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What Is a Retainer?

What is a Retainer Fee?

A "retainer" is an advanced fee usually based on the lawyer's hourly rate. Think of a retainer as a "down payment" against which future fees and costs are billed. Usually the retainer is placed in a special account and costs are deducted from there. Bear in mind that a retainer fee usually is non-refundable. A retainer fee can also mean that you pay a retainer to have a lawyer on-call to handle your legal problems over a period of time.

Do Retainer Fees differ if you have been charged in a criminal case?

While some attorneys charge hourly rates in criminal cases, most criminal cases are made on a flat fee basis.  The lawyer will quote a fee, or a schedule of fees depending on how the case progresses.  In this case, the retainer will be the amount that is required up front before the lawyer will begin work or enter an appearance on behalf of the defendant. An example may be that in a misdemeanor case of possession of marijuana, the attorney will have a flat fee for handling the entire case.  A DUI case may have a flat fee plus additional fee if the case proceeds to trial or suppression hearing.  A felony case will likely have a larger fee, with an initial retainer to show the attorney that regular payments will be made.

How much is a retainer?

Each attorney is different.  Most attorneys set their retainer based on the charges or anticipated charges in the case.  A misdemeanor will have a lower retainer than a felony.  The more severe the charges and the more complex the case, the larger the retainer.  Contact the attorney directly to inquire about retainer and fees. For consultation in Northern Kentucky, call the Bouldin Law Firm at 859-581-6453 or email Michael Bouldin at [email protected].

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