I hired mr Barnes for a dui defense. My instructions were specific: read my discovery and tell me if I have a viable defense. After that, based on your recommendation, we’ll go from there. Immediately he’s off to try and plea deal. 6 months later and he still hasnt read my discovery and is still talking pleas. The plea deal is for 3-6 months on a first dui offense and I have now 45 days to take the deal or pay him $7500 to go on trial where if I lose I get 3-6 months. I’m completely at a loss as to what to do. This case should have been dismissed in pre trial motions but that deadline was exhausted by by attorney and now I have no more remedies left.
Response from Curtis Barnes November 22, 2022
It is very rare that I find it necessary to reply to a client's review. However, having read yours, I feel I must "set the record straight", as best I can while maintaining ethical obligations to you.
When you first asked me to help you, you were represented by another attorney. Your concern about a deadline to file a pretrial motion being exhausted occurred prior to my taking over representation. That said, I am not suggesting the previous attorney did anything erroneous by not filing a pretrial motion in a timely manner. To the contrary, after having received and read the discovery in your case, it is my professional opinion that there are no meritorious pretrial issues to raise. Therefore, the case would not have been dismissed pretrial, as you state.
With regard to the plea bargain offered by the district attorney's office, I have an obligation to relay it to you. Plea offers are made based upon unique historical and factual circumstances of each individual case. Again, without divulging specifics about your case, the offer made was based upon conditions over which there are no control. When we were last in court, I advised that you do NOT have to accept a plea offer from the district attorney. Instead, you could consider an open plea. In an open plea we would offer reasons to the judge why a lenient sentence should be imposed. It is up to the judge to then sentence you as he or she deems legally just.
If you are not interested in considering either a negotiated or open plea, the only remaining resolution of the case is to go to trial. In an effort to keep your legal fees manageable, we agreed to a set amount for all representation prior to trial. It has always been our understanding that if you elect to have your case tried, I would have to be paid a separate trial fee. As there is considerable time and effort that goes into properly trying a case, I don't know of any private attorney, including myself, who should be expected to work for no compensation. This seems especially so in matters in which one's personal liberty is at stake.
While I never want a client to be dissatisfied with my representation, I am especially concerned when there appears to be a misunderstanding of the reasons for that dissatisfaction. If you would like to further discuss any aspect of your case, please feel free to contact me.
Curtis E. Barnes, Esq.