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How Do Lawyers Decide How Much to Charge in a Federal Case?

Posted by Ronald D. Hedding | Nov 08, 2022

People often ask how attorneys decide how much to charge in a federal criminal case. I can only speak from my experience, having defended people in federal criminal cases for the past 30 years.

How Do Lawyers Decide How Much to Charge in a Federal Case?

Of course, I've also heard what other lawyers charge, so I have an idea of what my competition charges and what I charge, and how it is determined what the charge will be.

First, you have to look at the case and where the lawyer is located.  If I've got a case in the Central District in California, Los Angeles, Santa Ana, Riverside, Santa Barbara, or Ventura, that's all-encompassed by the Central District.

That case will appear either in the Riverside court, downtown Los Angeles court, or Santa Ana court; I know what I'm going to charge, and it's probably going to be a reasonably reasonable fee because that's local to me.

If I have to fly to New York, that will be factored into my price.  So, if you're looking for an attorney and you're out of state, and you're telling yourself, I don't want a lawyer here; I want somebody in Los Angeles. 

What Factors Determine Cost?

That is where the best attorneys are; you will get charged for it.  So, that's one significant factor – the location of the court.  That's going to determine, for many attorneys and especially for me, how much I will charge. The second factor is:

  • What you're charged with;
  • What are the allegations?
  • What did the person do?
  • How serious is the case?
  • What you're facing time-wise;
  • Are you facing a mandatory minimum?
  • Are you facing 20 to life?

Because the more serious the case, the more complex the more time-consuming it will be. 

There are many more severe cases than somebody who's not facing a mandatory minimum and has no criminal record.  That is another issue.  Do you have a criminal record?  Do you have a federal record or a state record? 

These are all things I consider when determining how much I will charge somebody in a federal criminal case.

The biggest thing when you're thinking about it, and you're deciding which attorney to get and what they will charge me, is what type of time the attorney will have to spend to deal with your case.  

If they're traveling long distances, that will require more time.  For example, if there's a massive amount of paperwork in your case, it's a massive fraud scheme, and thousands of documents will take the attorney's time.

But you can add more money if you're hooked up with 50 other defendants.  Now that attorney is in a potential trial, if that's what you decide what to do is now going to be with many other attorneys, and the case will take a long time.  That's going to factor in on what you're going to be charged.

Federal Crime of Drug Manufacturing - 21 U.S.C. § 841

If, on the other hand, it's a drug case, you're looking at much time. Still, there's not much in the way of discovery, paperwork, videos, or investigation – the attorney can be more reasonable in that scenario.

Federal Crime of Drug Manufacturing - 21 U.S.C. § 841

Federal laws prohibiting drug manufacturing are defined under 21 U.S.C. § 841 and cover many elements of the illegal drug trade practice. It's a federal crime to knowingly or intentionally manufacture unlawful controlled substances.  A conviction in federal court carries harsh legal consequences.

Drug manufacturing occurs when somebody, or a group of people, produces or makes an attempt to produce a controlled substance, such as methamphetamine, heroin, cocaine, or LSD.

Manufacturing illegal drugs is a crime in every state under local state laws. To make drug manufacturing a drug federal crime, specific factors must occur, such as the number of manufactured drugs, where it happened, and whether the manufacturing was connected to a large-scale illegal drug operation.

Federal drug manufacturing charges could be filed against anyone participating in the drug production process. This includes a person providing the chemicals or equipment used in manufacturing illegal drugs or controlled substances.

Further, it includes any person who manages the drug manufacturing facility and anyone who agrees to assist in the manufacturing process.

What Are Common Federal Crimes?

  • 18 U.S.C. 371 – Conspiracy,
  • 18 U.S.C. 157 – Bankruptcy Fraud,
  • 18 U.S.C. 1001 – False Statements,
  • 18 U.S.C. 1956 - Money Laundering,
  • 18 U.S.C. 1030 – Computer Fraud,
  • 18 U.S.C. 1341 - Mail Fraud,
  • 18 U.S.C. 1343 - Wire Fraud,
  • 18 U.S.C. 1344 - Bank Fraud,
  • 18 U.S.C. 1347 - Health Care Fraud,
  • 18 U.S.C. 1348 - Securities Fraud,
  • 18 U.S.C. 1961 – Racketeering,
  • 18 U.S.C. 2113 - Bank Robbery,
  • 18 U.S.C. 2251 - Sexual Exploitation of Children,
  • 18 U.S.C. 2252 - Child Pornography.

Contact a Federal Criminal Defense Professional

The best thing to do is to pick up the phone and call an attorney like me.  Give me some details on your case about where it is, what you're charged with, what your criminal record looks like, if there are other codefendants, or if you are alone.

Federal Criminal Defense Professionals

Once I've got some of the basic information, I'll be able to tell you, even over the phone, what I would charge.  Then you have an idea, and you can see if it's in your budget or not.

So, if you need the best if you or a loved one is charged with a federal crime, get someone like me who has the experience, understands how to deal with cases across the United States, and understands the federal sentencing guidelines nationwide.

I've negotiated with various prosecutors, so I know what it takes to get the best possible result.  I know when to fight the case because there are problems of proof, and I know when the government's got the evidence against you, and we need to take other mitigation-type moves to bring you the best result.

So, if you want the best, you've got a federal criminal case.  Pick up the phone now.  Ask for a meeting with Ron Hedding.  We can meet face to face; we can talk over the phone. 

I'm just going to need some details which will be kept confidential, and then I can give you a quote as to what I would charge for handling your case. The Hedding Law Firm provides a free case review by phone or uses the contact form.

About the Author

Ronald D. Hedding

What Makes Ronald Hedding Uniquely Qualified To Represent You? I've been practicing criminal defense for almost 30 years and have handled thousands of cases, including all types of state and federal sex crime cases. All consultations are discreet and confidential.

Contact Us Today

Hedding Law Firm is committed to answering your questions about Federal Criminal Defense issues in Los Angeles and Encino California. We'll gladly discuss your case with you at your convenience. Contact us today to schedule an appointment.

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