While some legal matters need the use of an attorney, some such as going to small claims courts or fighting a speeding ticket do not require an attorney. Nevertheless, some situations like the ones dealing with legal disputes, deal or challenge may require you to hire a lawyer because the last thing you want to do is risk the chance of going it alone. In addition to offering pieces of advice, a lawyer may help you get out of many sticky situations like DUI violation, bad divorce or lost job.
Although each person has different legal situation, there are instances when everyone feels like they really need to get an attorney. Below are ten instances when we need to hire a lawyer:
· To file court documents properly:
Aside from understanding how to file court documents properly, attorneys can comfortably handle other legal procedures. If you are not a lawyer, you are likely to have difficulties filling out or filing certain legal documents. Beating the deadline and following the protocol properly while filling out those documents may also be a problem. Remember, one incorrect filing or late filling can delay a given legal procedure, derail your case, or even worse; have your case thrown out altogether (and not in your favor).
· To challenge or suppress evidence:
The complexity of a court of law makes it difficult to even know that the main piece of evidence against you was obtained improperly. Ideally, without an experienced attorney, you may not know that the testimony of a witness contradicts an earlier statement. It may also be difficult to know whether the crime lab comprehensively handled the evidence. With an attorney, you will be in a good position to challenge and even suppress evidence.
· When you are not certain how to plead:
Let alone knowing how to plead, more than a few people do not know the definition of “pleading”. To some, pleading guilty may be the only choice, especially if there are charges pointing directly at them. However, if you have an attorney who knows and understands the law well, your situation can be twisted until you escape the potential severe penalties of a court of law. In some cases, attorneys have helped their clients escape the penalties of a court of law even before the start of a criminal trial.
· Because the law is normally complicated:
Certain legal instances do not require you to act like an attorney, especially if you are not one. Reviewing a contract and embarking on other endeavors with legal ramifications are two examples. Considering the fact that even experienced and knowledgeable attorneys hardly represent themselves in a court of law, hiring a lawyer is highly crucial. A solid case can quickly come into existence without the help of an attorney. Furthermore, failing to have a lawyer when dealing with certain procedures such as starting a business, can lead to otherwise avoidable penalties.
· To help you identify private detectives and expert witnesses:
Since it is hard to know any private detective or expert witness (given that you barely visit a court of law), hiring an attorney when you have a legal problem is highly recommended. Unlike non-attorneys (who do not personally know the type of professionals who can help with discovery or challenge evidence or testimony by the opposing party), attorneys rely on an extended network of professionals to help their clients win cases.
· To avoid unnecessary expenses:
If you think that hiring a lawyer is costly, you are wrong. Based on what is at stake, failure to have an attorney may prove costly. While one of the penalties of a criminal court include spending some time behind bars, most penalties of a civil court are likely to hurt you financially. With an attorney, you will actually save a lot, especially if you have a civil attorney (civil attorneys barely collect anything from a client unless he/she wins the case). Moreover, civil cases sometimes allow plaintiffs to claim legal fees.
· To get a free initial consultation:
Because most lawyers will meet with you free of charge during a face-to-face consultation, there is really no harm in discussing your legal matters with one. Apart from giving you an idea of the type of case you have at hand, a free consultation will help you make a decision on whether or not you really need to get an attorney.
· To strike up a good settlement offer or plea bargain, if necessary:
An experienced attorney is knowledgeable enough and has seen cases similar to yours or at least knows enough to make the right guess pertaining to how your case might be resolved at trial. While a settlement might be the best bet sometimes, in other instances, it makes more sense to see your case through to trial. Additionally, a lawyer can be vocal in negotiating a fair settlement with the opposing counsel.
· To avoid problems in the first place:
To those who believe in the saying “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure”, would probably have a lawyer. Why? Lawyers, especially experienced ones, will help you escape potential legal headaches that normally arise during a legal procedure. For example, they will help you sign a contract because they understand its fine print.
· When the opposing party has legal representation:
You are likely to be at a disadvantage when doing business with another party or squaring off legal matters against opposing counsel that has legal representation. Given the complexity of the law, a lawyer representing your adversary (or even a non-adversarial counsel entering into a legal agreement with you), will take advantage of this inequity.
Sometimes, the need for an attorney is a no-brainer: When you are arrested, when you are charged with a criminal offense or when you have been served with a lawsuit. While hiring a lawyer may be costly, he/she may help you win your case. Ideally, it is not necessary that you be in the above situations to hire a lawyer; people hire attorneys when they need expertise and advice, and they do this all of the time. Overall, when you decide to hire an attorney, be sure to get one who is experienced and can deal with or is familiar with your situation.