There are two stages to a Felony Case.
First stage includes the arraignment, early disposition program, and preliminary hearing.
Second Stage is another arraignment, pretrials and eventually a jury trial, if necessary.
Some cases will resolve in the first stage, that's why some attorneys will only charge you for the first stage.
Some cases will get to stage two but resolve without a jury trial.
And the smaller percentage will make it all the way through and into a jury trial.
I have a link on my website that explains the stages more in detail.
To answer your last question, it may take months for you to know whether your case will go to trial or not. It takes that much time for a good attorney to be able to work your case and try to resolve it. Also it takes time for your attorney to gauge your case and see what your chances at trial would be like.
My advice is to not hire an attorney for everything including trial when you haven't even seen the discovery and don't know what your case is about. You could be shelling out money that you didnt need to spend.
Some attorneys allow you to retain them one stage at a time, making more sense and making it more affordable.
Best of Luck,
Anthony A. Arzili
The preliminary hearing is like a little mini-trial where the court decides whether there is enough evidence for the case to go forward to trial.
After the preliminary hearing, the lawyer needs to begin preparing for the trial. Depending on how crowded the courts are, the trial could be weeks or months away.
Exactly what counsel above states. My office usually charges for the Prelim only first and then when the case is re-arraigned in the trial court we collect the trial fees. Some lawyers will charge you the whole fee up front.