If you’re reading this, you’re likely thinking about letting your DUI lawyer go and hiring another one to replace them. Well, if there’s a good cause to fire a DUI lawyer (such as the lawyer not providing adequate representation), you should disengage their services.
People who fire their DUI lawyers are typically unhappy with their services. If you have been charged with a DUI or other related allegations, you need to hire a DUI lawyer that can help reduce the penalty, overturn the case, or get you a fair sentence at the very least.
If your DUI attorney is not doing any of those, you should get one that will help your case.
Reasons Why Clients Terminate Their DUI Lawyer’s Services
There are many other reasons why people might want to let go of their DUI attorney and terminate the relationship. These include:
- Lack of experience or a misrepresentation of their ability to successfully handle DUI cases
- Lack of trust
- Poor communication issues like little or no updates about your case
- Unethical conduct or behavior such as breach of confidentiality or mismanagement of funds
- The DUI lawyer is poorly prepared
- You don’t agree with your attorney’s legal advice
- Little or no dedication to your case
Please note that due to the nature of DUI cases, attorneys are often unable to give you an outcome until they’ve defended your case in a court of law. At best, they’ll give you an idea of what they can do, but no guarantees.
Also, it’s important to remember that your DUI attorney may have to give you unpleasant news. So, even if you don’t like the news, it’s not a basis for firing your DUI lawyer. If you have other issues with your attorney, look for ways to remedy those problems so that you can move forward.
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Steps to End Your Attorney-Client Relationship with Your DUI Lawyer
If you have made up your mind about putting an end to your lawyer-client relationship, there are steps you need to follow to do it amicably.
- Start by hiring another lawyer. At Simmrin Law Group, our DUI attorneys will provide the necessary guidance you need to correctly fire the previous lawyer.
- Look over your contract with that attorney to ensure that there are no hidden clauses, penalties, or fines for breaking the contract with them. Go over it with your new lawyer if you’re unsure of the wording.
- If everything is okay, get the new DUI lawyer to write a formal termination letter to the previous attorney. Make sure to include the reasons why you feel you can’t move forward with them any longer.
- Once the letter of termination is drafted, you should send it via certified mail. Also, remember to keep a copy of the termination letter for yourself.
- Pay all outstanding legal bills so that the lawyer doesn’t hold on to your file.
- If your case is in court, it’s important to inform the court about the change of counsel.
Depending on the circumstances, you may need to file an application for a change of counsel first before hiring a new attorney. If you take these steps on time, you will avoid or minimize delays, thus allowing your case to go forward with little or no interruptions.
It’ll also give your new DUI lawyer ample time to go over the details of your case and be up to speed by the time you’re due in court.
What Happens if You Fire Your DUI Lawyer During Trial?
Although rare, defendants have been known to request a change of counsel on the morning of or in the middle of a trial. Firing your DUI law firm is a tricky issue, as you’ll need to have a replacement in place to take over after letting go of the previous lawyer.
Also, be advised that most counsels won’t take on a new case that’s already in trial or is close to the trial date, as it requires them to get up to speed with the case in a short time. That’s usually difficult because there’s often little or no time to catch up.
However, if you feel that you have solid reasons for letting your current DUI attorney go, make sure that you have alternative lawyer options who can take over the case and do a good job of protecting your interests.
Please note that you must have a very strong reason(s) (such as poor preparedness or conflict of interest) to request a change of counsel in the middle of the trial. Otherwise, the court might force you to retain the counsel—particularly if the judge feels like it’s a delay tactic or the grounds for changing counsel is unreasonable.
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When Is It Too Late to Fire Your DUI Attorney?
While you can technically get a new DUI lawyer at any time, the reality is it might be too late if the court has already passed a sentence. So, if you must fire an attorney, do it before there’s a verdict.
Otherwise, you’ll have to start an appeal process with a new DUI lawyer. That can take time and may mean serving time and having a criminal record. That’s not good, particularly if a better DUI legal firm could have prevented that.
Also, other lawyers can reject your case because they feel like the previous lawyer did everything they were supposed to do. This is why it’s best to just hire the right lawyer from the beginning.
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Can You Get Your Retainer Back After Firing Your DUI Attorney?
You might be able to, but it will depends on a few factors:
- The amount of work the lawyer has already put in
- How much is left of the retainer after legal expenses
Ideally, the lawyer should refund whatever is left of your retainer, IF there’s still any money left. However, if you dispute the amount refunded by the lawyer, you’re free to request a fee arbitration from the state’s bar association.
Hire an Experienced DUI Law Firm
The best way to avoid firing your DUI attorney is to hire a good, experienced lawyer in the first place. If that ship has sailed, make sure to do your due diligence this time and hire one with a proven track record.
At Simmrin Law Group, our DUI attorneys are experienced, skilled, knowledgeable, and dedicated to our clients. Call us or contact us online today if you want to hire a competent DUI lawyer in California.