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How to Tell If You Need a Lawyer

There are many legal situations that arise in life making it hard to determine when you need legal representation. When considering whether you need a lawyer or not, you ought to determine whether you are dealing with a civil matter or criminal matter. Civil law is involved with compensation while criminal law is involved with fines and prison sentences. Some civil matters, such as traffic tickets do not require the presence of an attorney; however, serious cases such as criminal charges for robbery, normally call for legal assistance. The best way to tell when you need a lawyer is by simply identifying situations when an attorney's involvement is necessary. Here are a few common cases where legal assistance is crucial.

Divorce

When couples agree on the issues of their separation, the presence of a lawyer is not needed. However, when a divorce involves issues of investments, debt, property, child support, and child custody, legal representation should be sought. When a divorce is finalized, the terms and conditions are binding and will not change even when you return to court. To avoid agreeing to terms that will cost you in future, you need to hire a lawyer for your divorce proceedings.

DUI

Driving under the influence is a serious charge that may result in jail time, fines, or the loss of your license. You should never attend court for a DUI hearing without legal representation. Your lawyer will negotiate for reduced charges if you are a first offender, or bargain for better terms if you are a repeat offender.

Car Accident With Injuries

If you have sustained serious injuries in a vehicular accident, and you are not to blame for the accident, the at-fault party's insurance company will pressure you to settle quickly. It is advisable to consult your lawyer before making any settlement deals with the other party's insurance provider. Neck, spinal, brain injuries, and concussions, are some of the common injuries arising during serious crashes. Insurance companies are notorious for offering injured parties less than they deserve, and the moment you settle, any future claims arising are invalid. The presence of a lawyer during injury claims is intimidating to the insurance company and will lead to a fair settlement unless there are complex issues that contribute to a court trial.

Criminal Charges

If you are facing a criminal charge, you may be dealing with either a misdemeanor or felony. A misdemeanor carries a small jail sentence of less than 12 months, or a sizeable fine while a felony may include both a jail sentence and fine. Whether you are guilty or not, having the backing of a lawyer is a smart move during criminal proceedings.

Wills and Trusts

When the owner of an estate dies, there is a probability that disputes will arise if their will is not properly drawn. Setting up a trust or will is a smart move when one has assets and property that they want to transfer to their children or next of kin. A lawyer can help you with the legalities of drafting wills and trusts to avoid future conflicts.

Business Startups

If you want to start a business, a sole proprietorship or partnership, you need a lawyer to help you set up your business according to the law. In partnerships, you will need a lawyer to draft a deed that sets out responsibilities, and the liabilities of partners in a clear-cut manner. The presence of a lawyer during the formation of businesses is important to avoid future court battles and to ensure everything is done by the book.

Distinguishing when to hire a lawyer, and when to go it alone, can be a bit tricky. The rule of thumb is to involve a lawyer in issues involving compensation, financial issues, serious legal implications, criminal charges, and where the stakes are high.

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T.J. Smith, Attorney at Law
600 W Main Street Suite 100
Louisville, KY 40202


Phone: 502-792-7937
Phone: 502-589-2560
Phone: 270-261-4114
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