General Questions About Joyner Law
There are a multitude of things to look for when deciding which attorney is right for you.
First and foremost, look for attorneys who focus on criminal and traffic defense. At Joyner Law, that's all we do and where we spend 100% of our time and energy. We're not general practitioners, we don't dabble in family law or personal injury or anything else that would take us away from focusing on one thing: defending people charged with crimes and traffic offenses.
Experience is also paramount. We have handled thousands of cases across Virginia just like yours. We have been doing this for years and when we're not in court actively defending our clients, we're either working on our current cases to make sure we're as prepared as possible for court or making sure we're as up to date as possible on any changes or new developments in the law to best defend our clients.
Another thing to consider is communication. At Joyner Law, we believe communication is a pillar of the attorney-client relationship and it's our responsibility to build the trust and confidence you have in us to promptly and regularly communicate with you about your case. Virtually every call and absolutely every email sent to us is handled by an attorney. When you call a law firm to speak with your attorney, you should actually speak with your attorney. When you contact us to ask legal questions, you shouldn't receive legal answers from someone not qualified to give them, and you shouldn't wait days to hear back from us.
It's also important to try to get a feel for the attorney as you're meeting with or speaking to him or her. You should feel confident that the lawyer you're discussing your case with knows what they are talking about, fully and completely listens to not only your side of the story but also understands and appreciates what your goals and objectives are. Our focus is not building the largest client base we possibly can; we're trying to build the strongest relationships with our clients so that once you decide to hire us, you are confident that you have made the right choice.
Finally, it's always a good idea to check the law firm or lawyer's reviews from places like Google, Facebook, and Avvo to see what previous clients have to say about their experience working with that lawyer or law firm. We pride ourselves in making every client we represent feel like working with us with a positive experience and that they received exceptional service and exceptional results.
Our mission since our founding has been to provide exceptional legal representation at an affordable rate.
When we started, we felt that there was a disconnect between affordability and quality of legal representation among criminal and traffic defense in Virginia. There are a lot of people that were either paying too much for legal representation or couldn't afford high quality legal representation and instead of going with the right attorney for them, their budget dictated who to hire. We asked ourselves, "why can't there be someone charging affordable rates for top quality representation?" A lot of our answers came down to how these firms operate.
From there it became obvious what the solution was: optimize the process and make the operational aspects of the firm much more efficient. We built a proprietary back-end process from the ground up to eliminate the need for a bloated staff, and made many of the tasks that we do for every case automated. That did two things: 1. it allows us to have a smaller staff and pass that cost savings on to you; and 2. it frees up the staff and attorneys to put more effort into doing the things that make us better and more efficient at the things that matter to you, like every case being reviewed multiple times over the life of the case to make sure we're best equipped to defend you when your court date comes around and freeing us up to spend time researching the most up-to-date ways to defend you in court.
Once we figured that out, it became clear that we could cut out an enormous amount of waste and pass those savings along to you. Because of that, we can provide the exceptional service you expect when you hire a quality attorney to represent you in court at a rate that you can afford.
A consultation about your case with Joyner Law is absolutely free!
We hope to cover as much as we possibly can about your case and give you a fair and honest assessment of your case, what defenses you might have, set expectations about the outcome, go over what your ultimate goals are, and learn as much as we can about each other.
Sometimes those conversations are quick, sometimes they are not. Often the length of the consultation is dictated by what you are charged with and where you were charged. At the end of that call, we'll get some contact information to send you a Fee Agreement and some other helpful information tailored to your case that will be useful for you whether you hire us or not.
Our consultations are completely confidential and there is no obligation on your part to retain us once it's over. We won't pressure you to hire us when you call and unless there is some sort of urgency like a court appearance within the next couple of days, we're always going to give you time to continue to do your due diligence on finding the right attorney for you.
We charge affordable flat rates for virtually all of our services and we believe that cost shouldn't be prohibitive for top quality legal representation.
Our fees largely depend on what you are charged with and where you are charged. A DWI in Brunswick County is handled differently than a DWI in Henrico County. The judges, prosecutors, local rules, and prosecutor policies are different everywhere.
That being said, we don't believe a lawyer should charge $500 for a speeding ticket or traffic offense, or that a Reckless Driving charge should cost $2,500 to defend. We also think DWI / DUI charges typically shouldn't run up to $10,000, and all but the most serious of criminal charges ought not to require a second mortgage to come up with tens of thousands of dollars to pay your legal fees.
We have honest, upfront pricing that we feel confident is affordable for everyone.
There could be a lot of reasons for that, and some of it could just be their pricing model. Other reasons could be that some detail was mentioned to us that wasn't mentioned to them, or vice versa, that may have an enormous impact on the complexity of the case.
Every law firm or lawyer has their own way of pricing their services and it would imprudent for us to speculate on why a specific firm or lawyer charges what they do. What we can certainly promise you is this: we are going to give you the time in our consultation to fully explore the case before quoting you a price so you don't have to worry about that changing down the road, and we're going to make that quote fair and affordable.
One reason for someone else offering a lower price might be that we are unwilling to cut corners in the quality of your representation to increase our case load and ultimately our top line revenue. That's not a great way to run a business and it is certainly not the way a law firm should uphold it's professional responsibility to represent their clients with diligence and competence.
The law firms that charge more than us may not be responding to the changing landscape of legal fees in Virginia for criminal and traffic defense. The old way of just answering the phone and trying to milk out as much money as possible from an unsuspecting potential client is coming to an end. Potential clients are more informed of their options than ever, demand is more elastic than it has ever been, and the inventory of ready and willing attorneys to take your case is higher than ever.
We read the market for legal services for criminal and traffic defense on a macro level and independently assess our fee schedule. We want you to hire us to represent you because we feel that we are the best attorneys to handle your criminal or traffic case in Virginia. That said, we don't want to lower our prices to the point that our case load impacts our ability to represent you the way you want and deserve to be represented and we don't want to raise our prices because the foundational principle upon which our firm was established was and still is to provide excellent service at a reasonable cost.
No, we do not guarantee results. Our interpretation of Virginia Rules of Professional Responsibility Rule 7.1, which prohibits false and misleading communication prohibits any attorney from guaranteeing a result and we caution against hiring an attorney willing to do so.
We have represented tens of thousands of clients across Virginia and can give you a very good idea of what the outcome in your case may be based on the facts you provide about what happened, but to guarantee a particular outcome may create an unjustified expectation that wouldn't be fair to you and we believe would constitute the exact kind of conduct that the Virginia State Bar made Rule 7.1 to protect the public against.
What we can guarantee is how much effort we will put forth in defending you in your case, how thoroughly we will work to protect you, and how much we will care about you and your case.
Similarly to our hesitance to make guarantees, we don't believe in advertising our success rates and outcomes.
Cherry-picking our best outcomes and advertising those to you seems to us to be clearly misleading. Picking out a case where we got a 100/70 Reckless Driving charge reduced to Defective Equipment is clearly not a reasonable expectation in most cases and to show you that creates an unreasonable expectation that the same is likely to happen in your case. Highlighting where a client charged with several felonies had all of the charges dropped is also not providing you with any helpful information about your case. The same could be said with cases where DWI trials have resulted in Not Guilty verdicts.
We also don't like the idea of advertising that a certain percentage of the cases we handle are reduced or dismissed. Advertising a number in the high 90% range of cases that are reduced or dismissed also feels wrong in that it makes it sound like we are almost guaranteeing an outcome or at the very least, using information you have no way of verifying to lead you to believe that there is a 90-something percent of getting your case dismissed.
Every case, even seemingly straightforward cases like speeding tickets or reckless driving charges, are unique and the facts and circumstances surrounding them are different. We feel that best barometer for measuring the results an attorney or law firm has gotten for clients is to read reviews online from previous clients.
For all non-traffic criminal cases, the answer is absolutely yes. The attorney that you speak with and believe that you are hiring when you hire us will be the attorney representing you in your case.
For traffic cases, it would disingenuous for us to guarantee that you will be represented by the attorney that you initially spoke with. We certainly will do our best to accommodate any request you have about which attorney within the firm will represent you, it's often a scheduling challenge to make sure it's always going to be the exact person you initially spoke with. What we can guarantee is that every attorney at Joyner Law is going to be very intimate with your case file prior to court and that it will absolutely be a fully trained, very experienced attorney representing you in court. We don't hire bad attorneys here, we don't accept bad results, and we make sure that every single person that we represent is comfortable with their representation. We try to make our schedule two to three weeks in advance so you will know and have an opportunity to speak with the exact person representing you prior to your hearing.
Every case here is reviewed by every attorney at the firm both before and after your case. We are all as equipped and knowledge about your case as everyone else here. Our proprietary intake process makes it impossible for each attorney to not be up to speed about your case.
One other thing to note: it has become fairly common in Virginia for attorneys to "outsource" your case to another attorney outside of their practice to help ease their scheduling burden. We absolutely despise this practice. When you hire Joyner Law to represent you in court, Joyner Law is going to represent you, not some random attorney you've never heard of. Sometimes it ends up being an attorney you already spoke with and decided not to hire, just for the attorney you actually retained to fax your file to that first attorney to handle the afternoon before your hearing. That flies directly in the face of what we're all about. You deserve the best attorney possible for your case, 100% of the time. Outsourcing to another lawyer to handle what you hired us to do is something we will never do.
Questions About Speeding and Traffic Violations*
Generally yes. The points typically will transfer to your home state via the Driver's License Compact. Always check with your state's DMV or DMV equivalent.
Some states may even impose harsher penalties than the court or the Virginia DMV would. Other states may not care at all about your ticket in Virginia. We have tried our best to be as up-to-date as possible on the transmission of points and convictions between Virginia and other states so feel free to give us a call to discuss. If you live in a state that likely won't care about your Virginia ticket, we're going to tell you very early on in the conversation.
It depends, but generally for traffic infractions you do not have to appear in court, whether you live in Virginia or not. That being said, there are certain judges that will require your presence if you want some sort of relief from the conviction so it's important to speak with an attorney familiar with the jurisdiction where your case will be heard to make sure you are fully aware of the local rules.
Speeding offenses in Virginia are more or less strict liability offenses, subject to very few defenses. That means that if the officer clocked you going in excess of the speed limit, you are largely in violation of the law, regardless of whether another vehicle was also going the same speed or even faster than you were traveling.
Many law enforcement agencies in Virginia have switched from RADAR to LIDAR devices to determine speed, which allows them to zero in on one specific vehicle. In those cases, they may not even see other cars around you and you were the unlucky person that clocked.
Typically not. In most cases, these mistakes are considered harmless clerical errors that can be amended at trial.
Sometimes, but it is very uncommon. Judges typically allow for continuances on the first court date or if the officer is responding to some other work related duty. Other times, the officer may have been injured between the ticketing date and the court date and is unable to appear in court. It's not likely that the officer won't be there for your hearing, but it does happen on occasion and the judges are pretty lenient about continuances for good cause.
If the officer doesn't appear on subsequent court dates and doesn't have a reason to not be there or failed to communicate his absence with the court, the judge is much more likely to allow you or us to enter a Not Guilty plea in his absence. That is incredibly uncommon, but it's possible.
Not a lot, especially now that most officers wear body cameras. Typically, if you are pulled over, expect to receive a ticket and be as polite and cooperative with the officer as you can.
Often, officers will cut you a break on the side of the road and write the ticket for less than the speed they actually clocked you. We see a disproportionate number of tickets that are for 9-over the speed limit, which we've only seen given for actually going 9-over a handful of times in the years we've been handling traffic offenses. We also see a lot more 80/70 speeding tickets because the officers don't want to write a ticket for Reckless Driving by Speeding in Excess of 80mph.
We also see a lot of Following Too Closely tickets or other non-speed related traffic infractions when the appropriate charge might have been Reckless Driving-Improper Brakes or Reckless Driving-Generally because the officer does not want to give you a criminal charge.
Officers are people, but they are also sworn to enforce the law. If you are pulled over by an officer, it usually best to accept that you are probably going to receive a ticket and your best course of action is to be as polite and cooperative as possible and understand that your opportunity to defend yourself is in court, not on the side of the road.
Signing the ticket is not an admission of guilt. It's basically a promise that you are making to deal with the ticket in some way. You are basically agreeing to answer for the summons. In traffic tickets, the officer should also indicate to you that you are not agreeing or even required to appear.
If you don't sign the ticket, the officer can arrest you and take you before a magistrate. It's ridiculous, and you won't spend any time in jail, assuming you otherwise behave yourself, but it's within the officer's authority to do so under the Virginia Code. Basically, it's always in your best interest to sign the ticket, take the summons, and deal with the officer in court, not on the side of the road.
Speeding in Virginia does not require the specific intent to be speeding, so it doesn't matter if you weren't paying attention, your speedometer was inaccurate, or you otherwise didn't realize how fast you were going.
A speedometer calibration is used to determine if there is a technical issue with your speedometer that causes it to incorrectly report how fast you are going.
Sometimes it helps to have a speedometer calibration performed on your car prior to court. Your best bet for finding someone to perform the calibration is searching online for mechanics in your area that provide this service. Using the search terms "speedometer calibration (your location)" is usually the best place to start.
This isn't always necessary so make sure to discuss with us whether you need to go this route.
When you have the calibration performed, make sure that you receive an actual certificate of calibration that shows exactly how off your calibration is. Judges won't find it helpful if the mechanic just writes on an invoice, "Customer complained about speedometer accuracy, removed instrument panel and replaced speed cluster." If your speedometer is inaccurate, the Judge will want to know to what extent.
Sometimes proactively completing a driving school course or driver improvement clinic prior to your hearing is a prudent decision. Other times it is completely unnecessary. It really depends on the facts of the case and the judge that's likely to hear it.
If you are going to take the class in advance, it's important to understand that there are several different types of driving school options and not all of them are accepted by every judge in every jurisdiction. Some judges require in-person classes, other judges are accepting to online courses. If you show up to court with an online certificate in a jurisdiction where the judge accepts only in-person classes, you will have wasted time and money on the online course.
In other cases, you may show up to court with a certificate only to find out that the judge doesn't consider driving school classes at all. Sometimes a person will take a class hoping to get the insurance benefit as well as using the certificate in court, only to find out that the judge is wise to that practice and holds it against you. Other cases may require an aggressive driving school class rather than a regular 8 hour class.
All of that is to say, the only way to truly know what course of action is best in your case is to contact an attorney familiar with the court and the judge and find out what you should do.
Call an attorney familiar with that jurisdiction and that type of charge. At minimum, you can use the free consultation to gain better insight in how the court operates and what the judge usually does.
You always have the right to represent yourself in any case in Virginia. For speeding tickets and traffic infractions, you are not entitled to an attorney, but it's usually best to have one represent you. A common quote used by attorneys as reason for why they won't even represent themselves in cases is, "a man who is his own lawyer has a fool for a client."
An attorney in your case is beneficial for several reasons: first, they are familiar with the judge, the court rules, and the prosecutors and know how to handle your case to get the best possible outcome. In some cases, the prosecutors won't speak to or work out deals with unrepresented defendants. In other cases, there might be a substitute judge that you won't know isn't the regular judge and not realize that's the reason all of the attorneys have tried to continue all of their cases.
You also might run into the issue of having to navigate defending yourself while still protecting your rights. Or you might not know that what the officer is testifying about is generally inadmissible. Or when the officer finishes his testimony, you might not be aware that there is an opportunity to move the court to strike the case based on the lack of evidence and when you start talking about your side of the story, the gaps in what happened start to close.
In some cases, an attorney is completely unnecessary. In others, an attorney is worth their weight in gold. The only way to know for sure is to contact an attorney familiar with the court and your case who you can trust to give you the appropriate guidance on what is right for you.
No. Infractions for speeding or other traffic violations are limited only to a fine. Because there is no possibility of jail time in a traffic infraction case, the court cannot appoint an attorney for you. If you want an attorney for your infraction, you will have to hire a private attorney to represent you.
In criminal cases, like Reckless Drivin