Pros & Cons of Hiring a Lawyer v. Doing It Yourself (Pro Se)
Like in all other areas of law, individuals always have the option of representing themselves instead of hiring a lawyer. However, just because they can, it doesn’t necessarily mean that they should. Here are some of the pros and cons that should be considered when deciding whether to hire a lawyer or not.
HIRING A LAWYER
GOING PRO SE
If you would like to talk to an attorney to determine if post-conviction is available to you or your loved one, contact Attorney Evelyn J. Pabon Figueroa at (407) 647-7887 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
I Pled Guilty, Can I File a Motion for Post-conviction Relief?
You were charged with committing a crime. After consulting with your attorney and based on their advice, you pled guilty. The judge sentenced you, but it was not the sentence you were expecting. Now what?
If you are in Florida, you can file a motion for post-conviction relief or, as it is sometimes referred to, a 3.850 motion. With this motion, you are asking the court to vacate your guilty plea and order a trial.
Florida rules provide reasons that can be used to support your request, but, because you pled guilty, the reasons that you can argue are a lot more limited. And you only have 2 years after losing your appeal to file this motion. If you do not file the motion on time, you will lose this option, making the possibility of vacating your plea and getting a trial, much more difficult.
If you or a loved one pled guilty and wants to vacate their plea, contact Attorney Evelyn J. Pabon Figueroa at (407) 647-7887 or email@example.com to discuss your case and decide if post-conviction relief is available to you.
You’ve Been Convicted of a Crime and Lost at Appeal, Now What?
You were charged with committing a crime. At the trial you were found guilty and sentenced. You filed an appeal and lost. What do you do next? If you are in Florida, you can file a motion for post-conviction relief or, as it is sometimes referred to, a 3.850 motion.
With this motion, you are asking the court to vacate, set aside, or correct your judgment or sentence. Florida rules provide reasons that can be used to support the request and in the motion you will argue that these reasons are present in your case.
You only have 2 years after losing your appeal to file the motion, except in the following situations where you have additional time:
1. The sentence exceeds the limits allowed by law.
2. There is new evidence.
3. A new fundamental constitutional right has been established.
4. You retained an attorney to file the motion for post-conviction relief but the attorney did not file the motion.
If you or a loved one has been convicted and lost the appeal, contact Attorney Evelyn J. Pabon Figueroa at (407) 647-7887 or firstname.lastname@example.org to discuss your case and decide if post-conviction relief is available to you.
You have been convicted of a crime, lost on appeal, and are considering filing a motion for post-conviction relief. But, before you decide to hire the attorney, you have questions about the fees and costs. Many attorneys will charge you a flat fee that is high enough to cover the representation from the initial investigation phase to the hearing phase. My approach is a little different.
Before I review and investigate your case, I do not know if there are arguments that support a motion for post-conviction relief and, if we decide to move forward with the filing of the motion, I won’t know if a hearing will be scheduled until a few months after the filing. Because of this, I divide my fees into two phases:
Initial Phase: I will charge you a flat fee that will cover the review of the file and the investigation into what happened at the trial level in order to determine possible arguments in support of the motion. After this is complete, I will discuss my findings with you in order to decide if we are moving forward with the motion.
Motion/Hearing Phase: If, after we discuss my findings, you decide to hire me for the second phase, we will enter into a new flat fee agreement. Part of the flat fee will be earned at the time the agreement is signed and the other part will be deposited into our trust account. If the judge schedules a hearing on our motion, the amount that was deposited into the trust account will be transferred to our operating account and treated as earned. But, if the judge makes a decision without a hearing, this amount will be returned to you.
Costs: Sometimes we will need to pay outside parties for their services in relation to your case (e.g., ordering the transcripts of court events at the trial level, depositions). In these cases, you will be responsible for making these payments. We will contact you to discuss the amount being charged before we agree to any services/amounts.
Most criminal defense attorneys advise their clients to not take the stand. In some cases, that may be the best defense given the facts of the case. However, there are many circumstances when it is imperative that the client take advantage of the opportunity to tell their story to the jury. Recently, CPLS ,P.A. represented a client charged with battery of a hotel employee. We did three essential things to prepare him to testify:
- We had the client testify in several mock trials before focus groups. This gave both us and the client a chance to see how potential jurors might view his testimony. We did these mock trial sessions in actual courtrooms so that the client was prepared for the stress and rigor of taking the stand.
- We videotaped the client’s testimony and provided him with feedback. This allowed the client to eliminate various behaviors that may have distracted the jury from his presentation.
- We took the client through an aggressive mock cross-examination. This helped the client to be prepared for the prosecutor’s cross-examination.
At the end the case, the jury returned a verdict in 15 minutes. I believe that the client’s successful testimony was the primary reason for the acquittal.
At CPLS, P.A., our criminal defense team comprises attorneys who have over twenty years of experience in handling trials. Don’t just hire a plea attorney. Hire an attorney who knows how to prepare for and win a trial. For additional information or assistance, contact Attorney James Smith at (407) 647-7887. You can view the Criminal Defense services that CPLSA, P.A. offers here.
This is the first of a continuing series of blog posts on your constitutional rights in the criminal context.
Today’s topic: The Right to Remain Silent.
You have the right to remain silent. How I wish many of my clients had listened to these words before they were arrested and questioned by law enforcement. Most criminal cases are built on the foundation of admissions and confessions made by criminal suspects. Without those statements many cases could not be prosecuted.
The Fifth Amendment to the Constitution provides that no person shall be required to answer any questions or make any statements which will subject him to incrimination. When you are approached or stopped by law enforcement and questioned the best strategy is to simply inform the officer that you do not wish to make any statements until you have the chance to consult with an attorney.
The law does ordinarily require you to provide information such as your name and address, or to produce your drivers’ license. Beyond that you are not required to talk to the police or other law enforcement agents.
Conversations that at first appear to be innocent could result in you getting into trouble as a result of the statements you make.
The advice of an experienced attorney can help you navigate the tricky process of dealing with law enforcement.
If you have been approached by law enforcement officers call our attorneys at CPLS today. Our attorneys have years of experience in representing clients at both the state and federal level.
Whatever the topic, from white collar criminal investigations to traffic offenses, it always best to talk to an attorney before you make any statements.
You have the constitutional right to remain silent. Make sure you exercise that right.