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How Much Does a New Jersey Criminal Lawyer Cost

If youve been arrested, you need to talk with a New Jersey criminal lawyer. But you may be wondering how much one might cost. This article will explain how New Jersey criminal lawyers charge for their time.

Several factors can influence the amount of your legal bill, including:

  • Whether the lawyer prefers an hourly fee or a flat fee
  • The lawyers billing rate
  • Whether you plead guilty, take a plea agreement, or go to trial
  • The amount of related legal expenses you may have to pay

The billing method (either hourly fee or flat fee) can have a big impact on your total legal bill, as much as the actual billing rate. For example, with a New Jersey criminal lawyer who charges by the hour, you will obviously pay more the longer your case takes to conclude.

The other popular billing method among New Jersey criminal defense lawyer is the flat fee. Just like it sounds, a lawyer who asks for a flat fee has one price for his or her legal services. However, the lawyers may not include all expenses in the flat fee. Court fees, for example, are often excluded from flat fees. So you need to be clear about what a flat fee covers.

No matter which billing method your lawyer prefers, you are bound to also pay for related legal expenses not included in the billing for your lawyers time. Some examples of these additional expenses are:

  • Photocopying
  • An investigators time
  • A paralegals time
  • An expert witnesss fee
  • The lawyers travel-related expenses

Rates among New Jersey criminal defense attorneys can be competitive. But if the police have recently arrested you or a prosecutor has just filed charges against you, you may not have much time to find a lawyer.

You can try negotiating a lower fee with a New Jersey criminal lawyer. However, you must have those discussions before you hire someone. Once you hire an attorney, it is too late to re-negotiate the lawyers fee.

Hiring a New Jersey Criminal Lawyer by the Hour

In calculating how much they can charge by the hour, New Jersey criminal defense lawyers consider several factors, such as:

  • Their experience and knowledge of New Jersey criminal law
  • The going rate in the area
  • The cost of overhead to run the firm or office

If you decide to hire a New Jersey criminal lawyer who charges by the hour, youll likely pay a retainer fee. This deposit acts like a down payment. You will then probably receive monthly billing statements.

Criminal lawyers who charge by the hour may break that hour into tinier chunks, usually in 15-minute or 6-minute increments. It may seem like a small difference, but it can have a financial impact on your bottom line.

For example, consider a 5-minute phone conversation with your attorney, who charges $200. If your attorney divides the hour into 15-minute increments, you will pay $50 for that conversation. However, if your attorney bills in 6-minute increments, that conversation will cost you only $20.

Hiring a New Jersey Criminal Defense Attorney for a Flat Fee

If you decide to hire a New Jersey criminal attorney for a flat fee, make sure you understand clearly what the fee includes and what it does not.

Flat fees are rarely refundable. This means that if you decide to switch attorneys, you may not get your money back. If you have any doubts, resolve them before hiring an attorney.

Some criminal lawyers prefer the flat fee because they can get paid up front. Acceptable forms of payment and payment plans vary from lawyer to lawyer. Ask your lawyer about your payment options with a flat fee.

To better understand the flat fee option, ask a New Jersey criminal defense lawyer:

    What is included in the flat fee?
  • For what additional expenses will I need to pay?
  • Is the flat fee refundable?
  • Do you need the flat fee to be paid all at once or may I make payments?
  • Is it possible to extend the payments beyond the resolution of my case?

The Cost of Hiring a New Jersey Criminal Defense Attorney

To find out how much a lawyers services are going to cost, ask:

  • Do you charge by the hour or use a flat fee? What are those rates?
  • What is included in your fee? What is not included?
  • Can you detail the kinds of other expenses I will need to cover? Can you give me an estimate for them?
  • Is there room for negotiation in your fee?
  • How and when do you expect payment?
  • When you have the answers to these questions, youll know exactly how much it costs to hire a New Jersey criminal defense attorney.