How Much Does an NYC Criminal Defense Lawyer Cost?

Information About Hiring Cody Warner

The first question people often ask when they are charged with a crime is, “How much does an NYC criminal defense lawyer cost?”

The cost of hiring an NYC criminal lawyer depends on mainly two factors—first, the number of hours it will take your attorney to represent you and, second, how much he charges per hour.

This cost analysis remains the same even when your attorney charges a flat fee. When charging a flat fee, your attorney first learns about your case to determine approximately how many hours it will take to represent you and then multiplies the projected number of hours by his hourly rate to determine the total cost of representation.

The number of hours it will take your lawyer to represent you is dependent on the complexity of your case, which is impacted by many things, for instance: How many witnesses and/or police officers are involved with your case and need to be investigated? Are there voluminous amounts of digital or paper records that need to be examined? How many unique legal issues exist in your case that must be researched and analyzed?

Your attorney’s hourly rate is dependent on many factors such as his experience level, reputation, and the market rate for NYC criminal defense attorneys.

Although all attorneys know their hourly rates—even if that rate is used to determine a flat fee—most attorneys don’t advertise their rates or total costs, which makes it very difficult for people to determine how much an NYC criminal attorney costs.

Unlike most attorneys, Cody believes that upfront pricing transparency is important. Transparency is more than just transactionally efficient so that prospective clients know how much it costs to hire an NYC criminal defense lawyer—transparency fosters a strong attorney-client relationship because clients know that their attorney isn’t playing fast and loose with their fees.

NYC Criminal Defense Attorney Cody Warner’s Pricing

For most cases, Cody lets his clients choose between flat fees or hourly billing for their legal costs.

NYC Criminal Lawyer Hourly Rate

Cody’s hourly rate is $325 per hour — a competitive rate in New York City for experienced, high quality criminal defense. When clients choose to be billed by the hour, they pay an upfront retainer deposit, and Cody deducts his hourly rate from the retainer as he performs work. If Cody is able to resolve the case before the retainer funds are depleted, then his clients are refunded the remaining balance. In the event that the case requires more legal work than is covered by the retainer deposit, Cody’s clients receive a monthly bill for any work performed that goes beyond the retainer deposit.

When you are billed by the hour, you pay your lawyer for the exact amount of time it takes him to handle your case. As shown below, a criminal case can go through many–or very few–stages, depending on the specifics of each case. The number of stages your case goes through will ultimately impact your total bill.

Stages of an NYC Criminal Case

Stage 1: Arraignment

Your arraignment is your first court appearance, when you are officially charged with an offense. Some cases—typically misdemeanors where you are issued a Desk Appearance Ticket (DAT)—can occasionally be resolved favorably at the arraignment. For such petty cases, it’s not uncommon for an NYC criminal defense attorney to work out a deal with the district attorney’s office at the arraignment that results in the charges eventually being dropped. When a case is resolved at the arraignment, a person can keep their legal costs very low.

Stage 2: Pre-Omnibus Motion

If your case doesn’t conclude at your arraignment, you can expect many things to happen during the weeks that follow. Your attorney conducts investigations, reviews available evidence from the prosecution, researches and analyzes legal issues, serves subpoenas needed to obtain evidence from third parties, corresponds with all parties, and negotiates with the prosecution in an effort to obtain a dismissal or an acceptable plea offer.

The length of this stage can widely vary—from a day to many months—and it ends when either your case is resolved or the court adjourns the case for your attorney to file an omnibus motion.

Stage 3: Omnibus Motion

If the court adjourns your case for your attorney to file an omnibus motion—a lengthy written motion that is tailored to your individual case and helps ensure that your rights are protected throughout the remainder of the matter—certain procedural steps have occurred in your case that indicate your case is moving forward. For a misdemeanor, the allegations have been sworn to by witnesses under the penalty of perjury. For a felony, your case has been heard by a grand jury, which decided that sufficient evidence exists to issue an indictment. By the time your attorney must write your omnibus motion, all the prosecution’s evidence—barring a few potential exceptions—is available for review. During this stage your attorney can conduct a complete and thorough evidence review, which allows him to incorporate all possible legal arguments into the omnibus motion. Depending on the arguments and issues raised in the omnibus motion, the court may dismiss your case or the prosecution may decide to offer a better deal. Consequently, cases that reach this stage are often resolved without resorting to trial.

Stage 4: Hearings and Trial Preparation

If the court won’t dismiss your case and the prosecution won’t offer an acceptable resolution, then your case proceeds to trial. Before trial, you may have pre-trial hearings that your attorney requested in your omnibus motion. Pre-trial hearings are typically conducted for the court to determine whether certain evidence will be admissible at trial.

To prepare for hearings and trial, your attorney must do many things, like outline all the evidence, develop an overall trial strategy, draft compelling opening and closing statements, research legal arguments, prepare for jury selection, draft questions to cross-examine the prosecution’s witnesses, coordinate with any defense witnesses who will testify, and prepare you for what to expect.

This stage can last much longer than expected. Sometimes, a case may be on for trial for over a year. Since the prosecution has the burden to prove their case, they must align the scheduling for all their witnesses, which can be very difficult, especially for complex cases with many witnesses. Consequently, the prosecution is often not ready for trial. If they are not ready for trial for an extended period, your right to a speedy trial may be violated and your attorney can file a motion to dismiss your case. Further, when the prosecution prepares for trial, they sometimes realize their case is not as strong as expected and they may offer a better deal. Accordingly, many cases that are adjourned for trial don’t actually go to trial, and therefore many people whose cases are adjourned for trial ultimately don’t have to pay the extra legal costs of a case that actually goes to trial.

Stage 5: Trial

If your case is one of the rare few that goes to trial, then your attorney executes the prepared trial strategy. Trials vary significantly in length, with some misdemeanors taking less than a day and very complex felonies taking months. Generally, most misdemeanor trials last several days and most felonies last less than 10 days. Each evening during trial, your attorney assesses that day’s developments in your trial to make sure that your defense is optimized. Although the cost of hiring an NYC criminal lawyer can become expensive if a case goes to trial, most cases are resolved long before a case goes to trial, so the legal costs are typically much lower. If a person decides to take their case to trial, they usually have very good, strategic reasons for that decision, so although the legal costs of trial can be high, going to trial is sometimes the right decision.

NYC Flat-Fee Criminal Lawyer

Cody also offers flat-fee pricing for many cases. As shown above, a case can go through many stages–including various pretrial stages. If a case goes through many stages, the costs can add up and create extra anxiety for clients. Although some complex cases have unpredictable time requirements that make flat rates unfeasible, for many common cases Cody can determine a fair flat-fee. Many clients prefer flat fees, because they provide certainty about the legal costs. For pre-trial work, Cody’s flat-fees begin at $3,000 for simple misdemeanors and go higher, depending on the complexity and seriousness of the case. Pre-trial work for most felonies begins at $10,000, and pre-trial work for federal crimes and serious state felonies such as drug trafficking and homicide begins at $20,000.

Hiring NYC Criminal Defense Attorney Cody Warner

If you are interested in hiring Cody Warner to represent you or your loved one, he can be reached 24/7 for immediate representation. He also offers free consultations—virtual or in-person. During your consultation, you will discuss your case with Cody, and he will propose a legal strategy and cost structure to implement for your case. If you would like to move forward with the proposed strategy, you can retain him as your lawyer, and he will get started putting the plan into action.