George Zimmerman: The High Cost of a Legal Defense

2012 Trayvon Martin Case

2012 Trayvon Martin Case (Photo credit: werthmedia)

Most people have heard of the controversial nature of the George Zimmerman murder trial. Zimmerman, who defends his actions and is claiming self-defense, is on trial for murdering Trayvon Martin, a 17-year old with a social media profile that projects anything but innocence. While his defense attorneys claim that race had nothing to do with the murder, the prosecution thinks differently. In fact, a majority believe that Trayvon Martin would still be alive today if he hadn’t attacked Zimmerman. Regardless of your stance on the case, there is no denying the fact that Zimmerman’s trial is building strong emotions from both sides.

In an effort to get a not guilty verdict, Zimmerman has hired a top-rated legal defense team to argue his case. Trials are expensive and the average person may not be able to afford a team willing to take a case for the fame. If you are charged for a crime, you have to consider the cost for legal defense. Here is what you need to know about how much you can expect to spend on a legal defense team.

Fixed Prices Versus Variable Prices

Not everyone has a group of supporters raising money to pay for their legal defense. Just because Zimmerman has bad credit does not mean that he had to leave his legal defense up to a public defender in Sanford. If you do not have a Legal Defense Fund where people can donate money to your defense costs online, you will need to distinguish between fixed prices and variable prices for legal defense. During your consultation, the defense attorney should be able to quote you a fixed price based on the case details. Experienced attorneys do not charge on a pay as you go basis because they are confident their abilities. The actual fixed price of the attorney depends on the case, and can range anywhere between a $1000 and hundreds of thousands of dollars. O’Mara and West, who are defending Zimmerman, have quoted $1 million for their services in total. While they have not be paid completely by the Zimmerman Defense Fund, this is money that is due to them.

The Cost For Expert Witnesses

Zimmerman’s team introduced several expert witnesses including an animator, a medical examiner, and a self defense expert. All of these witnesses are paid to testify, and the cost is not always included in the initial quote. If your case is complex, there may be a need for an expert witness. When you are pricing the cost of defense, see if this is included. Assume that you will spend about 10% more than quoted so that you can cover all of the outside costs.

Zimmerman may have been unemployed and working as a volunteer neighborhood watch member, but he does have one of the most experienced legal defense teams working for him to get a not guilty verdict. You may not need a million dollars, but legal defense is not cheap. Keep in mind that you get what you pay for when legal defense is concerned.


If you must use lethal force, you should be prepared to spend tens of thousands of dollars defending yourself.   It’s worth looking into self-defense insurance.   The USCCA is the only such company that offers up-front expenses and is willing to cover bail.
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