This morning we had a former potential client give us a call. He had literally just walked out of a local North Tarrant County city courtroom. Here is his story:
He had received a speeding ticket a few weeks earlier. When he got the ticket/citation, he had called us and we gave him our free consultation to make him aware of his options. He was satisfied with the information and when we offered to represent him he said he knew we would do a good job (Our Law Firm always does a great job) but told us he was a “smooth-talker” and would get it done himself.
He now regrets that decision.
He had called because when he got to the small city courthouse this morning, the clerk refused to answer any of his questions. When he entered the courtroom he was surrounded by twenty other people, was a bit intimated and had no idea what was about to happen next. He had pulled out his cell phone to Google what would be his next step and was immediately told to put his phone away by the bailiff. Intimidated, he sat there and watched the judge call up people. He noticed that the judge was asking a lot of questions and was not answering any questions. After waiting 50 minutes, he got up and went back outside to the clerk. He told the clerk he would pay the ticket and just entered a plea of guilty; he wanted to get out of there.
He then called us to see if there was anything else we could for him. He wanted to see if we could negotiate the fine lower and get some of his money back. But at this point he had already plead guilty and paid the outrageous fine so there was not much else we could do. He was frustrated and filled with regret. We asked if we could share the story and he readily agreed because he wanted people to “learn from his mistake.” His mistake is that he did not have his own lawyer watching out for him–do not make the same mistake.
This story brought to mind a few good points:
Point 1: Once a person goes to court and enters a plea of guilty on a speeding ticket, without filing a formal appeal, there is not much else we can do. It is important you hire a criminal defense attorney before you go to court.
Point 2: Most likely, if you pay a criminal defense attorney their small fee, you will come out paying less in the long run. In the story above, if he had paid our small fee, we would have gotten his ticket dismissed or at least negotiated on his behalf with the court for lower fee and he would have ended up paying less.