Due to the uncertainty facing our clients, it is usually necessary for criminal defense lawyers to be paid in advance for their services. After all, you wouldn't want to be represented by a lawyer who wasn't smart enough to protect his own livelihood. Usually, the fee is based upon a number of factors: the gravity of the charge, the likelihood that the case can be resolved without trial, the amount of travel involved, and whether there will be a lot of time spent on witness interviews and the review of physical and documentary evidence.
In most cases, we set a base fee which represents the fee for entering an appearance, advising you along the way, investigating the case, evaluating the evidence, attending all pretrial hearings, and conducting plea negotiations. If the case must go to trial, an additional trial fee is required. The trial fee is charged per day according to the number of days of trial which are necessary to present the case to a jury. The amount of the per diem trial fee will also depend on the type of case, but nearly all DUI cases are tried in one day or less. If the trial will take longer than a day, we will discuss it with you in advance.
While there are a number of factors which determine the base fee, it is generally true that the more serious the charge, the more costly the legal fee. This is because a case where a life is at stake requires more work, and generates more pressure, than one where the worst outcome is merely a fine or probation. Our fees run from $1,000 to over $50,000, depending on the factors above. We take our cases seriously, and must restrict the number of cases we take so that each case gets the time and attention it deserves.
If you shop around, you will find a wide range of fees, and a wide range of background and experience among lawyers practicing criminal law. You will certainly find attorneys who charge lower fees than ours. If cost is the only issue, then we encourage you to see if one of those lawyers can fill your needs. However, we believe that trust is essential to the attorney-client relationship. That trust must be based upon your interaction with the lawyer you select. With so much on the line, there must be a good fit of personalities between you and your lawyer for the relationship to work.
Tom Hudson has tried over 350 criminal jury trials, as a prosecutor and a defense attorney. These have ranged from traffic offenses to death penalty murder cases. Since 2001, he has focused his training, and his criminal practice, on the defense of DUI cases. He is certified as an Instructor in the Standardized Field Sobriety Tests given by the police in DUI cases (a higher certification than that possessed by most officers). He is trained as a "DRE" or a police Drug Recognition Expert, and is also certified to operate the official breath test instruments of the state of Florida. In addition, Tom Hudson has taught trial technique to other lawyers, including the Hillsborough County Public Defenders Office. He has discussed legal issues for over twenty years on radio and television, including NBC's Today Show. If this is the sort of experience that you want for your defense, please contact us to set up a free initial consultation.
Our phone number is (941) 957-0500 in Sarasota and Bradenton, Florida, and (305) 292-8384 in Key West, Florida.
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