What does it cost to retain you as my attorney?
My fees vary, depending on a lot of different factors. The most important is the seriousness or complexity of your case. I typically break my fee into two parts. Every client is expected to pay a pretrial fee. That is all you will pay me if I am able to resolve your case without a trial – normally through a plea bargain or a dismissal. If, down the road, we agree that your case should be taken to a contested trial, there will be an additional trial fee. When we sit down and discuss your case during an initial consultation, I will let you know what my pretrial and trial fees will be for your case.
I normally expect full payment of the pretrial fee up-front. In special cases, I may be willing to discuss other payment options.
I’ve heard about lawyers who don’t charge any fees unless they win the client’s case. Can you do that?
What you’re describing is called a “contingent fee.” Contingent fees are often acceptable in civil cases (where people are fighting over money). They are NEVER allowable in criminal cases, including military criminal cases. Since I only practice criminal and military law, I never enter into any contingent fee arrangement. As a lawyer licensed in Texas, I am bound by Rule 1.04(e) of the Texas Disciplinary Rules of Professional Conduct, which forbids a lawyer from entering into an agreement for, charging for, collecting, or attempting to collect a contingent fee for representing a defendant in a criminal case.
Should I talk to the police or investigators on my case?
The short answer is NO. If you are being investigated by law enforcement, anything you say will be used against you and cannot be used to help you. You have a right under both military and civilian law to remain silent, and not incriminate yourself. ANYTHING YOU SAY could be incriminating, even if it’s something you think is completely safe to talk about.
If you’re in this situation, contact me or another qualified lawyer immediately.
MILITARY: What about my detailed (TDS, DSO, NLSO, ADC) active-duty lawyer?
You have a right to keep your detailed counsel even if you hire me or another civilian defense counsel to handle your case. This is almost always a great advantage for you, because you will have two lawyers working together to reach the best possible result. The other huge benefit of working alongside your active-duty defense counsel is that he or she can handle certain things, at my direction, without me having to travel to your location each and every time. This means lower travel expenses for you.
MILITARY: Do you handle court-martial appeals?
I sometimes make myself available to handle appeals of court-martial convictions to the various service courts of criminal appeals, the Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces, or the United States Supreme Court.
MILITARY: I’m facing court-martial in Okinawa! How can you be my attorney if you’re all the way in Texas?
We will communicate by phone and email while I’m here, and there is a lot I can do to represent you without physically being there. That said, there will obviously be certain important occasions that I will need to travel to your location. Any Article 32 investigation or motions hearing, and certainly your trial, will require my presence. I also like to be able to interview witnesses and speak with your convening authority in person, whenever possible. The expenses of my travel must be paid by you or your family, and this is something we can discuss in advance before I am hired. But the bottom line is that it doesn’t matter where you are. I can arrange to be there.