Austin, TX asked in Criminal Law, Civil Rights and Collections for Texas

Q: How can I get my money back from a lawyer I feel has done nothing since hiring him half a year ago?

I paid $3000 to a lawyer who assured me of good things. My husband even denied a plea bargain with the state because this lawyer said he would and he can get a better one. But now he never answers and the state wants my husband to do even more time now. He now even has warrants that he didn't have before I hired the lawyer. He never answers my calls and hardly response to my texts. He always says I'll call you tomorrow with more info. Yet half a year later and nothing knew has happened. If anything things have gotten worse for my husband. The lawyer tells us to keep low and stay home so he don't get arrested. So he looks like a bad guy hiding out but he is far from that. We want everything taken care of and now we have no money for a knew lawyer and we are stuck.

1 Lawyer Answer
Kiele Linroth Pace
Kiele Linroth Pace
  • Criminal Law Lawyer
  • Austin, TX
  • Licensed in Texas

A: An attorney has an obligation to respond to his or her client, which in this case is your husband. Even if you were the one who originally retained the attorney, it should be your husband who is calling or texting. If you don't get responses in a couple of days then send an email. If you get no response to the email, then forward the SAME email and add a message like "I'm just bumping this to the top of your inbox because I'm still waiting for a response." Email messages create a virtual paper trail in a way that text or phone messages don't, and this could come in handy if you later have to prove that the client couldn't contact the attorney. And that brings me to the subject of the contract (also known as a "fee agreement.") Your written agreement with the attorney should explain under what conditions you can get a full or partial refund. Read that and it should explain what to do next.

I noticed this question was posted in Austin. I have no idea who your attorney is, and it better not to post that information online, but I can tell you that the pandemic has really slowed everything in the Travis County courts to a crawl so the delay is not your attorney's fault. I can also tell you that, at least in this jurisdiction, the longer a case takes to resolve the better the resolution is for a defendant who can keep his nose clean. Hopefully, the new warrants are not based on new accusations of wrongdoing... the warrants are the most troubling part of your question.

It's been a year since they've had any criminal trials here so there is quite a backlog. When things finally do get moving again the prosecution will probably be in the mood to make deals to clear the backlog. The prosecution has the burden of proving their case beyond a reasonable doubt... they need clarity. All things decay with time and chaos so the longer the case takes to resolve, the more reasonable doubt creeps in.

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