Frisco, TX asked in Criminal Law for Texas

Q: I paid by attny $1400 to have his PI serve a subpoena and then the PI company sent me an additional bill for $862 more.

I said I paid $1400 already and while they said the witness tried to evade getting served, she was within 10 miles of the PI company. I didn't have an agreement with the PI company myself.

I was just arrested for larceny for the $862 extra.

From what I've researched, this amounts to pretty much extortion on their behalf . Could you please respond with your insight and what I should do with this new larceny case? I'm a doctor and text is best bc during work hours I'm typically with patients.

I'll need a new criminal defense attorney for this so I'd you text back with a legal answer please leave your office number so I can get in touch with you and perhaps hire you for this case. Thku

Fyi- i paid my attny in full so I'm not trying to get anything for free. I do however despise getting overcharged and now criminally charged for what seems to be outrageous fees not previously discussed.

Related Topics:
1 Lawyer Answer
John Michael Frick
John Michael Frick
  • Frisco, TX
  • Licensed in Texas

A: Typically, attorneys act as an agent for their clients in contracting for services like those of a private investigator. As with any contract, the principle (i.e. client) is legally responsible to contractors like private investigators for the cost of those services. As long as the agent (attorney) disclosed to the contractor (PI) the existence of a principle (the client), the PI usually cannot sue the attorney for the cost of the services and must sue the client absent a specific agreement to the contrary or a special law addressing the situation.

If you did not authorize your attorney to subpoena that particular witness, you may have a claim against the attorney for acting outside the scope of his authority. In that instance, you would likely still have to pay the PI, but you could recover that amount from your attorney.

Saying a witness lives within 10 miles of a PI's office isn't particularly meaningful. In an urban or suburban area, tens or hundreds of thousands of people might live within a 10 mile radius of an office. Locating and serving a witness who is evading service of process can be a time-consuming endeavor. Back in the 1980s, actor Tom Selleck in the TV series "Magnum P.I." routinely recited the line that he charges $1,000 / day plus expenses for his services as a private investigator. Inflation has affected the price of such services since then. $862 to serve or attempt to serve a witness who is evading service of process sounds like a customary and usual fee if the PI worked a few hours trying to serve the subpoena.

Justia Ask a Lawyer is a forum for consumers to get answers to basic legal questions. Any information sent through Justia Ask a Lawyer is not secure and is done so on a non-confidential basis only.

The use of this website to ask questions or receive answers does not create an attorney–client relationship between you and Justia, or between you and any attorney who receives your information or responds to your questions, nor is it intended to create such a relationship. Additionally, no responses on this forum constitute legal advice, which must be tailored to the specific circumstances of each case. You should not act upon information provided in Justia Ask a Lawyer without seeking professional counsel from an attorney admitted or authorized to practice in your jurisdiction. Justia assumes no responsibility to any person who relies on information contained on or received through this site and disclaims all liability in respect to such information.

Justia cannot guarantee that the information on this website (including any legal information provided by an attorney through this service) is accurate, complete, or up-to-date. While we intend to make every attempt to keep the information on this site current, the owners of and contributors to this site make no claims, promises or guarantees about the accuracy, completeness or adequacy of the information contained in or linked to from this site.