Alan Caplan, Second Opinions, second opinions criminal, second opinions federal cases, federal law, problems with attorney, need help with my case, federal court help, criminal law, federal court second opinion, second opinion state cases, state court help, state court, state law
Q. Is there any charge for our initial telephone conversation?
A. During our first telephone conversation, if we agree that I may be able to help you, we would then discuss the specific scope of my work, the amount of my fee and any other costs (such as expenses for obtaining documents or for other necessary investigation).
My fee will be based upon the amount of work necessary to answer your question(s) and provide a specific opinion and recommendation about the issues that concern you. Among the factors to be considered are: (1) be the nature and amount of written materials, and audio and video files that I must review; (2) the number of other people (if any) whom I must speak with about your case; (3) the amount of legal research (if any) that would be required to respond accurately and fully to your questions; and (4) whether you wish me to prepare a written response or to make my recommendations to you orally.
Q. I did not have enough money to hire an attorney for my case, and the court found me to be indigent. The judge then appointed the Public Defender (or a private attorney) to represent me at the government's expense. Can you still help me in those circumstances?
A. Yes, I certainly can help you - either by working directly with your assigned lawyer, or by answering your questions independently and directly. Even if you have been found indigent for purposes of the case itself, you still have the right to obtain a second opinion, either by using your own money or 'outside' money specifically provided for that purpose by family members or friends.
As you have probably discovered, retaining an experienced private attorney in a serious criminal case can be extremely, if not prohibitively expensive for many people. That is especially true because the prosecution has what effectively amounts to unlimited funds to go after you.
Also, please keep in mind that many public defenders and court appointed private counsel are excellent and seasoned criminal lawyers. Unfortunately, others are less talented or less experienced.
By paying me only a fraction of the amount it would ordinarily cost if you were to retain me or another attorney of my skills and experience to directly handle your matter, I can still help you. I can work with your appointed counsel or public defender to address specific issues in your case, assist them in preparing your defense, and help you to make intelligent and informed decisions about such matters as whether to plead guilty or go to trial, or whether or not you should elect to testify in your own behalf at trial.
Q. Are you able to help me only when I have a court appointed attorney, or can you provide the same service when I have privately retained a lawyer?
A. I can help in either situation. For example, if you are generally satisfied with a lawyer that you hired, but are concerned that he/she is somewhat inexperienced in handling some specific issue(s) that may arise in a case such as 'gang enhancements', or jury selection in a high profile prosecution, you can retain me to work with that lawyer on just such limited issues.
If you have any questions, please contact me to discuss further.
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