When prospective clients talk to attorneys about fees for criminal representation, they’re often caught unaware of expenses. That’s because the cost of expenses are distinct from the fee for legal services. Expenses can include aspects like travel, parking, investigation, and even expert witness preparation and testimony.
Expenses in a case may be negligible or nonexistent, or they may rival the cost of representation itself. It all depends on the nature of the case. For instance, an open-and-shut DUI might not involve any expenses, while a more complicated one could mean paying an investigator to locate and interview witnesses and a forensic expert to analyze the blood-collection process.
When speaking with a lawyer you’re considering hiring, make sure to ask about expenses. While lawyers typically can’t guarantee how much expenses will run, they can often give an idea of a potential range. Ultimately, the decision of how much to spend on a lawyer and associated costs is yours to make. Just make sure that your lawyer explains the consequences of a decision to cut costs.
For more on related topics, see Should a criminal defense lawyer include expenses in the fee for representation? and What happens to the money I pay my attorney?