San Fernando Valley Criminal & DUI Defense Lawyers

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Cost to Hire a Good Criminal Defense Attorney in Los Angeles?

But I just spoke to another lawyer who said he would take my case for $1,500. How come you want $2,500 (Or more)?

These are words that I hear a lot. I try not like to say things like “You get what you pay for” so I will simply explain why you shouldn’t hire the cheapest lawyer around. I will also explain why it may cost a little more to hire the right lawyer for your criminal defense case in Los Angeles.

First, most lawyers have overhead or expenses associated with running their own businesses. I have an office, a secretary and other expenses like my license to practice, my car, continuing legal education and this is before we talk about the value of my time. The case law in the United States says that my time as a 20 plus year veteran California lawyer is valued at over $400 per hour. That does sound like a lot to me, but I have gone to college, then law school, then passed the Bar exam and now have been practicing criminal defense and DUI defense in Los Angeles and Ventura Counties for over 20 years. This actually means I have a lot of experience and I have a lot of experience right here in Southern California. My years of experience has a great deal of value to my clients. Clients are paying for a veteran defense attorney who sat as a judge pro tem in Los Angeles for years. They are paying for the years of experience, and ability to get great results. they are paying for not just my skills, but my relationships with prosecutors and judges in Los Angeles and Ventura. Clients are paying for a lawyer who is willing to do what it takes to get the job done, even if that means going back to court several times to work out the right deal. Even if that means filing a specific motion to get a specific result. Even if it means setting a case for trial because that is what it takes to get the job done. Even if it means putting in more hours than I am getting paid for because it’s the right thing to do for the client.

So, let’s do some math: If my time is valued at over $400 her hour and I charge a client $1,500 to handle their case, this means that I have a about 4 hours to work on their case. It usually takes close to an hour for an initial consultation just to learn a little bit about my client and his or her case. It may take me a couple hours to make one court appearance. This is simply not enough time to work out most cases. I need to read the police reports, confer with my client, talk to the prosecutor about my client’s case and possibly file and argue applicable legal motions to get desired results. I may have to research legal issues and consult with an expert or an investigator. All of these these take time and some cost money.

By contrast, if I charge a fee of $2,500 or more to handle a case, I have allocated at least ten or more hours to work on my client’s case. This affords me the opportunity to go to court two or three times, or more, if needed. I also need time to review necessary police reports and conduct needed investigations. In short, I must have sufficient time to do my job. And yes, that does cost you, the client, more money. But is almost always results in a better outcome for the client. And it always results in the client have a better understanding of what is going on with their case, giving them informed options about how to proceed with their case, and increases communication between the client and the lawyer.

And this is long before we even talk about the possibility and time and expense associated with going to trial on a case. How can a lawyer properly evaluate a case if he does not have enough time to review necessary documents, confer with his client and assess the need for any motions or need for further investigation? The answer is simple: The $1,500.00 lawyer wants to plead his client guilty as soon as possible in order to be as cost effective as possible. This almost always is doing a disservice to the client.

If you have questions about how much it should cost to hire a competent criminal defense or DUI lawyer, please call me. If you want an honest case evaluation or a second opinion about your criminal case or DUI, please call me:

Attorney Jeffrey Vallens (888) 764-4340 or (818) 783-5700 or email me at: or