Thursday, November 4, 2010

The morning mail

I have a client who received a handful of moving violations recently and was forced by the justice of the peace to plead guilty to one of them. Not wanting to have a conviction on her driving record, we filed an appeal to the county court.

We received notice from the district clerk's office of the setting for the appeal. Then the lawyer letters began pouring in. These are some snippets from the various letters she received:
"Public arrest records form the Harris County District Clerk's Office indicate that you have recently been charged with a criminal offense. This is a serious matter. You could go to jail and be fined thousands of dollars."
"Over the next couple of days, we suspect that you will receive many letters from attorneys trying to get your business. Selecting a GOOD attorney is the first step to freedom and clearing your good name. We urge you to put a lot of thought into who you hire, since your good name and your life are at stake."
"The Harris County District Attorney's Office employs assistant district attorneys to prosecute you to the fullest extent of the law. They do not have your best interests at heart."
"As a former Harris County Assistant District Attorney, I am familiar with the various courts, their staff, the judges and the thinking of the DA's Office. They trained me, and I can use the skill and knowledge which I gained as a Prosecutor to aggressively defend your rights."
"I know how prosecutors are trained to build a case against you and I will work hard to defend your rights and your freedom...My rates are fair and reasonable and can be as low as $200 for misdemeanors and $600 for felonies depending on your situation."
All of this over a traffic ticket set for an appeal. The letters are mind-boggling. The scare tactics employed are questionable. The claims from former prosecutors turned defense attorneys that their experience as a prosecutor somehow makes them more qualified to defend you are laughable. At least one attorney made a point of stating that he was not a former prosecutor. The prices quoted for representation are shameful. One did offer to reduce the fee by $100 if that attorney was hired prior to the second setting, however.

No comments: