The Rules of Professional Conduct governing the practice of law in Pennsylvania require that attorneys confirm with the client, in writing, the services to be provided and the basis of fees to be charged. Let this section serve to fulfill that purpose.
We are offering to handle your magisterial district court case for a flat fee. We charge different fees depending on a variety of factors. The fee that we will charge you for any particular case is set forth on the solicitation letter that we mailed to you. If we do not achieve one of the defined objectives of this representation, you are entitled to a refund of 50% of the fees that you paid us.
General Explanation of the Services to Be Provided.
You have been charged with a violation of Section 1543(b) of the Motor Vehicle Code, Driving Under Suspension for DUI. Your initial hearing or “Summary Trial” will be coming up shortly and will be heard in a Magisterial District Court.
Magisterial District Courts are presided over by Magisterial District Justices (“MDJ’s”). Although we commonly call these people judges, they are not actually judges. Although most MDJ’s are lawyers, they do not have to be.
The services we are agreeing to provide to you involve defense of the Magisterial District Court Case. You are required to attend, as this is a serious matter. If you hire us, we will send one of our attorneys to the hearing with you to protect your interests.
Objectives of Representation
MDJ’s have a lot of wiggle room in the orders that they enter, but the case will end with the court issuing a written disposition and/ or imposing a fine, and/or jail time, and/or an additional period of suspension.
The obvious point of Representation is to keep you out of jail – if we can do that, it means that we have achieved the objectives of this representation.
We don’t give up without a fight. We don’t win every case, but we never give up on a client. Murphy will accept nothing less. If you are convicted of violating section 1543(b), and your case is not a criminal case, we will refund 50% of the fees that you paid us.
Benefits and Risks of Our Practice Methods
As noted elsewhere in these materials and in our fee agreement forms, this firm operates through contract attorneys, local counsel, and independent contractors. All of these people receive training and practice manuals from us, and these are updated to reflect changing litigation conditions and practices.
The main benefit of using independent contractors, contract attorneys, and local counsel is cost savings to you. If we had people driving all over Pennsylvania, the fees would have to go up drastically to cover gasoline and auto costs. This is a driver’s protection firm. Quite frankly, most of our customers are a little low on funds. We have to keep the costs down so that people can actually afford to put on a defense.
Another benefit is “Intelligence.” We clear a lot of DUS cases at this firm and we get regular field reports from our contract attorneys. If the prosecution starts using a new tactic it will be noted by our attorneys in their field reports. This office will devise a response to any new tactic and notify all other contract attorneys of the new tactic and how to deal with it Your local attorney is probably a great lawyer and certainly has a bright mind, but he or she simply doesn’t have that type of access to this much information about the rapidly ever changing field of traffic litigation.
“Intelligence” with a Local Face. The contract attorneys are paid a flat fee, they can’t afford to be driving all over Pennsylvania either. This means that in all likelihood, the contractor who handles your case will be familiar with the local court, its customs, where it is and the like.
The Big Risk – Missed Hearings and District Court Procedures. If the contract attorney gets lost, or a flat tire, or otherwise can not or does not get to the hearing on time, the MDJ’s will generally refuse a last minute postponement request and find you guilty. This is rare, but it does happen. The MDJ’s just want to move their docket along and they figure we can just take an appeal. Filing an appeal is exactly what we would do in circumstances of this sort – in a sense that is exactly why the appeal procedure exists. We would file the appeal automatically, and at no charge to you. We even pay the appeal fees out of our own pocket. The fact that you were found guilty at the MDJ level can not and will not be held against you on appeal. We can handle appeals in almost every county, If your case is in a county where we handle appeals, we will give you the option of firing us and taking a 100% refund, or, if you want, we will stay on and handle the appeal and even still honor your 50% guarantee. If you case is in a county where we can not or do not handle appeals, we will still file the appeal to protect your interests and we will issue a 100% refund.
Terms of Service.
You agree to fully cooperate with this office by returning phone calls and responding to correspondence in a timely fashion. You agree to keep us informed of your current address and telephone number. You understand that if you fail to keep in contact with us and/or fail to provide us with your current whereabouts so that we may keep in touch with you that we may stop working and ultimately the case may go into default.
You also agree not to “tie our hands,” or prevent us from helping you. This means that if you take action that prevents us from fully earning our fee, you will not get a refund. Simply put, DON’T “CUT YOUR OWN DEAL”, you have paid for legal services, take advantage of them.