Over the last decade, the number of active lawyers in the U.S. has gone up by 15.2 percent. This increase represents the rising demand for legal representation by Americans across the country. Most people facing the legal system opt to at least talk to a lawyer before they go to court.
Of course, you may be wondering, “Do I need a lawyer whenever faced with a legal matter?” The simple answer is no; not all legal situations require the use of a lawyer. For instance, you don’t need to hire an attorney to deal with a speeding ticket or when you’re visiting a small claims court.
There are other situations, however, where you shouldn’t risk going to court without a lawyer. Failing to work with an experienced attorney in such circumstances could result in lost claims, broken agreements, and sometimes jail time.
In this article, we’ll tell you the importance of hiring a lawyer in nine common situations. We’ll also tell you what happens if you go to court without a lawyer in some of these situations. Read on to learn more.
When Do I Need a Lawyer?
Finding the right legal representation may sound like an expensive undertaking for some people, but the cost of not doing so can prove a lot higher. When faced with the following situations, for instance, never attempt to go about things without the help of an experienced attorney.
1. A Complex Divorce
No one likes to think about divorce, but divorce has always been a realistic part of society. Where the couple can mutually agree to the terms of the divorce, then an attorney may not be necessary. Unfortunately, this is hardly the case in most situations.
If you and your ex-spouse can’t reach an agreement on issues related to children, investments, property, and support, then hire a competent divorce lawyer right away. Your attorney will clearly explain the terms of the divorce to you. They’ll also walk you through the options available to you.
With the help of a seasoned attorney, you can avoid costly mistakes that could cause further suffering to you and the parties involved.
2. Workplace Disputes
In cases that involve workplace disputes, state and federal laws come into place. The average employee may not understand their full rights, especially in situations, workplace discrimination, and unfair dismissal.
You need to hire a seasoned attorney to defend you if there has been any wrongdoing on your employer’s part. Usually, the company will already have solid legal representation. You need to do the same to stand a fair chance against them.
3. A Lawsuit
When someone is suing you, and you could lose money or property if you lose the case, then you need good legal representation. Chances are the other party has an attorney.
In many cases, parties involved in a lawsuit settle matters out of court. Even then, you need to have a knowledgeable negotiator to be on your side.
4. A DUI Charge
In most parts of the world, it’s a serious crime to drive under the influence. Consequences of DUI in America include substantial fines, losing your driver’s license, or jail time. Sometimes, you could face all three.
In case you’re arrested and accused of driving under the influence, the first thing you should do is contact a lawyer. Your attorney will talk to the prosecutor and try to get the charges squashed or reduced to a fine, especially if it’s a first-time offense. If you go to court without legal representation, you risk the maximum penalty.
5. Drug Charges
Drug charges usually carry serious consequences. You’ll always fare better if you hire an attorney than if you represent yourself or use a public defender. In case you qualify for a public defender, find a way to pony up the money to get an attorney.
Well, public defenders are usually overloaded with cases. Most times, they recommend a plea bargain that’s a lot worse than you could get with a private attorney.
6. A Car Accident That Results In Injury
Where you’ve been injured in a car accident whose fault was someone else’s, find a reputable car accident lawyer right away. Usually, the other party’s insurance company will try to get you to settle the claim hurriedly, but you should never do it.
Ideally, you shouldn’t discuss anything with the representative of the insurance company before you’ve consulted an attorney. Chances are you’re not familiar with all the relevant laws and the right compensation rates. Your lawyer, on the other hand, knows everything you need to do to get the compensation you deserve.
7. Criminal Charges
Understandably, facing a criminal charge can be very scary. Often, you may not even know your full rights as a person who has been accused. Whether you’re guilty or not, you should hire an attorney right away, so your rights are protected, and you get the best possible defense.
8. Wills and Trusts
Once you have a child, you should think about setting up a will as soon as possible. You can then change the will periodically as circumstances change. Doing so saves your loved ones from legal issues and disputes following your demise.
The process of setting up a will or trust should involve a reputable attorney.
9. Starting a Business
It doesn’t matter whether you’re starting a business alone or setting up a corporation; you should always hire a lawyer to help you out. An attorney helps you navigate the many legal requirements involved in setting up a business.
Find an attorney who practices business law to ensure that you’re abiding by the law and are protected.
Know When to Get an Attorney
With all this information, you now can correctly answer the question, “Do I need a lawyer for the situation I’m facing?” Generally, when in a situation where you’ll be confronting the legal system, it’s best to consult with a lawyer. Most attorneys do not charge for consultation.
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