In criminal law, there are two general ways that attorneys base their fees. The first method is by billing an hourly rate and including expenses. Hourly rates can vary widely. Most lawyers who bill hourly will want a retainer to begin representation. The retainer is an amount of money that the attorney will place into a trust account on behalf of the client. The attorney will then work off of the retainer. For example, an attorney may ask for a retainer of $3,000 dollars. If the lawyer bills at $200 per hour, and the case the is resolved in 10 hours, the attorney will return to the client the remaining funds ($1,000, assuming there are no other expenses) to the client.
The second method is by charging flat fees. A flat fee is what the attorney will charge for the service. The attorney may ask for $2,500 as a flat fee. Often times, the flat fee will only apply to part of the case. For example, the $2,500 dollar flat fee may be for all pre-trial matters, that is to say, for everything up until jury selection. If the case goes to trial, the attorney may require another flat fee, or may bill hourly for the trial.
A third consideration is how the attorney handles billing. Many attorneys require payment in advance, whether it be in the form of a retainer for an hourly case or in the form of the entire flat fee agreed to. Other attorneys will accept partial payment, or payment plans and will provide you with regular itemized bills.
It's difficult to estimate what it will cost in total for an attorney to resolve the case that you mention. There are many variables that come into play. These include, what the desired outcome of the case is, what the State's position is, how complex the legal issues presented are and the amount of work it takes to resolve the case. If the case must be tried, this will add to the legal expense considerably because of the time and work required of the attorney.
These are all valid concerns to bring to the attention of an attorney that you are considering retaining. You should discuss with them how they deal with legal fees and what your expectations are. The most important thing is that you understand the attorney and that the attorney understands you.
Hope this helps.
This question depends on the level of charge. A basic charge of possession is a 3rd degree felony which will run between $2500 to $7500 on the average. The cost will go up if the charge has enhancements such as a drug free zone. If there is a large amount of drugs, the the charge can be enhanced with an intent to distribute.
I concur with the figures cited by Mr. Neeley, above.
In central Mississippi, assuming it is simple possession (as opposed to possession w/intent), you're looking at the 2500--7500 range, depending upon the facts.
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