Criminal Law Questions? Ask a Criminal Lawyer.
Hello My nae is Colleen Grady. I have been an attorney for 26 years. I will help you with your questions.
Can you tell me what county in Florida is?
I am looking at the Florida rules but want to see if there are local court rules that control how to release your attorney and get another.
Yes. Did you sign a retainer agreement with this attorney?
When you paid the money to the attorney, did you sign an agreement? Do you have it?
You may want to consider not signing it. Without a signature there may not be an agreement. Let me look at the Ethics Rules. Another question, have you asked for the money back?
The attorney are permitted to talk to prosecution witnesses but it is the choice of the witness if they want to talk to the attorney for a defendant. However, they can talk to them about the facts. They can't put pressure on the witness to drop charges.
When you agreed to send the money to the attorney, did the attorney agree to be an your arraignment?
Yes, they can talk to them. They have to be careful. They can interview about the facts. If you are charged with a felony it would very unusual that an entire case be dropped prior to arraignment.
If you gave money to the attorney, I need to know if the attorney agreed to appear at your arraignment?
You don't have to take a plea you do not want. The attorney gives advice. You have a choice to take it or not.
Yes. So, if he is not appearing at the arraignment, he is not living up to the agreement and should refund your money. Look at the retainer you have not signed. Does it say he agrees to appear at arraignment?
https://www.law.cornell.edu/ethics/fl/code/FL_CODE.HTM Here is a link showing the rules of attorney ethics in Florida. The lawyer has to abide by the client's decisions.
Does the retainer say the attorney has to appear at the arraignment as you verbally discussed?
I have something on that for you.
Does it say "Flat Fee"?
Lawyers are allowed to say fees are "non-refundable". My question is: Did you know this when you agreed to send the money? Did you understand that the attorney would be at the arraignment for the fee?
Don't worry. Try to answer the questions I just asked. You have not signed the retainer so right now it is what was said between you and the lawyer
If you want to attempt to get the money back, you may want to consider faxing a letter now indicating the attorney agreed to represent you at arraignment. In the letter you may consider saying that you were not told the fee was "non-refundable" and because you did not agree to this, you demand the $7500 back. Fax that now. Indicate you will not sign the retainer as the attorney did not inform you of the "non-refundable" fees. You may consider saying that you do not believe the attorney is not offering you zealous representation.
In the faxed letter you may also consider saying that you do not agree with the attorney's behavior in saying "take the plea" or I will not appear at the arraignment.
You can also say in the letter that the attorney represented that he could get an expungement.
That is why I want you to fax it to his office. He has to appear at the arraignment if he agreed to this.
Put everything he agreed to in the faxed letter.
You will have representation. If there is no lawyer there, the Legal Aid Attorney will represent you at the arraignment.
I am really sorry you are going through all of this pressure.
At the arraignment charges will be read to you, you will plead not guilty. Then the judge will decide if there should be bail or you can be released on your own recognizance called ROR
Do not make any statements in court. They can be used against you.
When you said the lawyer is saying "take the deferral" what exactly is the plea they are offering you?
You could contact the court clerk and indicate you are ill and in NYC and your
attorney indicated he will not show for the arraignment
The judge will call the attorney.
I have seen this done before.
If you give me the name of the court, I will give you the phone number.
You would need your case number ***** you have it when you make the call.
If you are being offered that, this is a good offer.
You started with a felony.
Can you record be sealed? Did he say that?
If there is no admission of guilt, this is a good plea offer
Your case can be over today if the attorney is saying this.
It means you do not plea. You agree that the prosecutor will not go forward with the charges if you agree to certain conditions
They defer the charge for a certain period of time. If you met the conditions, the case is dismissed.
One of the conditions will be not getting any new charges in the future.
This is the best case scenario with a Felony charge. It is rare that charges are dropped in felonies.
I understand your feelings. To go forward to hearings and trial is going to take a long time. This could be over. Also, you are not admitting to anything. From what you said the attorney said you will not agree to the facts.
This is called "nolo contendere".
which means you are not contesting the facts.
You can contest the facts but it will take time and money.
If you want to go forward, I believe your attorney has to go to your arraignment. That was your agreement.
Do you want me to give you the number to the court clerk so that you can tell them the attorney has told you he will not appear?
As I said, this is a best case scenario in a felony case.
http://www.miami-dadeclerk.com/contact.asp Here is a link to the court in Miami
You already sent the email to attempt to get the money back. Call him later to followup.
I think if this attorney would probably have gotten all the charges dismissed if he could. You said he got a felony dismissed. Prosecutors are not generous in dropping charges. I worked for 9 years in such an office.
You can tell the clerk you paid an attorney who said he will not appear. I have seen judges call attorneys and get them to come to court.
Have you called the other attorney to tell them this happened?
If not, do so and see if they will appear at the arraignment for you and speak with this other attorney.
Call him and see if he can still help
If you have no further questions, I ask that if you are satisfied with my help today that you rate my service. I am sorry for all the trouble you are going through and I wish you luck fighting this.
I will be around later if you need to followup after you have tried what I have suggested.
I am following up to see if you were successful in getting the attorney to give you your money back and if you contacted the clerk of the court by the phone number I gave you?
It is possible. If he willing to not press charges, the state's attorney may not go forward. But it is all up to the state's attorney. If they think they have a case, even if the officer does not want to testify, the state's attorney can go forward with the case.
The short answer is yes. It is possible. However, it is the State's Attorney who decides whether to drop a case. It is not up to the police officer.
Did you decide to stay with that lawyer? When we communicated on Friday he had told you he was not appearing at the arraignment. I had advised you to send him the letter about zealous representation, which you told me you emailed that day.
I wish you luck with everything. Hang in there.
You can fire your attorney at anytime and hire a new attorney. However, if he went to the arraignment and/or you continued to receive advice from him, the question will be how much, if any, of the retainer can you get back from him.
https://jcorsmeier.wordpress.com/2012/08/17/florida-bar-ethics-opinion-93-3-states-that-fees-designated-as-non-refundable-may-be-excessive-and-prohibited-under-certain-circumstances/ Lawyers are allowed to say fees are "non-refundable". Please see this link that I sent to you several days ago when we first discussed this.