How Much Do Criminal Lawyers Charge To Take Up On A Criminal Case In Toronto?

Whenever you need help with a court case, contacting a lawyer is always better than navigating the complex legal system yourself.

This is even more true for criminal cases where the authorities will level multiple allegations to convict you. But most citizens are hesitant about contacting a criminal lawyer because they hear stories about lawyers dragging a case on for years to extract a higher amount.

Today’s guide breaks this myth and looks at the standard rates of criminal lawyers in Toronto.

Criminal Lawyers Charge

How Much Do Criminal Lawyers Charge To Take Up On A Criminal Case In Toronto?

How much you pay a defence lawyer depends on several factors, foremost among which are the complexity of the case and the lawyer’s experience. But you will find that most criminal lawyers charge an average hourly rate to cover all costs. 

These hourly rates can vary from $165 for an inexperienced lawyer with less than a year of experience to $350 for lawyers with decades of work experience under their belt. That’s not to say these rates are binding because experienced lawyers can charge more, such as between $75 and $750 an hour.

Also, certain lawyers have a flat rate based on whether the case goes to trial. For cases resolved without criminal proceedings, you may have to pay between $1,500 and $10,000. On the other hand, to fight cases taken up in court, some lawyers charge $4,000-$50,000.

Block Fee Structures

In recent times, more Toronto criminal lawyers have turned to block fee billing to ensure they are paid their due for the overall management of the case. At the beginning of the case, you are required to pay a single fee, but lawyers reserve the right to introduce extra charges depending on how the trial pans out.

These are usually introduced to account for unanticipated expenses, such as requesting the services of an expert witness or booking additional trial dates. But what’s stopping lawyers from exploiting this fee structure and extracting more payments from clients?

Contrary to belief, block fee payments offer greater transparency than hourly or flat charges, allowing you to know about individual costs related to the case. Moreover, such defence lawyers are motivated to secure a positive outcome quickly, something clients will further appreciate.

What Does The Data Reveal?

Although it’s impossible to provide an accurate estimate, the Canadian Lawyer’s 2020 Legal Fees Survey revealed the average cost of a one-day criminal trial in Toronto was $6,111. Meanwhile, the national average was $5,291, meaning clients paid 15% more in Toronto.


While calculating the fees of a defence lawyer, it’s important to factor in the cost of retainer charges.

Retainer fees are the upfront deposit you must pay for the lawyer to take up the case, and it’s usually a certain percentage of the total block fees. The remaining amount is paid through a fixed number of billable hours.

But remember that retainer costs are non-refundable, irrespective of the outcome or how long it takes to solve the case. So, contact a criminal lawyer today to know more about their latest rates!