Q: What are my options if I could not afford $3000 legal fee to handle a criminal charge for less than US$100?
Does the guarantee from this criminal attorney who informs me of $3000 legal fee a standard criminal law practice?
"I can guarantee that you will get the case dismissed after you perform deferred adjudication probation. It is very rare that the case gets dismissed outright without some form of probationary period first."
A: That 'guarantee' by whatever lawyer you are talking to is very misleading. In every case in Texas where a person receives 'deferred adjudication probation' and successfully completes it, their case is 'dismissed'. So guaranteeing something for $3,000 that is going to happen anyway isn't much of a guarantee However, this type of dismissal isn't the same as an outright dismissal. If you are on formal probation and get your case dismissed after successful completion of the probation (deferred) that is different than getting a case dismissed without probation. Some cases can be resolved without probation (pretrial diversions, conditional dismissals, convincing the prosecutor that the case should be dismissed, etc.) If your case is in Dallas County, there are generally several options available to resolve a case without probation, especially if this is a first offense.
Hope this helps.
1 user found this answer helpful
A: And I would add that some dismissals after completion of a deferred probation can be removed from your record, while other cases of deferred probation remain on your record forever. Each case is different and each persons history and circumstances are different.
1 user found this answer helpful
A: Deferred Adjudication is a real a dismissal. The only way to get it is to enter a plea of guilty or no contest. Then the judge puts you on community supervision without entering a "finding" of guilt. If you successfully complete the requirements, the supervision is terminated. If you are not successful, the judge may proceed to adjudicate you guilty based on your plea.
These days, employers and large organizations like schools all understand that you entered a guilty plea, so for many purposes there is very little different between being found guilty and completing deferred adjudication probation. The state considers Deferred Adjudication to be a conviction for the purposes of a license to carry a handgun. See Government Code Sec. 411.171(4)
If you successfully complete deferred adjudication, you can seek an order of nondisclosure to seal the records. However, some charges have a 2-year waiting period and family violence charges can't be sealed at all, even if there is no affirmative finding.
As for a guarantee, contingent fees are forbidden in criminal cases. A “contingency fee” or “conditional fee” is a fee that depends on a favorable result in a case. A simple example would be a lawyer promising to refund her fee if she doesn’t succeed in getting a criminal case dismissed. Texas lawyers are prohibited from making such guarantees in criminal cases:
TEXAS DISCIPLINARY RULES OF PROFESSIONAL CONDUCT
I. CLIENT-LAWYER RELATIONSHIP
Rule 1.04 Fees
(e) A lawyer shall not enter into an arrangement for, charge, or collect a contingent fee for representing a defendant in a criminal case.
A violation of this rule could lead to professional discipline from the State Bar. Texas is not unique in this regard. Most states have a similar rule that forbids attorneys from guaranteeing results in criminal cases.
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