Are you looking for a career opportunity that is exciting and lucrative at the same time? A great choice would be to become a criminal lawyer. Not only does it have a wide variety of career opportunities, but this profession also pays high salaries.

The main challenge is mastering this subject and gaining the required experience to enter that much-coveted income bracket. If you're wondering where to begin your journey toward criminal law careers,  head straight to Superprof. The platform connects you to world-class law tutors who are practicing lawyers with years of experience. Pick your favorite criminal law tutor to learn this subject and emerge as a top-notch lawyer.

Perhaps one of the biggest factors that impact your career choice is how much money you stand to earn. You might be thinking, what returns can you get by practicing criminal law? Well, you're in luck. This post will shed light on exactly how much criminal lawyers charge for doing different jobs. We'll also be talking about how to become a top-tier lawyer and then move on to answering some queries we get often.

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What Is Criminal Law?

Before we jump to how much you can make as a criminal lawyer, it is essential to understand what this field is about. Criminal law is a broad law branch that ensures the perpetrator is brought to justice. It includes threatening and harmful crimes. Additionally, it includes criminal conduct that endangers people's health, safety, property, and moral welfare. It deals with regulating apprehension charges, conducting the trials of the suspected person, calculating fixed penalties, making rehabilitation arrangements for the accused, and assessing treatment modes applicable to convicted individuals.

Criminal law in the U.S. is different from other countries as each state has its own criminal code. Additionally, congress has also codified the federal criminal law in Title 18 of the U.S. to punish specific conduct. The criminal law codes excessively differ between the Federal government and the different states. Some legislations correspond to the common law. For instance, the New York Penal Law closely mimics the Model Penal Code (MPC).

A criminal lawyer showing evidence in a courtroom during a case proceeding.
There are several jobs in criminal law that you can secure to start building a flourishing professional life. (Source: Pixabay)

The U.S. categorizes crimes into felonies, misdemeanors, inchoate offenses, and strict liability offenses. Some of the crimes(felonies) covered under the U.S. common law include:

  • Murder
  • Manslaughter
  • Rape
  • Sodomy
  • Larceny
  • Assault
  • Perjury
  • Intimidation of jurors

Criminal law is a necessary device that protects organized societies. It preserves the interest of people to ensure their survival. This body of laws protects citizens from criminals who intend to harm them or their worldly goods. The strict and consistent implementation of criminal law is essential to ensure the smooth functioning of society.

There are several jobs in criminal law that you can get after becoming a lawyer. Not only will you get good salaries, but you also help a potentially innocent person from going to prison, and justice is being delivered.

How Much Do Criminal Lawyers Charge?

A lawyer standing next to a gavel and pile of books
The average payments excessively differ amongst states if you wonder how much criminal lawyers charge. (Source: Pixabay)

One of the things that excite many law students is how much they can make by becoming a criminal lawyer. Criminal law is highly paid since it deals with tough scenarios and strict court proceedings. This definitely makes the years and years of tedious struggle studying criminal law worth it in the end!

There is no set salary for criminal lawyers, as many of them are self-employed. As a result, they get adequately remunerated for every case, depending on the type and length of the case. Moreover, criminal lawyers are also employed by law firms to work on different client cases. If you have a job in criminal law at a reputable firm, you can easily earn up to six figures.

Legal practitioners earn distinctive sums in different criminal law careers and jobs. Additionally, the salaries of criminal lawyers vary in different states of the U.S. We are sharing below the average annual salaries of criminal lawyers in different states performing independent jobs. Let's have a look at them:

StatesFresh
Lawyers
Intermediate
Lawyers
Experienced
Lawyers
Self-employed LawyersFirm Employed LawyersDefense LawyersProsecution Lawyers
New York107684193300247800389223198987113144103495
CA81620114989$215, 987278088110600105056101992
Texas119000149790187590$228, 22311287910712096067
Florida73448848319780410009810243010243074444
New Jersey9539011189012939014987612709110613286637
Illinois6838888009920119945412195110073280478
Virginia75349890871022441087661071749998997244

Looking at the above table, we can decipher that the annual rates of criminal lawyers excessively differ amongst different occupational levels. It is evident that experienced lawyers make more money than entry-level ones as they have added experience, increasing their credibility. Moreover, self-employed lawyers earn more than firm-employed lawyers as they are directly connected with the clients without any middlemen.

Furthermore, defense attorneys earn more payments than prosecutors because their work is tough and challenging. They defend clients who are brought before the court for different wrongdoings. As a defense attorney, you must protect your accused or suspected client.

The table further mentions that every state offers different payments to criminal lawyers. Big metropolitan cities with dense populations provide high salaries and lucrative annual fees as they have more career growth and flourishment opportunities. In contrast, smaller states offer adequate or lower wages to criminal lawyers as they have fewer opportunities and scope.

Exploring Different Careers In Criminal Law

You are mistaken if you believe the only way to make big bucks in criminal law is by being a defense attorney or prosecutor. This exciting field offers a wide variety of jobs and work opportunities—making criminal law one of the best fields of study out there. The following are some of the criminal law careers you can opt for by becoming a lawyer.

Criminal Lawyer

Many criminal law graduates opt for the primary career path of becoming a criminal lawyer. Having an average annual salary of 79,800 USD, you can build a remarkable professional life. As a criminal lawyer, you can opt for defense and prosecution cases. Your primary duties would include the following:

  • Research the case thoroughly to create a winning proceeding.
  • Represent, defend and prosecute clients in courts.
  • Draft, file, and argue motions and appeals
  • Fight for a lesser charge, penalty, or damages.

Legal Advisor

After completing your degree in criminal law, you can build a progressive career path by becoming a legal advisor at an annual average salary of 77,900 USD. You should have excellent knowledge of criminal codes and procedures to advise companies and clients when a legal matter comes up. Moreover, you should also advise clients on their different courses of action to prevent liabilities.

Crime Scene Investigator/Forensic Investigator

Becoming a crime scene or forensic investigator is another exciting and thrilling job, as you will study different crime scenes by collecting evidence to solve crimes. You will collaborate with other law practitioners like police and investigators to find the culprit and its motive to keep the justice system ticking. You can make up to 46,000 USD/year as a crime scene or forensic investigator.

Parole/Probation Officer

You can become a parole officer and earn up to 43,000 USD/year if you seek a criminal law career. You will be responsible for observing, investigating, and supervising the behavior of convicted criminals on parole or probation. All you have to do is make a report on them to ensure they do not fall back into committing crimes after being released.

Private Investigator/Detective

A highly lucrative career in criminal law is becoming a private investigator or detective, as you can make 53,300 USD/year and even more. As a P.I., you will be assigned different tasks by clients, such as:

  • Gathering financial, legal, or personal information of a specific individual, group, company, etc.
  • Verify people's backgrounds and statements.
  • Find missing persons
  • Investigating computer crimes.

A great aspect of becoming a detective is that you can be self-employed without needing to work under or with anyone. This way, you will be your own boss.

A criminal lawyer presenting a case
Making a lucrative career in criminal law demands adequate education and experience in dealing with various criminal cases. (Source: Pixabay)

Paralegal/Legal Assistant

If you are a fresh graduate with little or no experience, a profitable career opportunity is to become a paralegal. You will have to assist a senior lawyer by carrying out several legal and administrative duties like researching, drafting, collecting information, studying cases with efficient lawyers, and preparing case proceedings.

Following that, you can make up to 46,700 USD/year as a legal assistant. Moreover, this exceptional opportunity is a way to gain quality experience with reputable and world-class lawyers. You can learn the actual criminal lawyering techniques by working closely with experienced legal practitioners, helping you emerge like them in the long run.

Criminal Psychologist

Bored of cliché lawyer work by drafting and presenting case proceedings regularly? Why don't you add thrill and spice to your professional life by becoming a criminal psychologist? Not only will you earn high salaries of up to 57,600 USD/year, but you will also immensely enjoy your work life.

Criminal psychology is all about profoundly studying criminals' and suspects' views, thoughts, intentions, actions, and reactions. You will have to conduct adequate research about what goes on in the minds of criminals to understand why crimes are committed. Moreover, you will also have to devise constructive solutions to stop crimes by studying criminals' psyches.

Want To Learn Criminal Law From Superprof?

While studying criminal law from notable universities definitely has its perks, if you're looking for online resources, there is no better place than Superprof. Through it, you can connect to an vast variety of highly qualified law tutors. Having verified reviews, affordable per-hour rates, and advanced technology for smooth online sessions, tutors have helped several students learn criminal law and become highly paid legal practitioners.

Every tutor's process is unique— students pick a tutor by asking different questions about the lessons, payments, and more. Most tutors also offer to give one free hour of tutoring to help students get a better idea before making a contract. Superprof guarantees connecting you to the finest tutors who can make you a lucrative career in criminal law.

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Aimen

Aimen has five years of experience working in the digital marketing industry paired with her diverse background in fields such as computer sciences, building and construction, international affairs, medicine and finance. As a marketer, she helps businesses of all sizes achieve their goals through increased brand visibility, enhanced lead generation, and proper nurturing of potential leads.