If I go to court and my attorney doesn’t show up because I owe him 900.00 dollars. What happens to next?

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If I go to court and my attorney doesn’t show up because I owe him 900.00 dollars. What happens to next?

Asked on June 26, 2009 under Criminal Law, Texas

Answers:

Roy L. Reeves / Reeves Law Firm, P.C.

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

This is a good question and not too uncommon.  However, you did not specify the context of "next".  Specifically, are you asking for legal remedies or are you asking what the court will do?  To complicate matters, do you know your attorney will not appear and how do you know this?

If you asking if you have any leverage against your attorney to make him/her come to court when you have not paid, the answer is not likely.  Most attorneys have a clause in the representation agreement stating they can withdraw if you do not pay for services.  That said, the "proper" way for the attorney to deal with this issue is to file a Motion to Withdraw, send you a copy, show up at the hearing with the contact in hand as evidence and get the Judge's blessing for him/her to leave.  Even if this clause is not in the contract, Judges, with rare exception, have practiced law themselves and are most willing to let an attorney out of a case if he/she is not getting paid.

Following up on that last thought, what will the court do?  That, like so many things in the law depends on several factors.  Is this the first appearance, last appearance, do you have a plea bargain established, is the hearing for discovery purposes or some other pre-trial motion, or is this the trial we are talking about, and even then is it set before Judge or Jury, and lastly, do you qualify for a court appointed attorney and is your current attorney on that court's appointment list?

The best thing you can do, while it may not be to your liking, is to pay the attorney.  If you owe him/her $900, depending on the charge, you are most likely going to find paying the $900 cheaper than hiring new counsel, who will have much of the groundwork laid, but will still have to redo some of the work and charge accordingly.  If this is not an option, call your attorney, ask for a payment plan, and if that is not an option, be prepared to sign an agreed Order on your attorney's withdrawal in exchange (I would do this) for him or her printing out a Motion for Continuance for your signature.  At least that way you will have the proper way to ask for more time.

Hope that helps.

Reeves Law Firm, P.C.

www.planoattorney.net


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