A person seeking legal help has more options than ever. A simple Google search can provide a wealth of information (and misinformation). Companies offer do-it-yourself legal services. Books claim to show you how to represent yourself. Friends and relatives may have their own well-meaning advice. You may be tempted to believe you can handle your legal situation yourself. But can you?
The consequences of mishandling your legal situation can be severe. You should consult with an attorney in the following scenarios:
- You have been sued
Receiving the formal paperwork initiating a lawsuit is an anxiety-provoking event. You may have been handed a complaint by a Sheriff or Constable. You may have received a letter from a law firm or governmental agency. Or you may be notified that your business has been sued.
If this has happened to you it is important to consult an attorney immediately. In some cases, a default judgment can be entered in as little as 3 weeks. In other instances, you may be notified of an important hearing or conference days or weeks away. Your money, property, or child custody may be at stake. You will likely be at a disadvantage if you try to handle the situation yourself.
A qualified attorney can help you understand and protect your rights. The right attorney will listen to you and help you defend yourself and the people and things you care about. Do not delay if you have been sued. It will not go away by ignoring it. But you can survive it if you act promptly and retain a good attorney.
- You have been charged with a crime
If you are charged with a crime, you may believe you can handle it yourself. You may believe you can get the charges dropped by speaking with the police or complaining witness. You may believe that, because you are innocent, you have nothing to worry about. You may believe it is too expensive to hire a lawyer. You may believe you can represent yourself by doing research and reading books and articles. Or you may believe the charges are not serious enough to contact an attorney.
It is nearly always a mistake not to consult an attorney if you are charged with a crime. Criminal matters are always serious and deserve to be taken seriously. You may lose your freedom or your property if you do not protect yourself. Having a criminal record can impact your employment prospects, educational opportunities, ability to obtain housing, reputation, and even your self-esteem and sense of identity.
A qualified attorney can help you understand the charges, assess the consequences, identify defenses, and chart a path forward. A good criminal defense attorney will take the time to understand you and your case. You need help if you want to successfully navigate the criminal system. Do not go it alone. Consult an attorney right away if you are charged with a crime.
- You want to understand your legal rights
Given the amount of information available online, you may be tempted to believe you can do your own research and figure out what your rights are. In some cases, you may be correct. However, the law is often more complicated than it appears. There may be loopholes and exceptions of which you are unaware. There may be deadlines. A law that appears to apply to your situation may not. Or, you may qualify or benefit from a statute or court case that you have overlooked.
An experienced attorney will provide the guidance you need. A competent attorney may have handled hundreds of similar situations. You can and should take advantage of this expertise. Do-it-yourself legal research can be a good start. If you want to make sure you fully understand your entire legal situation, however, you should take the time to consult a qualified attorney.
- You don’t know if you need a lawyer
Sometimes, the most important time to consult an attorney is when you don’t know if you need one. A competent attorney will listen and take the time to understand your situation. If no action is needed, consulting an attorney can put your mind at ease. If action is required, however, an attorney can identify next steps and guide you in the right direction. Some attorneys offer a free initial consultation. Others will charge a small fee to discuss your situation with you. Contact an attorney today if you are unsure whether you need one or not. The peace of mind will be worth the small investment of time and money.
- You need an advocate in your corner
Sometimes, you need an advocate to protect your interests. A licensed attorney has a fiduciary duty to act in the best interests of his or her client. A qualified attorney is a trained advocate who can speak on your behalf and be trusted to act in your best interests. The right attorney will give you the edge you need to succeed in difficult business negotiations, mediations, and public events. If you need an agent, experienced negotiator, or skilled communicator, hiring an attorney may be the right move.
Ward Law Offices provides legal assistance in areas including criminal defense, appellate litigation, and family law matters. We have also successfully represented individuals in town council meetings, landlord-tenant matters, and Unemployment Compensation hearings. We offer a low-cost initial consultation to see if we are a good fit for your legal needs. Contact Ward Law Offices today to schedule your consultation.