How Much Should I Spend on a Criminal Justice Lawyer in Toronto?

If you are facing criminal charges in Toronto, you will need an experienced criminal justice lawyer. Getting an experienced lawyer does not guarantee winning the case, but it will increase your chances of a favorable result. Hiring a lawyer for this criminal case is not cheap, though it is not easy to determine an actual cost. This article explains the different factors that influence the cost of a criminal defense lawyer in Toronto and the fee structures to expect. 

Criminal Justice Lawyer

The lawyer’s experience

The average fee per hour for a criminal defense lawyer in Toronto usually depends on experience. It ranges between $350 to $800. Many large law firms, such as Brian Ross Criminal Lawyer Toronto, may have several lawyers with different experience levels. In such firms, the lawyer you work with will determine the hourly rate they charge you. That means a senior partner’s rate will be much higher than an associate’s or intern’s. During your first consultation, they will inform you of this and explain their fees. That way, you can decide based on your budget and your expectations. 

The case

How complex the case is will determine how much you spend. Defending you in court for a drinking and driving case may cost much less than manslaughter. The cost for the drinking and driving case may also vary according to its complexity. You may end up spending more if the trial goes on days, requiring several witnesses. That is why it is tough to determine how much a criminal defense lawyer costs.

The trial method

The severity of the case determines what type of trial it would. A superior court or jury trial usually takes more time and work. Such trials can cost more.

Types of fee structure 

The most common type of fee structure for lawyers is the hourly rate. But many, especially criminal defense lawyers, have adopted a block fee model, which we explain below:

Block fee type

With a block fee, the lawyer charges a fixed sum for handling the case instead of an hourly rate. So from the beginning, you would have an idea of how much the case would cost. The fee may be a single package price for the whole case or a fee for different packages. Some law firms offer both hourly and block fee options. The case will usually determine which one is the best and most economical. But the block fee helps you budget effectively since you already have a clear idea of the costs.


Whether you choose the hourly or block structure, you will have to deposit an agreed sum for the lawyer to start working on your case. The deposit is called the retainer. If you choose the hourly model, the retainer will cover a set of hours, while for the block fee, a percentage of the amount is what you deposit as a retainer. Note that some retainers are not refundable. Therefore, you cannot request a refund if the criminal charges are dropped suddenly, even if the lawyer did not do much work.


The cost of a criminal defense lawyer in Toronto is hard to determine. Many factors and variables are involved, and most times, even the lawyer can not give you a proper estimate at the start. The hourly rate model can have the bills surpassing $10000 if not careful. That is why many lawyers recommend the block fee model. Weighing your case and choosing the right fee model can enable you to lessen the cost. Also, choosing a good, experienced lawyer who settles the case on time is a smart option.

Aileen Loveland

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