How much do the best criminal lawyers perth cost?

How Much Is It For A Criminal Lawyer Lawyers conjure up the idea of expensive suits, cars, and…

How Much Is It For A Criminal Lawyer

Lawyers conjure up the idea of expensive suits, cars, and decanters of scotch whisky being drunk in high-rise buildings. But this Hollywood interpretation is rarely the case.

Whether you’re facing charges or going in for a police interview, getting legal assistance is something we all might be faced with at some point. But at what cost? Some of the best criminal lawyers Perth are notoriously expensive to hire, and sometimes people are left with no choice to defend themselves – often resulting in longer terms of imprisonment or heavier fines and sometimes admitting to crimes they didn’t even commit. Lawyers serve an important role in representing clients to their best ability – and that often comes with a big price-tag. Here’s all you need to know about hiring a lawyer and the costs you might face along the way. 

Industry rates: hourly vs fixed rate

In Australia, there are laws that determine what kind of rates 70% of lawyers can charge, and as a result, legal fees payable are generally standardised across the industry according to the level of seniority and experience. Then there’s the difference between hourly and fixed rates. Here’s how these two payment schemes stack up.

Hourly payments

expect lawyers to charge anywhere between $250 and $700 per hour. This is time spent working on your case and not time spent getting to know the laws surrounding your case. A lawyer should already be completely aware of all the case law or legislation that pertains to your particular matter. For example, your payments should only cover the time spent actually forming a case in your defence.

Fixed-rate

law firms are increasingly using this method for smaller convictions or jobs like drafting wills and reviewing contracts, where fixed rates are more appealing to those who may not be able to afford expensive hourly rates if the case is prolonged. If a legal issue is very predictable – lawyers often will offer a fixed rate to carry out the work required.

Lawyer experience is everything 

Lawyers with more expertise and higher seniority will charge more for their services. This is because the best criminal lawyers Perth with more experience are more likely to be in higher demand, and also because the expectations of a favourable outcome in court are higher than with a junior lawyer for example. If you’re needing a lawyer for a police interview – you won’t be needing a senior partner to sit at your side, a lawyer or associate will probably be enough to get you through simple questioning.

Your circumstances will also determine the cost

Why is it that even with a cheap lawyer I could wind up paying thousands? On an hourly rate, even a cheap lawyer can get expensive if your case takes longer than expected to complete – or if circumstances arise that delay or make your position harder to defend. For example, if you’re criminal charges that are complex in nature and defending your position will require not just a large amount of research, interviews, and preparation but also the experience required in court to convince a jury – you could be up for a large amount and often will be asked to pay a retainer fee which is like a bond payable at the start in case of failure to pay at the end. 

Try to find free initial consultations 

If you’re thinking of reaching out to a lawyer, but aren’t sure whether you’re going to actually need representation there are ways of getting initial legal advice without paying hefty retainers and committing to hourly or fixed rates. Free initial consultations are becoming more popular at law firms wanting to provide more equal access to legal representation and greatly benefits those who need peace of mind regarding a certain matter. Free consultations are usually 15 minutes long, with some law firms offering free 30-minute consultations. During this time, you should expect some of the following:

  • A straightforward discussion about your circumstances and the legal options available to you.
  • A clear pathway forward with expectations adjusted accordingly.
  • A clear payment plan of how and what they will charge you. 

State legal aid services are available to those who cannot afford private representation and can assist with giving advice over the phone and drafting letters. You can apply for legal aid if your case demands more complex attention. Whether you qualify for legal aid will depend on the merits of your case and your ability to pay. 

For access to the best criminal lawyers Perth, be prepared to do a bit of searching and weigh up your circumstances against the kind of lawyer you’ll need to represent you.

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