Question: How are attorney’s fees structured in criminal cases?
Benson Varghese: There are a variety of ways to structure fees in criminal cases, but they are most often structured as flat fees. Very often, they are segmented into different stages in the criminal proceeding. For example, in a felony case, it is common to have a fee that covers representation from the moment the person calls all the way through the grand jury presentation or indictment.
Once a case has been indicted, there might be a second payment in that structure, required to represent an individual all the way through the case being resolved, as long as the case does not require a jury trial. Ninety-five to ninety-eight percent of criminal cases are resolved without a jury trial, so very often, those first two capsules will cover the entire case.
The third possible capsule for a criminal case is if that case goes to trial and very often that fee is not quoted on the front end, because on the front end you don’t know the amount of evidence that the state has, whether you’re going to have experts or not, and the amount of time that will take to go through a trial.