My lawyer failed to show up in court on my behalf. I am in Rehab, and he forgot the court date. He said he will take care of it, but I called the county, and they have issued a warrent for my arrest for failure to appear. Will my lawyer be able to reverse this, or is he just telling me what he thinks I want to hear. Can I take action against him if this can not be reversed? The court clerk said I have to turn myself in, and bring $1000 with for bail. I have paid my lawyer a $2500 retainer already, and so far, he has put me into a worse off situation than I was in before. Will this make the case harder for me to defend since I now have a failure to appear? Any advice would be helpful.
I met with my lawyer prior to entering rehab, and he said to me that he would appear in court on my behalf, and that I do not need to be there. He told me to go ahead and go to rehab and start my path of recovery, and he would re-schedule the initial court date. He took my retainer, and assured me he would represent me without me being present. He didn't show, and now I must suffer from this, not him.
General Practice Lawyer
This is a very difficult predicament in which you find yourself.
First, if you were obligated to appear for court, you needed to appear without excuse. If you were unable to appear, you needed to seeka continuance of the hearing. It makes perfect sense that a warrant issued for your arrest as your failure to appear violates a court order to appear.
You have taken a positive step in reaching out to the court. If your attorney failed to appear, some judges issue what is known as a "show cause" order to the attorney.
When you ask if you can "take action" against the attorney, you can certainly raise your legitimate concerns regarding his failure to appear. You can also take those complaints to Colorado's office of disciplinary counsel, although I am not telling you such steps are necessary by any means.
Your questions about the case becoming more difficult to deal with is a good one. If you were truly unavailable, I suspect the court will weight your explanation and give you the benefit of the doubt if you deserve the same. One thing is a certainty -- your failure to appear did not and will not help things in the future.
You may want to sit down with another attorney to discuss this predicament and explore other options.
Best of luck to you!
In no way am I offering you legal advice, and in no way has my comment created an attorney-client relationship. You are not to rely upon my note above in any way, but insted need to sit down with counsel and share all relevant facts before receiving fully-informed legal advice. If you want to be completely sure of your rights, you must sit down with an experienced criminal defense attorney to be fully aware of your rights. Legislation may have recently been adopted that changes the law in this area.
Criminal Defense Attorney
First things first.
"My lawyer failed to show up in court on my behalf. I am in Rehab, and he forgot the court date. He said he will take care of it, but I called the county, and they have issued a warrent for my arrest for failure to appear."
I believe that a defendant is required to appear in court during a criminal case pending against him unless excused.
"Will my lawyer be able to reverse this, or is he just telling me what he thinks I want to hear. "
There is nothing to reverse. The process is usually called to quash issued bench arrest warrant and your counsel or another attorney of your choice shall you decide to retain another should be able to file that motion and address that successfully.
"Can I take action against him if this can not be reversed? "
There is nothing to reverse, it is just an order to quash arrest. If you contemplate to take a civil action you must prove as a plaitiff, I believe, by the preponderance of the evidence that the cousel of record did something that meets the burden.
"The court clerk said I have to turn myself in, and bring $1000 with for bail."
The clerk of any court, Sir, is not a licensed attorney and cannot legally issue any legal advice, especially in a criminal case. You must discuss your viable option with a trained licensed criminal defense attorney in person, NOT any clerk, no matter how knowlegeable that person could be.
"I have paid my lawyer a $2500 retainer already, and so far, he has put me into a worse off situation than I was in before. "
Without fully knowing the particular circumstances and the scope of the legal wortk done by the retained attorney I cannot comment on your statement.
"Will this make the case harder for me to defend since I now have a failure to appear? Any advice would be helpful."
And, finally, the advice in conclusion. You have to have a licensed attorney to assist you with this morass. You have to select a person you feel comfortable with, but you must retain an effective and competent counsel.
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Criminal Defense Attorney
The issue is whether or not you can actualy prove what you said youyr lawyer said to you or what he would do for you. Sometimes, lawyers like all human beings can make simple honest mistakes or there could be an explanation for the mix up. Your lawyer, if he or she is competent cn have the warrant quashed oif it was a mewre oversight and explains the failure to appera in court. If you were already on bond then he or she would have to get the consent of surety to tell the court to excuse your non appearance.
However, as between you and the court it si your duty and responsibility to appear to do have to keep track of your court dates. Your lawyer is not obligated, if it is so written in the fee or retainer agreement.
Generally, courts understand that oversights may happen and a good criminal defense lawyer (your talking of rehab indicates that yours may be a criminal case) should be able to resolve this matter. Usually, if it si an oversight by your lawyer and you are without fault your lawyer can present that to the DA and request the DA not to punish you. Generally, DAs understand and will treat you fairly and appropriately based on your criminal history and the current alleged criminal conduct.
All the Best
It is curious you have not stated whether your matter was a misdemeanor or a felony and what was the total fee. If you had it would indicate whether your lawyer was just getting you to sign up by balling the fees?? Just a thought. Usually, experienced and competent criminal defense lawyer do not low ball fees and do the work that is required under the circumstances but will charge you appropriately.
Have you contacted your lawyer and request that he remedy the situation with ther court.
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