1st place to look is the exact language in the written fee agreement for the lawyer's services. The fee paid may have been a non-refundable retainer, or a flat fee, which means there's no money back option. The references to $5,000 sound like a flat fee, and this is often how criminal lawyers chrage fr their work.
If the lawyer's services are hourly, then no matter what the fee agreement says, the lawyer's entitled to be paid the reasonable value of their services. Also, no lawyer guarantees any outcome, and I'm guessing the fee agreement does specify that.
Avvo doesn't pay us for these responses, and I'm not your lawyer just because I answer this question or respond to any follow-up comments. If you want to hire me, please contact me. Otherwise, please don't expect a further response. We need an actual written agreement to form an attorney-client relationship. I'm only licensed in CA and you shouldn't rely on this answer, since each state has different laws, each situation is fact specific, and it's impossible to evaluate a legal problem without a comprehensive consultation and review of all the facts and documents at issue.
A few things to consider, the nature of the fee agreement, the need to remove all the "attorney comments" and the fact that your nephew may have just avoided jail time. Things "happen" beyond what is perceived by clients and thier families. A few facts would be needed to comment further as toe the "weed" card. They are called Marijuana Medical Need Cards. Cursory exam of the facts would be he would not have been arrested without other facts. Please attempt to famliarize yourself with the statute. A RETAINER for a felony at 5k is market. I have done them for less and regret it. Speak with his attorney and you hve no standing to take any legal action. Good luck.
You can certainly ask for a partial refund. However, you'll want to review your fee agreement with the attorney. Attorneys do not guarantee outcomes and are subject to the facts as presented. As mentioned by my colleague, it looks like your nephew has avoided jail time. Without substantially more information, that would appear to be a good thing. The fee charged seems reasonable.
When responding to questions posted on Avvo, I provide a general purpose response based on California law as I am licensed in California. In reviewing my response, you are specifically advised that your use of, or reliance upon any response I provide is not advisable. I do not have all relevant background details or facts related to your issue / matter, thus I am not in a position to give you legal advice. Further, your review, use of, or reliance upon my response does not establish an attorney-client relationship between us nor does it qualify as a legal consultation for any purpose. For specific advice regarding your particular circumstances, you should consult and retain local counsel.