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Criminal Lawyer Fees

fees icon Criminal defense lawyers usually charge fees on one of 3 ways:  on an hourly rate; set fees for the case; or through legal aid.

Criminal lawyers with 5 years experience may charge about $300-400 or more per hour, while other more senior counsel may charge from $500 - $750 per hour, or more. 

Hourly rates will vary with the lawyer's experience, success rate, and reputation.  Some lawyers will have particular expertise in a given area, such as impaired driving, sexual assault, or marijuana cultivation, and may charge more because of their success in that area.   Lawyers often charge set fees where the amount of work involved is fairly predictable. For example, fees for impaired driving offences usually range from $3,000 to $6,000, plus taxes and disbursements.

For clients who meet the legal aid criteria, the whole amount of their fees will be covered. However, because legal aid pays substantially less than what a lawyers' normal fees would be (and in many cases, amounts to less than the lawyer's overhead), many criminal lawyers will not take legal aid cases. It is not possible to have legal aid pay for part of the lawyers fee and to privately pay the balance.

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This page last updated: 2005.03.25
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