Most criminal defense attorneys in California work on a "flat fee" retainer basis. That is, in most cases the attorney will charge a single lump sum paid before representation begins. Most lawyers in this field do not bill on an hourly basis.
The retainer usually covers most services required to settle your case before trial. However, fees can increase substantially in the event complex legal issues arise or you choose to go to "jury trial."
Because of the brevity of most criminal matters prolonged "payment plans" are not usually available. While in theory the amount of the fee is negotiable, as a practical matter they usually fall within a standard range determined by the seriousness of your situation. For example, a simple misdemeanor matter might typically start around $1,500.00 to settle before trail, but that can be higher depending on the complexity of your case, your prior record, the court location, etc. Felonies are usually much more expensive.
The fees are also based upon the level of experience of the attorney handling your case. Unfortunately, because other factors can also determine the amount, fees can vary widely and it is difficult for a client to assess which fee is reasonable for any given situation. Although the lawyer that offers the lowest fee can be most appealing when your resources are low, in my experience an attorney that charges less will often lack the experience or time necessary to represent you properly. As is the case with most things, going with the "lowest bidder" is not always the best choice in the long run.
It is my custom and practice to offer my clients the best value I can for the fee that's paid. While my fees are not the lowest, they are competitive and are set with idea of providing you the most complete representation possible in your case. All major credit cards are accepted. Call my office now for a free consultation.