For years, lawyers have charged clients on an hourly rate. The rate was fixed, but the hours were not. So the case could take 2 hours, 202 hours, or 1002 hours, and the client would have to pay for all of those hours billed to the case.

For years criminal lawyers have used flat-fee-billing.  The advantage of a flat-fee billing for the client is that the client knows precisely how much it will cost to hire the lawyer to do something for the client.  If it’s to negotiate a DUI plea with the district attorney, it might cost one amount.  If it’s to negotiate a plea involving a homicide, it will cost a lot more.  And if it’s to go to trial, it will cost even more.  But the advantage is that the client knows what it will cost from the beginning.

This gives the client the comfort of knowing that, when the case is done, he isn’t going to be surprised with a bill he can’t pay.

This also gives the attorney the ability to adjust rates to accurately reflect the result being requested.  Instead of just spending hour after hour, and charging the client hour after hour in fees, the attorney can figure out generally how much time it takes him to do some service, and charge accordingly.

In addition, this gives the lawyer that comfort of knowing that the client can pay at the beginning of the case.  If the lawyer bills by the hour, and the hours simply add up, the attorney runs the risk that the attorney fees will be more than the client could possibly pay.

Flat fee criminal law and DUI law billing has been around for a long time.  Any criminal lawyer you should be able to tell you how much he will charge to handle your case.

Damon Chetson - 994 posts

Damon Chetson is a Board Certified Specialist in State and Federal Criminal Law. He represents people charged with serious and minor offenses in Raleigh, Wake County, and the Eastern District of North Carolina. Call (919) 352-9411.

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