2024 How Much Does a Criminal Defense Lawyer Cost in New York?

When you’re arrested in New York, your mind can quickly be swarmed with thoughts about how you’re going to find and afford an attorney. While your situation may seem frightening, you don’t have to go through it alone. Luckily, New York criminal defense lawyers are willing to represent and support you through challenging times, and some of them may even negotiate pricing to find a deal that works for you.

The Average Cost of a Defense Lawyer in New York

The average cost of a criminal defense lawyer in New York varies greatly. If you’re looking at a lawyer who charges hourly, you may find that the average pricing ranges from $150 to $900+ per hour. If you’re talking to an attorney who charges a flat rate, the total will largely depend on the type of crime you were accused of. Flat fees can start around $2,000 for misdemeanors and reach up to $10,000+ for felony cases.

While it may seem like there is a large difference between flat rates and hourly rates, they generally add up to similar totals in the end. This is because when an attorney charges a flat rate, they are estimating the amount of hours that they will spend representing your case. Then, instead of charging you per hour, they simply allow you to see the full price of your case and let you pay according to varying terms.

What Impacts the Price of a Defense Attorney?

When looking for a criminal defense attorney, you’ll need to keep a variety of details in mind that can impact their pricing, such as:

  • The Lawyer’s Experience: You may find that many successful attorneys who have been working for long periods of time charge more than attorneys who have just started practicing. This is not only because their experience gives them an advantage in the courtroom, but it also proves that the lawyer has been consistent and effective for many years.
  • The Lawyer’s Success Rate and Reputation: Certain defense attorneys are able to charge more than others because of their reputations. For example, a defense attorney who has won multiple nationally recognized cases may charge more than an attorney who has only defended a few local cases.
  • The Type of Charge You’re Facing: The charge you’re facing will have an immense impact on how much your attorney costs. This is because representing a small misdemeanor is much different than representing someone facing a federal felony. If you’re unsure how much your charge may affect a defense lawyer’s pricing, don’t be afraid to ask questions during a consultation.
  • Retainer Fees: Some defense attorneys charge retainer fees. Retainer fees are payments that “reserve” a lawyer’s time, similar to a down payment. If an attorney does charge a retainer fee, it’s most likely that it is in addition to their hourly or flat rate. Make sure that you discuss retainer fees with an attorney before hiring them to ensure that you don’t face any surprise costs.

How Do You Choose the Right Criminal Defense Attorney?

While the process of choosing a defense attorney can seem complex, it can be simple if you ask the right questions. If you’re meeting with a defense attorney to discuss working together, try asking them these questions:

  • How long have you been working in criminal defense?
  • Do you have experience with my type of case?
  • Have you been successful with cases like mine before?
  • What are your average rates and fees for this type of case?
  • What is your communication style like?
  • Will we stay in contact often?
  • Are you open to negotiating pricing for those who are struggling financially?


Q: What Does Pro Bono Mean?

A: In some cases, a defense lawyer may feel compelled to take on a case pro bono. The term “pro bono” simply means that the attorney chooses to work on the case voluntarily and is not asking for payment from their client. While most cases of pro bono representation are seen in nationally viewed situations, many defense attorneys are willing to adjust their rates or work pro bono when a situation calls for it.

Q: Can You Negotiate a Retainer Fee With a Lawyer in New York?

A: Whether you are able to negotiate a retainer fee will most likely depend on the attorney you are talking to. Many defense lawyers are firm on their pricing but tend to be willing to help those in need. However, this doesn’t mean that they are willing to waive fees just because you don’t want to pay them. If you have a substantial reason to negotiate a retainer fee, be honest and discuss your needs with the attorney in question.

Q: What Is a Contingency Fee?

A: When a lawyer charges a contingency fee, it means that they will only charge their client if they win their case or get an agreed-upon outcome. Contingency fees cannot be used by criminal defense lawyers and are most commonly used by personal injury and family lawyers. It is illegal for a criminal defense attorney to charge contingency fees on a criminal defense case in New York.

Q: When Should You Hire a Criminal Defense Lawyer in New York?

A: You should always hire a criminal defense lawyer after you’re arrested, regardless of how you want to plead. This is because a defense lawyer can provide you with professional advice on your situation as well as options on what to do next. Without a lawyer’s help, you can easily incriminate yourself or make your situation worse. If you or someone you love was arrested for a criminal offense in New York, do not postpone retaining a defense lawyer.

Exceptional Criminal Defense in New York

At Greco Neyland, PC, we take pride in the exceptional criminal defense services that we provide. By having three skilled defense attorneys leading our clients, we consistently provide superior support and representation for those facing criminal accusations. If you were accused of a crime in New York, contact Greco Neyland, PC, to find out how we can represent you today.

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About The Author

Jeffery Greco

Jeffery Greco is an attorney providing legal services covering Criminal Defense and Criminal Defense: White Collar and Criminal Defense: DUI / DWI. Jeffery Greco, who practices law in New York, New York, was selected to Super Lawyers for 2020 - 2023. This peer designation is awarded only to a select number of accomplished attorneys in each state. The Super Lawyers selection process takes into account peer recognition, professional achievement in legal practice, and other cogent factors. Prior to becoming an attorney, he studied at South Texas College of Law Houston. He graduated in 2004. After passing the bar exam, he was admitted to legal practice in 2005.

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