5. Hiring the Wrong Lawyer
There is no shortage of lawyers that hold a license to practice law who will aggressively solicit your case. The fact that you were charged is public information and if you have not already started receiving mountains of mail from lawyers, you will. Most of the letters will all say pretty much the same thing. Much or all of them will be unhelpful and some may even be misleading. Virtually none of the mail will be useful to someone who is trying to find the right lawyer for their case.
Every lawyer with a license feels they are qualified to handle your case. They are not. Reckless driving cases can be complex. They involve laws that change on a frequent basis as well as various scientific and technical issues. Moreover, how these cases are handled varies substantially from county to county within Virginia, and from judge and prosecutor to judge and prosecutor within a county like Fairfax.
Many of the lawyers or law firms seeking to represent you may fall into one of several categories:
- They are not located in the jurisdiction where you are charged, such as Fairfax. They simply recognize that Fairfax is a busy jurisdiction and think it is a good “business move” to solicit cases there. If they have a Fairfax office, is it somewhere where they actually practice law or is their real office in a different jurisdiction and they simply set up a decoy office in Fairfax to make it look like they have a Fairfax office?
- They lack real and substantial experience with reckless driving cases. They call themselves “experienced,” but in reality may only be two or three years out of law school. Or, they have “been around” for some time but have never had the opportunity to present more than a few, if any, such cases to a judge in the form of a trial and never had the opportunity to try such a case to a jury.
- They may be a firm without any significant emphasis on reckless driving cases. In fact, they may be “generalists” who do a little bit of everything.
- They sent you (or will send you) an unsolicited letter blindly quoting a fee to handle your case without ever having had the opportunity to talk to you about the case or your background. You should be very suspicious. After all, this person knows nothing about the facts or your case or your background. How can they possibly quote you a fee when they have no idea what work is required to resolve your case? Are they quoting you a fee without knowing anything about your case because they really intend to do no work on the case except to simply "process" the case like every other case they handle?
This is why the Virginia rules of ethics strongly discourage the blind quoting of fees by attorneys before they have had a chance to speak to you about your case. If you call one of these lawyers and they increase their rate above what is stated in their letter, you should immediately report them to the Virginia Bar because this is unethical. If the attorney sticks to the blindly quoted fee, you should question what you are actually going to get from that attorney. Every case is different. Yet, a fee that never changes says that the attorney is going to handle your case like every other case they have.
What a lawyer charges is, in part, a product of four things: (1) their skill and experience, (2) their reputation in the legal community, (3) the time and effort they plan on putting into your case and (4) the satisfaction of past clients. There are certainly lawyers who abuse their ability to set fees by charging an overly inflated rate. A lawyer should charge a rate that is fair and reasonable for each specific case.
Unfortunately, the system of choosing a lawyer is not very transparent to the consumer. Many people fall victim to this system. These are people who could have fared much better with an attorney with the appropriate knowledge and local expertise. Some hire the lawyer who last handled a real estate transaction or divorce. Or, they went with a lawyer who sent them a marketing letter in the mail promising to handle their case for a rate too good to be true (without ever talking to them). Or, they just did not know who to hire.
Fairfax Reckless Driving Lawyer Has Handled 1000's of Cases on Both Sides of the System
If you have reckless driving case and are not sure who to call, we can help. Call 703-556-0004 or use our Contact Us page to schedule a free, no-obligation consultation with a highly experienced and specialist Fairfax Reckless defense lawyer. Kyle Manikas will analyze your Fairfax case from the perspective of a former prosecutor who has an inside understanding of the Fairfax system you will face.