Let's go over the different degrees of crimes here in Florida and what an criminal defense lawyer in Orlando and the surrounding counties will typically charge as a range. The type and severity of the criminal offense plays a primary role in what a lawyer must charge to represent you. Below we have listed the different criminal offenses and their degrees along with the associated pricing for each in Central Florida.

Cost of a Lawyer for Misdemeanor Charges

Second-Degree Misdemeanors: This includes simple charges and various first offenses, such as disorderly conduct, petit theft, trespassing, and more. The average lawyer will charge anywhere from $1,500 to $2,500. The cheaper and inexperienced attorneys will charge as low as $750, while more expensive attorneys will charge about $3,000 dollars.

First-Degree Misdemeanors: A First-degree misdemeanor is a little bit different. They're more serious because they're punishable by up to one year in jail and a $1,000 dollar fine. Examples of first-degree misdemeanors include domestic violence battery, resisting arrest without violence, and possession of marijuana. The average lawyer in Central Florida will charge anywhere between $1,000 - $3,500 for a first-degree misdemeanor. You can also hire a cheap lawyer for just under $1,000, or go with an expensive attorney at $5,000.

Cost of an Attorney for Felony Charges

Second-degree felonies include the purchase of a controlled substance, dealing in stolen property, and certain theft and fraud charges. This offense is punishable by up to 15 years in prison and you can expect to pay anywhere between $5,000 - $20,000 .

On first-degree felonies, or crimes punishable by death, or life in prison, it's very difficult to give a range of what attorneys quote on those cases because of how severe they are. However, most will agree that the cost for a first-degree felony is at least $10,000, often more. For the most experienced lawyers, you should expect to pay between $25,000 and $100,000.

What is The Cost of A DUI Attorney?

DUI is another case that people ask about. Typically, the average attorney quote for a DUI case in Orlando is about $3,500. The range rounds between $1,000 and $5,500 with some lawyers charging $7,500 dollars for first DUI. If you're charged with a second DUI, expect that your rate will be anywhere between $2,500 and $7,500 dollars, with some lawyers charging $10,000 dollars or more. If it's a third DUI, expect to pay anywhere from $3,500 dollars to about $1,200 with a more experienced DUI lawyer charging over $1,200 dollars for that third DUI. On third degree felonies, which are punishable by five years in prison, or a $5,000 dollar fine, or five years probation, the average range for a criminal lawyer in central Florida is anywhere between $2,500 to $7,500 dollars.

Do Law Firms Offer Payment Plans?

A common question that we always get from potential clients is if we offer payment plans. It has always been common for lawyers to require payment up front, but over the last several years that has started to change. Today, many criminal attorneys have recognized the need for financial assistance and offer payment plans to their clients. Usually, those payment plans will depend on whether it's a felony or misdemeanor. In addition to the type of offense, most attorneys are going to coordinate the payment plan with how long they anticipate the case to take. For example, a misdemeanor, on average, may take anywhere from two to six months and the payment plans will run accordingly. The lawyer in a misdemeanor case will typically ask for a 1-3 month payment plan and in some cases, they will extend it out to six months. On a felony case, payment plans will normally be a little longer as the estimated length of a felony case will take roughly 3 months - 1 year.

Every lawyer is different and every lawyer will coordinate a different payment plan. Some lawyers will require more than half down and other lawyers will only take a third down, but most lawyers will take some initial down payment as a sign that you, the client, can afford to pay your attorney fees. The worse scenario you can find yourself in is that you hire a lawyer and cannot afford to pay him and you end up being in a situation where you had a lawyer work on your case and then that lawyer is forced to withdraw from your case, because you're unable to pay the legal fees. Make sure that you are up front and honest with your attorney about what you can afford and make sure that you find a criminal defense attorney that's within your budget. However, just realize that not all lawyers are created equal. Remember, to a lawyer, time is money. No matter how you slice it to criminal lawyers, their time is to earn money. A realistic theory is that the less the attorney charges the less time that attorney will take on your case. And don't be fooled by the arguments of efficiency, that a lawyer will be more efficient. If the lawyer charges less per case then it's very likely the lawyer is going to have a large caseload to generate income and will not be able to give much attention to your case.

Take, for example, the public defender's office. They don't charge for their cases, so typically a public defender will have five to 10 times the amount of cases that a private lawyer will have. In theory, if the lawyer only charges $500 dollars a case, as opposed to $1,500, that lawyer will try to take more cases to earn the $1,500 dollars that the more expensive lawyer charges in their cases. Remember this old adage: you pay for what you get. And when it comes to your civil liberties and your civil rights and your rights under the constitution, you don't want to take a chance. It's important to find a good lawyer within your budget and make sure that you can afford the lawyer you hire.

Disclaimer: This is an objective and informational guide.  This should not be regarded as definitive fact or an automatic quote for any particular case.  Each case and situation is unique and depends on numerous variables and circumstances.

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