If you have never had a lawyer before, you may not know when it is appropriate to seek help from one. Here’s how you know you need a lawyer.
Every year, more than 100 million legal cases are filed in state trial courts, and a further 400,000 legal cases are filed in the federal court system. The sheer number of legal issues Americans face is immense. What is perhaps even more surprising is that some people decide not to hire a lawyer to represent them. Up to 80% of state criminal defendants in lower income groups say that cannot afford a lawyer. Some people believe they don’t need a lawyer in order to get through their court case.
However, the consequences of not having a lawyer for even minor offenses can be significant. For example, if an individual is convicted of a misdemeanor charge, they can face expensive fines, lose benefits, and potentially lose things like a driving license for a period of time. These can place an individual in financial and emotional hardship, and mean they may go on to lose their job.
The power of having legal representation thus goes beyond navigating the process of the court case itself. It can make a difference to at least the next few years of your life. Whether a criminal defense lawyer such as Hanlon Law is appropriate for your needs, or if you need to pursue legal aid avenues, working with a lawyer for any legal issue you face is almost always a good idea.
Here are some situations when you would need a lawyer.
1. You’re Getting Divorced
With more than 750,000 divorces taking place in the United States every year, getting a divorce is one of the most common reasons why someone works with a lawyer. Strictly speaking, you don’t necessarily need a lawyer to get divorced. If you don’t have any children or any significant shared assets – and the divorce is amicable – you might manage to get divorced without a lawyer, or by using a cheap online divorce service. But in any other situation, you will probably want to have a lawyer to ensure you get a fair settlement.
2. You’ve Been Arrested
If you’ve been arrested for something, it’s always a good idea to get a lawyer. Even if it’s for something minor, or if you didn’t commit the offense you’ve been accused of, you may well need professional help proving your case. If you’re unsure about the expense of having to pay for a lawyer, just try to think through what would happen if you got the worst penalty for the crime you’ve been accused of committing. A lawyer can help to prove your innocence and/or lessen your punishment.
3. You’re Facing Workplace Discrimination
If you’re having an issue at work, your tendency might be to try to resolve it through the channels your employer offers. This might be by seeking help from your manager or another superior, or gaining advice from colleagues in human resources. While it is always good to try not to escalate situations before it is necessary, it is important to consider legal representation too. Everyone has a right to do their job without facing any discrimination, and there are state and federal laws to back this up. If you think something you are facing is unfair, it is more than likely you will benefit from the help of a lawyer.
4. You Have a DUI
Driving under the influence (DUI) is something you hear about often, because a lot of people seem to get them. This doesn’t make it an insignificant charge. A DUI can become something that is quite serious. If you are found guilty, you will certainly lose your driving license for a time, and you will have to pay fines. Furthermore, if this is not your first offense, if you caused an injury to someone else, or something else about the circumstances makes this more serious, you could face jail time and even more extensive fines. This is why the rule is to never face a DUI charge without a lawyer to help you.
5. You’re Starting a Business
For people who have decided to start their own business, getting support from a lawyer can be something that is forgotten entirely. Even if you’re running something small scale, such as selling your own hand-made crafts online, legal input is still important. A lawyer can help ensure you have filed all the relevant paperwork in order to be able to run your business, and that you are meeting all the necessary criteria in your business operations. You will also need a lawyer to protect you legally if any issues arise in the future with your business, or if someone decides to file a lawsuit against you. A lawyer can help you identify the risks your business might carry, and protect you accordingly.