtaining surveillance camera footage, and getting call records from service providers.

Protect Your Rights

Violation of your constitutional rights can happen at any point in the life of your criminal case. Law enforcement officers may, for instance, search or arrest you without sufficient probable cause. They may also arrest and interrogate you without reading Miranda rights to you. The court may also violate your due process right by taking shortcuts. Your lawyer will ensure your rights are protected throughout the process and address violations.

File Motions

Moving your case through the criminal justice system can be tough if you opt for self-representation. You may miss chances to prove your innocence. That is why you should hire a criminal lawyer for your case shortly after getting charged with an offense.

Your lawyer will file all paperwork related to your case on time. He or she may also file a few pre-trial motions, depending on the facts of your case. These motions include:

  • Motion to suppress: This motion requests the judge to bar the prosecution from admitting a specific piece (or pieces) of evidence because it was obtained unlawfully.
  • Motion to dismiss: This motion asks the judge to dismiss your case due to lack of evidence proving you committed the crime.
  • Motion to Amend Bail: Your lawyer may file this motion if you cannot afford the bail set by the judge. This motion aims to convince the judge to reduce the bail.

Effective Legal Representation During Plea Bargains and in Court

Plea agreements accounted for 97% of felony convictions realized in Minnesota in 2019. This figure reflects the need to have an experienced criminal defense lawyer on your side when negotiating a plea deal with the prosecution. A seasoned defense lawyer can evaluate your case for weaknesses and pressure the prosecutor to give you a better plea deal. The lawyer can also present evidence, raise appropriate legal arguments, and cross-examine witnesses at trial.

What Factors Impact the Cost of a Criminal Defense Lawyer in Minnesota?

Several factors can influence how much you will pay for a criminal defense lawyer. These include:

Severity of Criminal Charges

The severity of your criminal charges will affect how much a defense lawyer will charge you. Crimes in Minnesota fall into two main categories: misdemeanors and felonies. Misdemeanors are less serious, easy to investigate, and less costly to defend. As such, the cost of defending misdemeanor charges is lower than that of felonies. Legal fees, however, may also vary even within misdemeanors due to different levels of severity.

Felonies are more severe than misdemeanors and have a high risk of longer jail time, hefty fines, and restitution. Lots of investigation and preparation goes into fighting felony charges. This means substantial financial and human resources are necessary. As such, you are likelier to incur higher legal fees when facing a felony than when charged with a misdemeanor.

Required Time and Effort

How much lawyers cost for criminal defense depends on what it takes to resolve the case. Some cases are simple and require a shorter duration of investigation and limited evidence. Other cases consist of several accused persons, difficult legal questions, and evidence that requires thorough investigation.

Legal fees may increase if your case involves multiple defendants. The reason is that your lawyer may have to meet with other lawyers regularly, make additional court appearances, and address conflicts of interest.

Cases containing new or controversial legal issues may involve in-depth investigation and research. Your attorney may need to prepare and present comprehensive legal arguments to support your defense. The extra effort and time can cause the cost of defense to rise.

Cases that contain huge volumes of evidence may take more time, effort, and resources to evaluate and analyze. Your lawyer may hire a private investigator to help in the investigation and evidence collection. The lawyer may also hire expert witnesses to help interpret, organize, and present this evidence. The cost of your legal defense will reflect this additional work.

The Defense Attorney’s Experience and Reputation

Criminal defense attorneys with several years of experience and a success rate in criminal cases cost more than their less experienced counterparts. Experienced attorneys have in-depth knowledge, excellent skill sets, and meaningful connections that can be instrumental in obtaining a desirable result in a criminal case.

Seasoned criminal defense lawyers know their way around the criminal justice system. They are familiar with court procedures and how local judges and prosecutors operate. They have sharpened their negotiation and litigation skills, allowing them to face law enforcement officers, prosecutors, and judges confidently. They may also have cultivated strong relationships with investigators and professionals across different sectors who can help build your defense.

Attorneys who have successfully represented criminal defendants are often highly sought-after and may set higher legal fees. The cost of defense should not be the only determining factor when hiring an attorney. Consider the attorney’s communication abilities, practice area, and financial and staffing resources.

Geographical Location

The cost of defense varies from one location to another. Lawyers in bigger cities like Minneapolis may set higher legal fees to reflect the higher living and overhead costs. You should, however, consider factors outside the geographical location when selecting a lawyer for your upcoming criminal case.

Breaking Down the Cost Structure of Criminal Defense Lawyers in Minnesota

Criminal defense lawyers in Minnesota bill their services using different fee structures. The most common fee structures fall into three categories: hourly rates, flat fee structures, and retainer agreements.

An hour rate structure sets a specific amount for each hour a lawyer works on a case. In other words, you will pay your attorney each hour the attorney spends on your case. The longer the attorney works on your case, the higher the legal fees.

Some criminal defense attorneys enter flat-fee agreements with their clients. A flat-fee agreement involves paying a fixed amount of money upfront. The amount paid covers all expenses related to your defense, no matter the length of time your attorney works on your case.

Defense attorneys may offer their legal services on retainer agreements. These agreements require clients to pay a deposit to secure the services of an attorney. The attorney will then use the deposit to cover legal fees and other costs related to your defense. You may need to top up the retainer if it is exhausted before your case concludes.

Keller Criminal Defense Attorneys offer legal defense to people facing criminal charges in Minneapolis, MN. Contact us today for a free consultation.

Max Keller has won countless jury trial cases involving misdemeanors and felonies, sex crimes, and DWI’s. He is a member of the Minnesota Society for Criminal Justice, which only allows the top 50 criminal defense attorneys in the state as members. Max is a frequent speaker at CLE’s and is often asked for advice by other defense attorneys across Minnesota.

Years of Experience: Approx. 20 years
Minnesota Registration Status: Active
Bar & Court Admissions: State of Minnesota Minnesota State Court Minnesota Federal Court 8th Circuit Federal Court of Appeals State of Maryland

What to Do If You Have Been Charged with a Criminal Offense

One of the questions people facing a criminal charge ask is: How long does a criminal case take? The timeline of your criminal case in Minnesota will depend on the nature and severity of the alleged crime, the speed of the criminal justice system, the duration of the trial, and whether an appeal will be necessary. Delays at any stage of the criminal justice process may impact how long your criminal case will last. Generally, however, misdemeanor cases may resolve within weeks or months, while felony cases may linger in courts for up to a year.
Confidential informants may provide integral information to help build criminal investigations, but how reliable is that information when they are receiving payment for their services? To protect them, state law requires the identity of informants be kept confidential. For those facing criminal charges, however, this creates challenges in questioning the accuracy and validity of the information given at trial.
Stay calm and compose after getting accused of a crime but not charged in Minneapolis, MN. Do not discuss the facts of your case with anyone, including your relatives and family members. Hire a criminal defense attorney with a demonstrated record of winning cases like yours. Your attorney will discuss your rights, guide you on how to cooperate with law enforcement within the legal boundaries, and build a solid defense strategy to fight the charges you could face in the future.