How to Save Money When You Hire a Criminal Lawyer

PUBLISHED ON July 10, 2021

Criminal Lawyer Toronto

A criminal lawyer is an invaluable resource when facing charges that could impact your life, relationships, career, and freedom.Criminal law covers a broad range of offences, and the penalties for criminal convictions can be severe – including jail time, fines, lengthy probation periods, and other restrictions on your freedom. But criminal lawyers often come with a hefty price tag, so here are a few helpful tips:

Hire Early

For some, it seems tempting to handle the initial court proceedings themselves and then hire a lawyer after months of court appearances and just before the trial. This is usually an unwise decision as most people charged with criminal offences have not been trained to navigate this process without professional help from lawyers.

Some clients make the mistake of taking on too much responsibility by handling preliminary appearances, unduly waiting for disclosure, or conducting their crown pre-trials before hiring someone with more experience. A criminal defence lawyer can assist in navigating this unfamiliar territory, avoiding mistakes that can be costly to reverse.

Criminal lawyers at our firm are ready to begin working on your case as soon as possible to get your matter on the right trajectory for the best outcome.

Choosing Your Mode of Trial

How much a case will cost depends on several factors including: the complexity of the case, whether the case will go to trial, and how much preparation is required. Obviously, a matter that proceeds to trial may be more costly than a matter that can be resolved without the need of a trial.  Whether a case requires applications under the Charter or Rights and Freedoms or whether a case will proceed by way of a preliminary hearing will affect the cost, too.  To be clear, for some criminal offences, you may be permitted by the Criminal Code to have your case heard in either the Ontario Court of Justice or at the Superior Court of Justice with, or without, a jury.  You do have some choice in these matters and a lawyer can provide advice as to which option is best for you. Our lawyers will explain the risks and benefits of the different routes available and the pros and cons, including the cost, with each choice.

Understand Disbursements

Disbursements can include any monetary fees over and above the amount attributed to professional services provided by your lawyer. These may be relatively small costs such as photocopying services, mileage, collect calls, or parking costs. Costs, however, could also grow substantially when it is necessary to obtain transcripts of evidence (if applicable in your case), or retain experts, private investigators, or medical professionals, for example. 

Our criminal lawyers will always advise you of any significant disbursements that might apply to your case so that you can understand the costs/benefits of such expenditures and approve them.  Routine photocopying or mileage expenses to cases located within the Greater Toronto Area (GTA) are not generally charged. 

Payment Plans

The legal process can be scary and costly, but some lawyers will offer to break down more significant fees into manageable payments that can be made on a pre-approved basis. Payment plans can be implemented and tailored to your specific needs.


A criminal record can have lifelong ramifications. Don't take a chance with an inexperienced attorney. I will fight to get your life back as I have done with countless others before you.

(416) 658-5855

Brian Ross is a founding partner at Canada’s largest criminal Law firm, Rusonik, O’Connor, Robbins, Ross & Angelini, LLP. Prior to founding this firm, Brian was a partner at Pinkofskys, a leading law firm famous for its vigorous defence of its clients.

Selected for the 2022, 2023, and 2024 editions of the Best Lawyers in Canada

Inclusion in the Best Lawyers in Canada is based on a rigorous peer-review survey. Recognition by Best Lawyers symbolizes excellence in practice and specifically, high calibre work in criminal defence.


Mr. Ross is a member of the Criminal Lawyer’s Association and Legal Aid Ontario’s “Extremely Serious Matters” Panel, consisting of criminal lawyers deemed to have the proven experience necessary to conduct trials in the most serious of criminal matters.


You will be contacted to discuss the case in confidence.