NATIONALLY RECOGNIZED FEDERAL LAWYERS
Last Updated on: 20th October 2023, 10:11 pm
How Much Do Criminal Defense Attorneys Typically Cost in New York?
Hiring a criminal defense attorney in New York can be an expensive endeavor, but it’s often a necessary investment when facing criminal charges. The costs vary widely depending on factors like the lawyer’s experience, the complexity of your case, and whether it goes to trial. Let’s break it down:
Average Hourly Rates
Most criminal defense attorneys bill by the hour. Rates typically range from $200-500 per hour for experienced lawyers from reputable firms. Less experienced attorneys or solo practitioners may charge $100-300 per hour. Expect to pay at the higher end of these ranges for top lawyers with excellent reputations.
Some attorneys offer flat fees for certain services. For example, a lawyer may charge a flat fee of $1,000-$5,000 to handle a simple misdemeanor case. More serious felonies often have flat fees of $10,000-$25,000 for pretrial work. This gives you cost certainty but may cost more overall.
Factors That Increase Costs
Certain factors will drive your costs higher, including:
- Serious, complex charges like murder or drug trafficking
- Prior convictions that increase potential penalties
- Large amounts of evidence and witnesses
- Going to trial vs. plea bargain
- Hiring experienced, high-profile attorneys
For a multi-count felony with lots of evidence, a top lawyer may charge $400 per hour and rack up a $50,000+ bill for pretrial work.
Getting the Best Representation for Your Budget
The cheapest lawyer isn’t necessarily the best choice. But there are ways to get quality representation that fits your budget:
- Ask about payment plans or discounts for lump-sum payments
- Hire a less experienced but competent attorney
- Opt for a public defender if you qualify based on income
- Negotiate a flat fee for specific services
Shop around, get fee estimates in writing, and ask what’s included. Never make cost your only consideration when hiring a criminal defense lawyer.
Common Criminal Defense Fees in New York
Here are some typical average fees charged by criminal defense attorneys in New York City:
|Case Type||Average Fee Range|
|Misdemeanor||$2,000 – $7,500+|
|Low-level Felony (Drug possession)||$5,000 – $15,000|
|Mid-level Felony (Assault)||$10,000 – $25,000|
|Serious Felony (Robbery, gun charges)||$15,000 – $50,000+|
|Complex Federal Case||$30,000 – $100,000+|
These numbers assume a case that settles before trial. Taking a case to trial often doubles the costs or more.
Ways to Reduce Your Legal Fees
If the upfront cost of a criminal defense lawyer seems overwhelming, here are some tips that could reduce your overall fees:
- Hire your attorney early to avoid more charges or evidence piling up
- Accept a plea bargain instead of going to trial
- Have your attorney negotiate with the prosecutor
- Comply fully with bail terms and court dates to avoid additional hearings
- Be proactive and organized in working with your lawyer
While cutting costs is wise, the stakes are high, so don’t be penny wise and pound foolish. Invest in the best lawyer you can afford.
Will Getting a Public Defender Save Me Money?
Public defenders provide free legal services to people who can’t afford a lawyer. But they have high caseloads and less time to devote to each client. In many cases, hiring a private attorney leads to better outcomes that can save you money and hassle in the long run. But PDs are certainly better than representing yourself.
Do I Have to Pay All the Legal Fees Upfront?
Most criminal defense lawyers don’t require full payment upfront. Many offer payment plans where you pay a retainer fee upfront and make monthly payments. You also won’t pay all the trial fees unless your case actually goes to trial. Ask your attorney about payment options.
The Bottom Line
Quality legal representation is worth the cost when your freedom’s at stake. Shop around to find an attorney you trust at a fee you can manage. Invest in the best lawyer you can afford, and follow their advice to resolve your case as efficiently as possible.