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Juvenile Crime Attorney Cost


How Much Does a Juvenile Crime Attorney Cost?

 
low costLow: Start Around $1,500-$2,500average costMedium: Can Run $3,000-$10,000; Hourly Rate $100-$300+
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Juvenile law covers children not considered old enough to be held responsible for their criminal acts; in most states, juveniles are under age 18.

Typical costs:

  • Fees for juvenile defense attorneys start around $1,500-$2,500 but can run $3,000-$10,000 depending on the severity of the charges, the complexity of the case, and the lawyer's experience and reputation -- and cases that are tried before a judge can cost even more. Some lawyers may have a flat fee for specific services while others charge an hourly rate of $100-$300 or more. You will need to pay an advance fee called a retainer, based on either the flat rate or an estimated number of hours. A lawyer working on an hourly basis will deduct the charges from the retainer as the work is done (lower rates will apply to work by paralegals or clerks). When the retainer is gone, you'll be billed for additional payment.
  • In some cases/states, the court may assign a public defender or court-appointed attorney to represent the juvenile, and the parents or guardian will be billed for the legal services -- but usually for less than if you hired a private attorney. If the parents' or guardian's income level is low, a lawyer will be provided without charge.
Related articles: Shoplifting Defense Attorney, Felony Defense Attorney, Traffic Ticket Attorney

What should be included:
  • Legally, juveniles do not commit "crimes," they commit delinquent acts, some of which could be considered crimes if done by an adult. Juveniles do not have a right to a public trial or to bail, and they do not have a constitutional right to a jury trial unless tried as an adult. Judges hear most juvenile cases, and the trial phase of a juvenile case is called an adjudication/jurisdiction hearing, where the judge hears the evidence and determines whether the child is delinquent. The court may then take whatever action it believes to be in the child's best interest -- such as supervision, treatment, placement or confinement -- with an official goal of rehabilitation, not punishment. The American Bar Association provides a brief overview of the juvenile criminal justice system.
Additional costs:
  • In addition to fees for legal services by a public defender or court-appointed attorney, the parents of a juvenile may be charged for services provided by the government, such as for food and laundry while in Juvenile Hall, or the cost of residence a detention facility, probation camp or an out-of-home placement. These fees might be waived or reduced depending on the parents' income level.
  • Some attorneys may offer a free initial consultation, while others may charge their usual hourly rate for the session.
  • Attorneys working on an hourly basis charge for any time spent answering your questions on the phone or by e-mail, as well as case-related expenses such as interviews, research or photocopies. Lawyers on a flat-fee basis may charge separate fees for each phase of the process; be sure you understand what is and isn't included.
Shopping for a juvenile crime attorney:
  • Contact several attorneys, asking about their specific experience in the juvenile courts as opposed to the adult criminal justice system. When first meeting with a juvenile defense attorney, in addition to knowing the facts of the case you should also bring the minor's birth certificate, copies of prior juvenile court records or police reports, and documentation of school work (report cards, awards), employment (wage stubs) and/or positive community involvement.
  • Referrals are available from the National Association of Counsel for Children[1] ; . The American Bar Association links to lawyer referral services by state[2] .
  • The attorney should provide you with a written fee agreement. Be sure you understand any other fees and expenses you might have to pay.
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External Resources:
  1.  www.naccchildlaw.org/?page=Attorney_Children
  2.  apps.americanbar.org/legalservices/lris/directory/
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