Frequently Asked Questions

Mr. Fox hopes this web page will answer most or all of your questions. If you have a question not answered here that you want to ask him, please complete the form at Contact the Lawyer. Of course, all communications with me will be kept strictly confidential — whether or not there is a retainer agreement.

What are your hours?

Office hours are from 9:00 am to 5:00 pm Monday through Friday. Drop-ins are discouraged — Mr. Fox may be in court or elsewhere out of the office. Please contact us for an appointment. Serious legal representation should rarely be undertaken without a face-to-face meeting. Because Mr. Fox services multiple county courthouses, scheduling an appointment is necessary. As the job demands it, we are often working into the evening and on weekends, so feel free to leave a message at any time.

I have a warrant out for my arrest; what should I do to get out of jail?

Don’t panic and don’t flee to Argentina! In a great number of cases, particularly misdemeanors, it is common to be released from jail and given a court date. Similarly, release on one’s own recognizance can occur in court at your first appearance. Most people do not wish to wait that long or even more importantly, do not wish to let the judge ever see them in custody. That’s smart. Impressions are formed at that first appearance, including by the judge and prosecuting attorney. That’s why one should always dress nicely for court.

I need to post bail, but I don’t really understand bail.

  1. Cash Bail: If your bail is $25,000.00 and you post that amount in a cashiers check with the court or jail, you will be released from custody. At the end of the case, win or lose, so long as you made your appearances, you will get all this money back.
  2. Post a Bail Bond: Find a reputable bail bondsman who is both licensed and insured. If you pay a fee of generally 10% of the total bail and provide 100% collateral for the full bail amount, the bail bondsman will post a bond with the court (secured by your collateral) and you will be released from custody. At the end of the case, win or lose, so long as you made your court appearances, you will have your bond exonerated and collateral released back to you. The 10% fee is not returned; it is the fee for the services of the bail bondsman. Consider negotiating with a selection of bail bondsman as one may be more willing to reduce his percentage fee than another, especially if the bail is over $100,000.00.
  3. Property Bond: For this, you may need a lawyer to follow through with all the steps in this process. In general, if you have twice the value of the bail amount in equity in real property (on a recent appraisal) you may qualify for this manner of release from custody. At the end of the case, win or lose, the encumbrance of twice the bail amount is released from your real property.

Please contact Mr. Fox about any of these steps in the process.

I am represented by a Public Defender; should I be concerned?

No. Public defenders are lawyers. Some public defenders are better than any private lawyer in the business. There is one consideration of paramount importance regarding representation by a public defender: you don’t get to pick your public defender. Just like lawyers in the private sector, some are better than others. Selecting the right lawyer to work for you is the most important decision you will make in this whole process.

Who you hire will affect the outcome of your case more significantly than the identity of the judge or prosecuting attorney. Mr. Fox spent 12 years in the trenches of the public defender’s office fighting the fight like he was being paid a million bucks. One time in the early 1990’s, old wonderful Peter Chang told him he just did a $5,000.00 job during a pre-trial negotiation on a simple DUI and suspended license case. Now, older and wiser, you will get the benefit of all that experience plus, for you, the time to dedicate to your case.

Can I pay fees for my son or daughter’s case?

Yes. Your son/daughter as the client must expressly agree to allow you to pay for a lawyer on their behalf and it must be understood that even though you are paying the attorney’s fees, there is no attorney-client relationship. That is, the lawyer must zealously represent his client’s interests — even where they may conflict with your desires. Moreover, unless the client expressly waives his right of confidentiality, Mom and Dad may be excluded from privileged communications between attorney and client. It is always a good idea to keep communications privileged and it would be or could be horrible to find Mom or Dad forced to testify to what their son or daughter told them about the case.

Can I pay online?

Yes. The Law Office of Douglas A. Fox has a dedicated PayPal account into which funds may be deposited.

How much are lawyer’s fees in typical cases? Do you charge more, or less, or about the same, as other lawyers in the area?

Fees for cases are either through trial or up to trial (additional fees for trial), as agreed upon between attorney and client. Some cases warrant significantly higher fees, e.g., life cases, 3 strikes, sex crime allegations, gang enhancements and murder.

Some examples of typical fees are:

  • MISDEMEANORS:
    • DUI: $500–$10,000
    • DOMESTIC VIOLENCE: $1,500–$5,000
    • PETTY THEFT: $1,000–$2,500
    • SUSPENDED DRIVER’S LICENSE: $500–$2,000
    • MARIJUANA POSSESSION: $500–$2,000
  • FELONIES:
    • DRUG CASES: $2,500–7,500
    • DOMESTIC VIOLENCE: $5,000–$10,000
    • SEX CRIMES/MURDER (any life exposure): $25,000–$100,000
  • EXPUNGEMENTS & PC 17b MOTIONS TO REDUCE FELONIES TO MISDEMEANORS:
    • $500–$2,000.

You may find other lawyers charge more or less than these figures. Also, these are estimates of time and money, your case may be uniquely configured so as to justify an upward or downward departure. What is most important is how the lawyer will handle your case, how will he/she evaluate your case, your chances of success and whether you are given the chance to make an intelligent and informed decision which may be the most important decisions in your life.

My fees may be higher than some better lawyers or lower than a lesser lawyer. You have to decide with whom you will be able to work and to whom you will in part entrust your freedom and reputation.

What is a plea bargain and when should I take one?

Plea bargaining is the reality of criminal law prosecutions. Most cases (95% or more) end not in a dismissal or a jury trial, but instead they end quietly, in court with an agreement to plead guilty or no contest to a negotiated settlement of the case.

A typical plea bargain involves an exchange of dismissed charges or counts for a conviction to one or more other charges/counts. Mr. Fox has handled rape cases which settle for a misdemeanor battery, with all sex crime charges dismissed. Typically, also, you will know exactly how the judge will sentence you or you will agree to a range of sentencing allowing the Judge to determine your sentence within that range.

The more important question is whether a given client should accept a particular plea bargain: this is where the better lawyers are separated from the lesser. Each lawyer will draw the line of what makes a fair plea bargain in a different place. Some think that any plea bargain is good because it resolves the case and lets the lawyer move on to another case. A better lawyer should evaluate the plea bargain offer against likelihood of success at trial to determine where the line should be drawn.

Mr. Fox is able to evaluate how strong or weak your case is to a high degree of accuracy. Lawyers are like pitchers in a baseball game: sometimes we go for the strikeout and other times, the intentional walk. Whether to accept a plea bargain is a choice of the client’s alone. Mr. Fox will only advise to accept a plea bargain if he honestly believes it is the best possible result for your case.