Asked by user in Louisiana.
I got a DUI with a BAC over 0.20. I contacted a lawyer, who charged me $3,500. I paid him $1,000 upfront. I thought I was going to be able to handle the rest, but most of us are in hard times right now! The lawyer handled my DMV hearing in September, but my lawyer didn’t show up to the next motion hearing because I couldn’t pay him anymore. I don’t want him anymore because he hasn’t done anything, so I want to know what I should do?
I’m sorry you’re going through this.
Louisiana law permits a lawyer to withdraw from a case if the client is unable to pay the lawyer. However, Louisiana Rule of Professional Conduct 1.16(b)(5) requires that the lawyer provide “reasonable warning” before withdrawing. In other words, your lawyer was required to provide you with sufficient notice prior to the motion hearing to permit you to find another attorney.
Regardless, it sounds like you and your lawyer have mutually agreed to terminate the relationship. If you’re having trouble locating an attorney who you can afford, I would recommend using the “Modest Means Directory” or the “Legal Aid Directory” on the Louisiana State Bar homepage to find a lawyer who can provide free and reduced-cost legal help. You can find links to these directories here.