Most criminal defense lawyers demand to be paid up front because their clients, like you, don't want to pay them if they get convicted. In New York an attorney can't enforce a fee agreement with a client that isn't in writing. Therefore it is unlikely that the lawyer will sue you. Your plan to lie, however is not a good plan. If your Mom didn't teach you that, I doubt that it would do me any good to explain it.
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Not a good plan at all. First of all, you will be committing perjury, which could result in criminal penalties. Second of all, you have just provided evidence to your DWI attorney by posting on this site (he can use your IP address to identify you as the poster).
This is exactly the reason why most attorneys, including myself, require retainer agreements. Pay him what is owed; he will beat you in court.
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You may have an oral contract which may be enforced. If there was a meeting of the minds with respect to terms, then there may be a basis for a lawsuit.
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You are a good reminder why attorneys should demand payment upfront.
Attorney Inga Stevens is licensed in Maine. She provides general information on Avvo.com. No attorney-client relationship arises out of the information given here.
My suspicion is that you heard what you wanted to hear when you had your initial discussions about your DWI matter with this attorney. To answer your question from a slightly different angle than my colleagues, if you don't pay your bill, some, but not necessarily all, of the following unpleasant things could happen:
1) The attorney could sue you, and if successful, obtain a money judgment against you. Your stated intent to lie under oath will probably not bode well for you, as it is a crime which could be punished severely.
2) If the attorney obtains a money judgment against you, he or she could then go through a number of steps to enforce a judgment against you, including but not limited to: (a) restraining your bank accounts, (b) sending the Sheriffs to your door to collect on the judgment, (c) garnishing your wages, (d) placing liens against real property you own or acquire, among a number of other unpleasant means of enforcing a money judgment that are permitted under the CPLR;
3) If there is a money judgment against you, it will probably kill your credit, making it either more difficult, more expensive (or both) to obtain borrow money, rent an apartment, or otherwise obtain credit;
To make a long story short, avoid these potential unpleasantries and pay the bill. You will be happier for it.
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You are the very reason that I and many of my colleagues demand payment in full up front, no exceptions. Your attorney is probably new in practice and hasn't learned that most criminal defendants, like you, are very experienced at bending and breaking rules, otherwise they wouldn't sitting in his office.
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