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PLEASE BE AWARE THAT FILLING OUT OUR ONLINE QUESTIONNAIRE DOES NOT MAKE YOU A CLIENT OF THE BELTZ LAW FIRM. THE TERMS OF SERVICE ARE LISTED BELOW TO HELP YOU MAKE A DECISION AS TO WHETHER OR NOT OUR FIRM IS THE RIGHT FIT FOR YOU. IF AFTER READING THE TERMS OF SERVICE BELOW, YOU ARE SATISFIED WITH HOW THE BELTZ LAW FIRM WILL HANDLE YOUR CASE, WE ENCOURAGE YOU TO SUBMIT YOUR INFORMATION FOR REVIEW. IN ANY CASE BEFORE AN ATTORNEY CLIENT RELATIONSHIP WILL EXIST FIRST, YOU MUST AGREE TO THAT YOU HAVE READ AND UNDERSTAND HOW OUR OFFICE HANDLES CLASS “C” MISDEMEANORS. YOU MUST ALSO AGREE THAT YOU UNDERSTAND THAT CHOOSING TO HIRE A LAWYER IS A COOPERATIVE EFFORT BETWEEN YOU AND YOUR LAWYER THAT REQUIRES CONSTANT COMMUNICATION. FINALLY, THE APPROPRIATE RETAINER MUST BE PAID TO THE BELTZ LAW FIRM TO CREATE AN ATTORNEY CLIENT RELATIONSHIP. MAKE SURE TO READ OVER THE TERMS OF THE SERVICE CAREFULLY BEFORE HIRING OUR OFFICE SO THAT YOU HAVE A COMPLETE UNDERSTANDING OF THE SERVICES PROVIDED. YOUR WILLINGNESS TO PROVIDE US WITH REQUIRED DOCUMENTATION OR AUTHORIZATIONS AS WE STRIVE TO PROVIDE YOU WITH QUALITY LEGAL SERVICE IS KEY. IF YOU FAIL TO ADHERE TO THE TERMS OF SERVICE WE ACCEPT NO RESPONSIBILITY FOR ANY ADVERSE OUTCOME IN YOUR CASE.
Terms of Service
PURPOSE OF REPRESENTATION
1.01 WHAT THE ATTORNEY CLIENT RELATIONSHIP COVERS. You understand that, if The Beltz Law Firm is retained, it is for the sole purpose of representation regarding certain Class “C” misdemeanors as outlined in this terms of service and your web contact form or questionnaire that was filled out by you or on your behalf. We are not liable for cases that are not listed in the web contact form or questionnaire. Please make sure to review your cases carefully to ensure that we have been retained for every case you that you need assistance.
1.02 WHAT TO EXPECT FROM YOUR LAWYER. Lawyers are not magicians. We do not magically make cases disappear. Defending criminal cases is tough work. You should not expect your lawyer to make everything “go away.” What you should expect from your lawyer is honesty, integrity and zealous advocacy on your behalf. All of these things you should expect your lawyer to do to the best of their ability for you and your case. Understand however that even with these attributes, a case can still end up having a negative outcome based on the circumstances and charges against you.
AUTHORIZATIONS OF ATTORNEY
2.01 AUTHORIZATION TO SIGN DOCUMENTS ON YOUR BEHALF. Once retained, you hereby grant The Beltz Law Firm and any associates working on behalf of the firm the authority to
obtain any and all necessary information and reports relative to the subject matter of the terms of service, including but not limited to police and other investigative reports, statements of witnesses, and other evidentiary materials. Further, you expressly grant a limited power of attorney to The Beltz Law Firm to sign and/or fill out on your behalf any and all court documents to dispose of your citations including but not limited to Surety Bonds, Appeal Bonds, Deferred Disposition Sheets, Straight Plea Agreements, Defensive Driving Agreements, applications for extensions of time to pay forms, etc. that the court requires. The limited power of attorney also includes the authority to plead no contest, guilty and not guilty on behalf of the client as needed during the course of representation.
2.02 AUTHORIZATION TO MAKE PROCEDURAL DECISIONS ON YOUR BEHALF. You further grant The Beltz Law Firm the authority to make procedural decisions related to your case that the attorney deems in your best interest including, but not limited to resetting, continuing, appealing, setting for trial, pleading, filing writs of mandamus, filing any and all motions necessary to effectively advocate on your behalf. You agree to cooperate with The Beltz Law Firm if your assistance is needed in any of these endeavors.
THE ATTORNEY’S FEE
3.01 THE INITIAL FEE. On most services related to traffic ticket defense and class “c” misdemeanors, The Beltz Law Firm charges a flat fee. We strive to keep our fees at a reasonable rate for our clients. Therefore, you must understand and agree that any flat fee paid to retain The Beltz Law Firm is earned immediately due to the fact that our firm has made itself available to take care of your case immediately. Further, because The Beltz Law Firm chose to help you, it could have very well turned down another case to assist you. Because the attorney fee paid is nominal, it is earned immediately upon opening your case file. The fees paid are usually consumed in the initial data entry and generation of documents sent to the court. However, this does not mean that all cases do not warrant some type of refund. For a detailed explanation of the refund policy please read that section below.
3.02 WHAT THE INITIAL FEE COVERS. In most cases the initial fee will cover one pre-trial setting where an attorney will go to court on your behalf and determine if there is a legal reason for dismissal. If there is, the attorney will make an oral motion to have the case dismissed. If the case is not eligible for dismissal based on a legal reason, then your case will be pled to the best possible deal to protect your driving record, insurance rates and driving privileges. If a deal cannot be obtained to protect your record, the attorney is authorized to plead no contest on your case and negotiate the best deal to reduce any fines and fees that may be associated with the matter.
3.03 WHAT THE INITIAL FEE DOES NOT COVER. The initial flat fee paid does not cover anything other than a single pre-trial setting. Other matters the initial fee does not cover are (1) hearing reset dates (2) filing motions for discovery and obtaining physical evidence (3) show cause hearings (4) trial settings (5) any other filings or hearings outside of the initial pre-trial date. You should have the expectation that the case will be finalized with an attorney attending one hearing on your behalf. You should also have the expectation that the attorney client agreement ends after a plea has been entered on your behalf. All other services in relation to a case will require a separate fee.
3.04 TRIAL FEES. Trial fees are separate from the original fee that is paid to our office. This is due to the time and expense that it takes to prepare for trial. Trial fees are estimated on a case-by-case basis. However, our normal fee ranges from $350.00 TO $500.00 for a trial before the judge and $500.00 TO $1000.00 for a trial before a jury. We also have a “plea or dismiss” option that ranges in price. Please inquire further as to your particular case if you intend to take your case to trial. This inquiry and request must be made at least 14 days prior to your scheduled court date. If it is not received in that time frame, you drastically affect our ability to file motions for discovery and submit other documents that may be necessary to give you the best possible defense. We do not assume in any case that you wish to take your case to trial unless told otherwise and the trial fee is paid. If you do not make this trial request in the timeline stated, we will normally obtain the best possible outcome for you on the date of your scheduled hearing if the case is not altogether dismissed.
4.01 EXPLANATION OF REFUND POLICY. As stated in paragraph 3.01 all fees paid are earned immediately due to low amount of fees charged for class “C” misdemeanors and the willingness of our firm to forego other matters to take care of your case(s). However, in limited cases where the attorney and/or his or her staff has not performed
the initial data entry and/or attempted to call the courts or other municipalities in relation to your case, there may be a percentage refund given based on the amount of work performed. These types of refunds are reviewed on a case-by-case basis and must be requested no later than the 24 hours after procuring our services. If you wait past 1 full day, then you can reasonably assume that our staff has performed substantial services that total the amount of the fee paid. In any event, no refund requests will be considered after the second day.
4.02 EXAMPLE OF WHEN A REFUND IS NOT WARRANTED UNDER OUR TERMS OF SERVICE. For example if you hire our office to lift a warrant for your arrest we immediately open your file and draft your documents to be expedited to the court. If, after sending these documents to the court we find out that your case is not bondable due to a previously entered agreement with the court, you can reasonably assume that we have performed enough work on your case to earn the fee described above. This policy is in place to cover the work it took to prepare your file and to offset any labor, gas and product fees incurred by our office. Further, you are the only person with knowledge of any previous agreements entered into and you should have known to tell our office that you had entered into a previous agreement with the court rendering our ability to file certain documents impossible.
4.03 ANOTHER EXAMPLE OF WHEN A REFUND IS NOT WARRANTED UNDER THE TERMS OF SERVICE. Another example that will not warrant a refund is when you have hired our office to represent you in court and the attorney appears on your behalf, determines that there is no legal reason for dismissal and enters into an agreement with the prosecutor that requires a deferral fee or fine be paid in order to keep the citation off your record or to keep the case from going into warrant. It is reasonable for you to assume that the amount of time expended by our office in setting up your file and attending at least one court date is justification for not issuing a refund. Not all cases are going to be dismissed. You cannot demand a refund based on the case being legally sufficient as a matter of law. For a further explanation please read paragraph 16.01.
4.04 WHEN A REFUND IS WARRANTED. A case that will warrant a refund is one where our office is retained and you then decide within a 24 hour period that we may not be the right fit for you. Many times the paralegals have not completed the documents it takes to either lift your warrants and/or correspond with the court. In these instances, your case may be evaluated for a partial refund based on the amount of work performed.
ASSOCIATIONS WITH OTHER ATTORNEYS ON YOUR BEHALF
4.01 HIRING OTHER ATTORNEYS TO COVER YOUR CASE. Our office may associate on this matter with other lawyers, or law firms for the sole purpose of covering conflicting court dates on our calendar. Your payment of a fee to our office represents your consent to the following terms of the association arrangement: (a) Our office will only associate with other attorneys when it is necessary to cover conflicts in our schedule to ensure that someone is there to cover your case as outlined in the terms of service (b) You will not be charged for any fees associated with procuring the services of an attorney for covering any hearing necessary to resolve the matter we have been hired to handle (c) If another lawyer or law firm is used to cover a proceeding other than our office, we will provide to you the name and contact information of that attorney when requested (d) Once the proceeding is handled we will notify you of the outcome within a reasonable amount of time through your mycase account. For more information about the mycase portal, please read the section entitled COMMUNICATING WITH YOUR LAWYER” below.
COMMUNICATING WITH YOUR LAWYER
5.01 PHONE CALLS DO NOT TAKE THE PLACE OF WRITTEN COMMUNICATION. Because we are in the practice of law, we must be very clear with our clients regarding the outcomes and the status of their cases. For that reason, telephone conversations will never supersede any document that was uploaded to your online mycase file. This helps alleviate the problem with clients saying they heard something on the phone that was not outlined in a formal written correspondence. We are responsible for making sure any and all written correspondence are correct and sent to you timely. If at anytime, you do not understand a written correspondence sent, you are always welcome to call and discuss it. However, that communication will never supersede the document itself. Please make sure to read all documents uploaded to your case file carefully for that reason.
5.02 YOU MUST LOGIN TO YOUR MYCASE ACCOUNT AND REVIEW IT REGULARLY. All of our clients have complete access to their case files through our mycase portal. That site can be found at www.mycase.com. Every client receives a welcome e-mail from the portal giving them instructions on how to set up access to their case file. Simply click on the link, type in the e-mail address you gave our office in the beginning and type in a password of your choosing to set up the account. You must set up your account within 48hrs of hiring our office to avoid missing any important information. You will be required to check your e-mail and your mycase account regularly during our representation of you. If you fail to do so, you accept any negative results that could arise from that lack of communication. If more than 30 days has passed since hiring our office and you have not heard from our firm then you can assume substantial progress has been made on your file in accordance with this agreement. In fact, your case may already be closed by that time in some cases. It will be your obligation to determine the outcome by logging into your case file, reading and following any outlined instructions and correspondence we have uploaded to your case file at that point. If you fail to do so, you hold our firm and staff harmless from any negative outcome that may arise due to your inability to read, and follow the instructions given by our office to you.
5.02 WHEN TO EXPECT TO HEAR FROM OUR OFFICE AND WHAT TO DO IF YOU HAVE NOT HEARD FROM US. If have you received correspondence from our office informing you of a court date we will attend on your behalf, you should receive a second message through mycase detailing the outcome of that hearing within 7 days. If 7 days have passed from the date listed in the initial correspondence and you have not heard from our office we request that you take the proactive step of calling us for an update immediately to make sure that you do not miss any important information that may have been sent but not received. If you do not receive correspondence from our office and wait over 30 days to contact us after receiving an initial e-mail informing you of a court date that we have attended for you, it may be too late to perform any required court conditions that you were instructed to complete within that time. You assume any and all responsibility as a result of your failure to disclose any communication errors that may have occurred after the 30 day window period from any correspondence informing you of our intentions to appear in court on your behalf. For example, if you were informed of a court date on January 1st, you should receive another correspondence from our office by January 7th. If you HAVE NOT received any type of correspondence from our office within that 7 day window call us immediately!
PROVIDING YOUR LAWYER WITH EVIDENCE AND/OR PROOF OF COMPLIANCE
6.01 CASES THAT REQUIRE PROOF OF COMPLIANCE. There are certain cases that you must provide proof to your lawyer. Those cases are referred to compliance cases. These are the types of cases that a lawyer must submit proof to the court in order to either (1) get the case dismissed or (2) obtain a deferred offer to protect your record. If you do not provide evidence in these types of cases that you have resolved the compliance issue, then you accept responsibility for any negative outcome. This is so important to the success of your case that we have included paragraph 6.02 in all bold to reiterate it’s importance.
6.02 HOW TO GET YOUR LAWYER THE PROOF THEY NEED ON COMPLIANCE CASES. IF YOU HAVE RECEIVED A CITATION FOR NO DRIVER’S LICENSE, NO INSURANCE, NO INSPECTION, NO REGISTRATION, OR ANY OTHER VIOLATION THAT REQUIRES PROOF OF COMPLIANCE IN THE FORM OF DOCUMENTATION PROVIDED BY YOU, THEN YOU ARE REQUIRED TO PROVIDE OUR OFFICE WITH PROOF OF THESE DOCUMENTS. IF YOU DO NOT PROVIDE OUR OFFICE WITH THESE DOCUMENTS AT LEAST 3 DAYS PRIOR TO YOUR FIRST
SETTING, THE DOCUMENTS ARE NOT CONSIDERED RECEIVED BY OUR OFFICE. THIS POLICY IS IN PLACE TO AVOID RECEIVING DOCUMENTS THE DAY BEFORE YOUR SETTING THEREFORE NOT GIVING OUR OFFICE ENOUGH TIME TO EVALUATE THE DOCUMENT RECEIVED AND ALLOWING US TO GET IT INTO YOUR FILE BEFORE THE HEARING. YOU UNDERSTAND BY HIRING OUR OFFICE THAT WE ARE A HIGH VOLUME FIRM. WE NEED AMPLE TIME TO PROCESS ANY DOCUMENT YOU INTEND FOR US TO USE ON YOUR BEHALF AT YOUR SETTING. WE STRIVE TO INFORM YOU OF EACH SETTING IN YOUR CASE AS SOON AS PRACTICABLE. WE ALSO STRIVE TO INFORM YOU OF ANY DOCUMENTS WE MAY NEED IN ORDER TO OBTAIN THE BEST POSSIBLE OUTCOME IN YOUR CASE. YOU CAN UPLOAD ALL DOCUMENTS DIRECTLY TO YOUR CASE FILE BY VISITING YOUR MYCASE PORTAL.
6.03 PROOF OF INSURANCE ISSUES. To further detail the importance of proof of compliance issues. Many times we will receive proof of insurance for a date other than when the actual citation was issued. Or we may receive insurance covering a vehicle where you are not the named insured on the policy. It is your responsibility to provide us with the correct policy binder and the correct date of coverage for the date that you were issued the citation. If you are not a named insured, it is your responsibility to provide our office with a letter of permission from the owner of the vehicle establishing that you had authorization to drive the vehicle you were stopped in on the date of the offense.
6.04 WHAT HAPPENS IF YOU DON’T GET US THE EVIDENCE WE NEED. IF CORRECT COMPLIANCE IS NOT PROVIDED WE WILL CONSIDER THAT FAILURE A VIOLATION OF THE TERMS SET FORTH IN SECTION 9 AND MAY PLEA YOUR CASE OUT TO THE BEST POSSIBLE DEAL OFFERED AT THE TIME OF YOUR SETTING AND/OR WITHDRAW FROM YOUR CASE. IF THE DOCUMENT IS NOT RECEIVED BEFORE THIS 3 DAY PERIOD AND YOUR CASE IS PLEAD AND YOU THEN PROVIDE US WITH THE CORRECT INFORMATION REQUESTING THAT WE GO BACK INTO COURT TO REVERSE ANY DEAL ENTERED INTO WITH THE COURT, WE RESERVE THE RIGHT TO CHARGE YOU A RE-HANDLING FEE IF WE HAVE TO FILE A MOTION FOR NEW TRIAL OR ANY OTHER DOCUMENT ON YOUR BEHALF TO HAVE YOUR CASE RECONSIDERED BY THE COURT. Remember, the legal fees are kept low for a reason. If you do not cooperate with our office in providing us with the information we need to help you, then you are causing our office and yourself to lose valuable time and money based on the fees charged. The key here is to get us the information we need fast and make sure that it is accurate. Do not waste the fee you have paid by ignoring our requests for information and documentation.
6.05 CONFIRMING WE GOT YOUR EVIDENCE. Many of our clients choose to e-mail compliance documents to our office. We would prefer that you upload any documents directly to your mycase portal. This way you know for certain the document has been received. If you decide to email a document PLEASE TAKE NOTE: Our office will always send a response to incoming e-mails to confirm receipt of any documentation sent to our office. If you have not received a response confirming receipt of your documentation, then you are to assume that it was not received. In this case, you must take the proactive step of calling our office to confirm receipt. We do not accept responsibility for any documentation that was sent and not placed in your file if you do not (1) receive an e-mail confirming receipt and (2) call to verify receipt of any documentation sent where you did not receive confirmation.
WHEN WE NEED YOU IN COURT WITH US
7.01 APPEARING IN COURT WITH YOUR LAWYER WHEN NEEDED. There are times when you may need to appear in court with your lawyer. Some courts will require you to appear in open court to dispose of your case. In some instances we will require you to appear to obtain the best possible outcome in your case. Failing to attend a hearing can have a drastic affect on our ability to protect you and your driving record. If you have not contacted our office to request a reset and/or fail to attend a scheduled court date you are required to attend, the attorney shall request deferred adjudication probation as the first option if you are eligible. If you are ineligible for deferred adjudication probation the attorney options. If you fail to supply our office with a copy of your insurance card and driver’s license, and we are unable to obtain deferred adjudication or defensive driving for you, WE WILL PLEAD NOLO CONTENDRE IF WE ARE ON YOUR BOND AND/OR WITHDRAW FROM YOUR CASE TO AVOID A NISI JUDGMENT AND/OR ALLOW THE CASE TO GO INTO WARRANT IF WE ARE NOT ON YOUR BOND.
CONTINUING YOUR CASE WHEN YOU CANNOT APPEAR
8.01. FILING A MOTION FOR CONTINUANCE. Most courts understand that there will be situations when a court date must be rescheduled due to prior obligations and/or unforeseen circumstances. However, in most courts the attorney must file a written motion for continuance well in advance of the trial/pre-trial date and must give a good reason for the request. The reset is discretionary with the Judge, but are usually granted if the motion is filed within the required deadline. Our office will be happy to assist you with the written request for continuance if you are required to appear in court and cannot make it and/or need more time to produce documents to establish compliance. The motion and fees associated with the request must be received at least 14 days prior to your hearing date. Our normal fee for drafting and submitting a request for continuance is $50.00.
REMAINING LEGAL “MUMBO JUMBO”
9.01 ARBITRATION CLAUSE. Any controversy or claim between the Client and the Attorney arising out of the Attorney’s representation of the Client shall be settled by arbitration in accordance with the Commercial Arbitration Rules of the American Arbitration Associated (“AAA”), but not administered by the AAA with a panel of three arbitrators. The Attorney shall select an arbitrator, the Client shall select an arbitrator and those two arbitrators shall together select the third arbitrator. All arbitrators shall be neutral and have no direct or significant interest in the matter for which the Client retained the Attorney. Judgment upon the award rendered by the arbitrator may be entered in any court having jurisdiction thereof.
LEGAL CONSTRUCTION OF AGREEMENT
10.01 THE ENFORCEABILITY OF THE ENTIRE CONTRACT. In case any one or more of the provisions contained in this terms of service shall for any reason, be held to be include, illegal, or unenforceable in any respect, such invalidity, illegality, or unenforceability shall not affect any other provision thereof and this terms of service shall be construed as if such invalid, illegal, or unenforceable provision had never been contained herein.
ANY PRIOR AGREEMENTS THAT WERE IN PLACE PRIOR TO THIS AGREEMENT
11.01 ALL OTHER AGREEMENTS ARE SUPERSEDED. Once our office has been retained this terms of service constitutes the sole and only terms of service of the parties hereto and supersedes any prior understandings or written or oral agreements between the parties respecting the within subject matter.
12.01 THERE ARE NO GUARANTEES. We cannot guarantee any expected outcome or conclusion of the legal matter due to numerous and complicated factors which are beyond our control. Just because you hire a lawyer does not mean your case will be dismissed magically. We make no express warranties concerning this transaction, and hereby expressly disclaim any implied warranties concerning it. It is expressly understood and agreed that no other representations have been made to you except those set out in this Terms of service.
Last revised February 2017