Are you trying to decide if you need the representation of a lawyer?
This is a substantial investment that most people don’t want to make, but there are circumstances that require advanced legal knowledge. There are some civil cases that you may handle on your own, but the American Bar Association recommends everyone consult with an attorney when they’re arrested for criminal charges, served papers for a lawsuit, or struggling with the aftermath of an accident.
The more you have to lose in a legal matter, the more compelled you may feel to hire a lawyer. If you aren’t convinced that now is the time to make that investment, consider the following ways that a lawyer can help you win your case or at least minimize the damages.
1. Simplifying Complicated Cases
Whether you’re dealing with a civil or criminal case, you probably don’t have the legal knowledge needed to defend yourself effectively. Even if you have the time to spend hours researching all applicable laws, those law codes are difficult to understand. You will likely spend days if not weeks and months researching laws that an attorney already understands.
Most people also struggle to make sense of the tangled details of a legal case. There are often small details that can make the difference between a misdemeanor or a felony. If you don’t have substantial experience studying and applying the law, you will likely miss details that could leave you vulnerable in court.
A trained attorney can look at your case and turn the details into a compelling case that ensures maximum protection when your case goes to court. They can also explain complicated laws in easy-to-understand terms, helping you understand what may happen in court. If you don’t fully understand what the judge or other involved parties are saying, you know that your attorney understands and will respond on your behalf.
In many cases, an attorney can keep your case from going to court. What seems like an impossible case to you turns into a manageable situation because your attorney strikes a dream-come-true deal out of court.
2. Long-Term Savings
The legal system is a billion-dollar industry, and you can easily spend thousands of dollars defending yourself in a legal case. Even if you aren’t facing a civil or criminal trial, you may need to pay a lawyer to draw up legal papers and possibly file them with the court. These are expenses that few people can afford, but they’re often the cheaper option in the long run.
For instance, you may pay an attorney to get criminal charges dismissed, sparing you from court fees and fines that would total far more than your lawyer fees. In this case, your attorney could also spare you from a jail sentence that would stop you from working for an extended period of time. You end up with more money in your pocket, even with the upfront legal expenses.
If you’re the plaintiff in a civil case, an attorney can maximize your damages while strengthening your case, so you have a better chance of winning in court. If you’re the defendant, an attorney can analyze the details of the case to strengthen your defense and help you avoid a judgement or at least minimize your financial liability.
Rather than focusing only on the cost of an attorney, think about the potential cost of not having professional representation. If you could end up paying out more or may have to serve time in jail, it’s probably better to pay the attorney.
3. Limiting Mistakes
Most legal cases come with expectations, precedents, and customs that aren’t spelled out in legal books. Attorneys understand these things because they have years of experience in the courts and have substantial classroom and practical training to guide them past obstacles that will cause an untrained person to stumble. They also have professional connections that help them identify potential mistakes that they haven’t personally encountered in the past.
Depending on the nature of your case, a small mistake could get your case tossed out of court or your paperwork denied. You could end up facing more time in prison on charges that an attorney could have helped you get dismissed. Perhaps your mistake will lead to more substantial fines, or restrictions on your child custody rights or divorce terms that aren’t in your favor.
All of this can happen because you unknowingly make expensive mistakes when trying to defend yourself. The training, experience, and connections that attorneys bring to the table will limit those mistakes, so you have a better chance of winning your case.
How to Find the Right Attorney
Most attorneys now have detailed websites that make it easy to determine their legal specialties, experience, education, and past successes. Your first step is to search online for attorneys in your area who are specialized in the type of law relevant to your case. Look over their websites to create a list of two or three attorneys that may fit your needs. You can then search for online reviews from past clients and check with the American Bar Association for further information on those attorneys.
Use the information that you collect to select one lawyer, and then call their office to schedule a consultation. Some attorneys offer free consultations that give you the chance to explain your case without a financial penalty, but it depends on the type of lawyer that you need and practices in your local area.
If you’re still not sure whether you need to hire an attorney, see if you can get a free consultation with a qualified lawyer in your area. After that initial meeting, you will have a better idea of what to expect from your case. So, best start your search today.