Personal Injury Questions
How much do you charge to review my case?
There is no charge for an initial consultation to discuss your case. If, after reviewing the case, we decide your case has merit, we will advance all costs necessary to investigate and prosecute your case. When the case concludes, these costs are reimbursed to the firm from the recovery. If there is no recovery in your case, you owe us nothing.
How much will it cost to have you represent me?
Bonjour, Thorman, Burns & Dahm, like most law firms who specialize in plaintiff personal injury, charges on a “contingency fee” basis. This means that our fee will come from the damages we recover on your behalf. If there is no recovery, we do not receive a fee. While the contingency fees are negotiable between the attorney and the client, the fee agreement must be in writing and signed by both the attorney and the client.
Does your firm handle cases throughout California?
Yes. Bonjour, Thorman, Burns & Dahm handles cases throughout the state of California, sometimes in conjunction with local attorneys if the case needs to be litigated outside of the Bay Area.
Who will work on my case?
One of the benefits of hiring a boutique firm like Bonjour, Thorman, Burns & Dahm is that your case will be handled by one of our attorneys. The lawyers are assisted by members of our administrative staff but the case is directed exclusively by the attorney handling your case.
Can I handle my case on my own or do I need a lawyer to represent me?
Not all claims require a lawyer but most cases do require the expertise of an experienced personal injury attorney. You might be able to negotiate a settlement with the insurance company on your own but it is not advisable. If you have any doubt, please give us a call. We will provide you with an initial consultation without charge.
What is a “statute of limitations” and how does this affect my potential case?
A statute of limitations is the maximum amount of time you may wait before you must file a lawsuit. There are many different time limits, depending upon the kind of case you are seeking to bring. If you have a claim against a public entity, you must do so within six months. There are different statutes of limitations, depending upon the specific set of facts and circumstances of each individual case. Contact us immediately if you believe the statute of limitations is about to run in your case. Once the statute has run, you lose forever the ability to bring your lawsuit or claim.
Criminal Defense Questions
Can you help me get out of jail?
Helping our clients get out of jail and stay out of jail is our top priority. We work with reputable bail bondsmen who respond immediately when we need to help a client post a bail bond. We are also able to get our clients discounted rates on bail fees with a referral from our firm, either through a discounted percentage rate or a payment plan. Bonjour, Thorman, Burns & Dahm does not receive compensation for helping our clients navigate the process of posting a bail bond.
Our firm has also been successful in helping clients post property bonds instead of relying on a bail bonds company to post a bond. This can result in thousands of dollars in savings in bail money for our clients. We will assist you in determining the value of the property and then file the paperwork necessary to post a property bond to get you out of jail.
The police officer wants me to tell him my side of the story. Is that a good idea?
IT IS NEVER A GOOD IDEA TO TALK TO THE POLICE WITHOUT A LAWYER PRESENT. The Fifth Amendment of the United States provides you with two important rights – the right to remain silent and the right to an attorney. If you are contacted by police to give a statement, tell the officer that you are going to remain silent and will not talk without your lawyer present.
Call Bonjour, Thorman, Burns & Dahm immediately if you believe that the police are trying to interview you about an incident. Many times, if a decision has been made to place you under arrest, we are able to arrange your appearance in court without the embarrassment of being arrested in front of family, friends or coworkers.
There is a message on the jail phone that my calls are being recorded. Should I be worried?
Yes, do not talk about the alleged crime while you are in custody. All phone calls and correspondence in and out of jail are monitored and recorded by law enforcement. Any communication made while in custody can be used against a client at any stage of the proceedings.
I was charged with a domestic violence offense and the court has issued a restraining order against me. What can I do?
The first thing that happens in a domestic violence case is that the judge issues a restraining order prohibiting the defendant from contacting the complaining witness. The restraining order, also known as a “no contact” order, is a court order stating that the defendant cannot contact the complaining witness, in any way, for at least the length of the case. In many situations, the complaining witness does not want a “no contact” order placed between him/her and the defendant. For a variety of reasons, the defendant and the complaining witness may want and need to communicate with each other. The “no contact” order can be changed. We have helped all of our clients who wanted the “no contact” order lifted by bringing the case back into court and asking the judge for a modification. Once the “no contact” order is modified, we focus on defending the criminal case.
I was arrested for driving under the influence. Do I have to submit to a chemical test?
If you are arrested for drunk driving you are required by law to provide a breath or blood sample for testing. This is true even if you blew into a portable breath machine prior to your arrest. If you refuse to take a chemical test after you have been arrested, you will face a longer license suspension or revocation that you otherwise might. However, officers are required to offer you the choice of a blood test or a breath test.
I was arrested for driving under the influence. What is going to happen with my license?
Unless you or your DUI attorney requests a hearing with the DMV within 10 days of your DUI/DWI arrest, your driver’s license will be automatically suspended. As your DUI attorney, we will do everything we can with the court and the DMV to prevent your license from being suspended. We are regularly able to persuade DMV hearing officers not to suspend our clients’ licenses. In other cases, we have been able to help our clients obtain restricted licenses that allowed them to drive to and from work.