If you find yourself on the wrong end of the law, the very first thing you ought to do is seek out a lawyer. True, not all legal problems need a lawyer, but it’s better to have one ready than to wonder if you should have gotten one after the fact. The American legal system is complicated to navigate, even for those who know how it works intimately. Attorneys like those at Horst Shewmaker Law have seen their share of cases where the client should have contacted them early on. The longer it takes for you to contact your attorney in a situation where you need them, the less they can actually help when they show up.
The legal system is divided up into several distinct areas, two of which apply directly to individuals:
· Civil Law: LSU Law informs us that Civil Law covers all areas of wrongdoing, not including criminal, commercial, and industrial law.
· Criminal Law: The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy notes that Criminal Law deals with delivering justified punishment when someone commits an act that is deemed criminal and prohibited in nature because it harms the collective society or individual members of that society.
These areas help to define where you’ll most likely need to contact a lawyer. Here we’ll delve into five times you’ll need to get a lawyer as soon as possible.
1. A Complicated/Nasty Divorce
No one likes to think about the end of their marriage, but the truth is that not many of them survive into old age. When there’s an amicable split, there’s usually no need to get a lawyer involved. However, if there’s a complicated or nasty incident that led to the divorce, and feeling starts running high, getting a lawyer may be the best course of action. Issues that complicate divorces include investments, property, children, and custody, among other things. Neglecting to get a lawyer in these situations puts you at a distinct disadvantage.
2. Driving Under the Influence
A DUI can leave a terrible stain on your permanent record. The consequences of being caught on a DUI charge include jail time, fines, and even suspension or revocation of your license to drive. Getting a lawyer may help you mitigate some of the damage to your personal and professional life. If this is your first offense, your DUI attorney may be able to get the court to show you leniency in punishment. If you have to attend a hearing for a DUI, always call your lawyer and inform them. Heading into a DUI court date without a lawyer will end badly, no matter how good you think your chances are.
3. Drug Charges
The US has been fighting the war on drugs for decades. Drug charges have become commonplace in courtrooms around the country. Sadly, most of the individuals caught on these drug charges can’t afford a lawyer, and they are assigned a public defender that’s usually overwhelmed with their workload. Therefore, it’s no surprise that individuals who hire their own lawyers fare better than those assigned public defenders by the court. Even if you qualify for a public defender, it’s in your best interest to locate someone who will take on your case and help you out of a bad spot.
4. Criminal Charges
No one wants to be branded a criminal, and these charges can cover a wide range of offenses. As complex as the civil law system is, criminal law is even more complicated. Most criminally accused individuals don’t even know what their rights are. TV shows have done nothing to help individuals be aware of what counts as a criminal charge and what they’re allowed to do. Calling a lawyer immediately is the best course of action. It doesn’t matter if you’re guilty or innocent. Having a lawyer present is a source of comfort and ensures that the police can’t overreach their authority in questioning you.
5. Trusts or Wills
Setting up estate planning can be done with a registered firm, but their costs can be excessive. It’s better to consult a lawyer and have them advise you on the development of trusts and wills so that your estate is settled after you die. Creative lawyers can even help you to avoid taxes that would otherwise hit your estate and reduce the amount that your descendants get from it. It’s best to consult a lawyer that’s already well-versed with the operation so they can give you personal advice on what they’ve done for other clients.
Why Get a Lawyer?
The short answer is that having a lawyer gives you the chance to put up a solid defense in court. Regardless of what you’re arrested and tried for, having a lawyer makes navigating the system much more manageable. It may seem like a high cost at first, but losing your freedom when you’re innocent is much more of a long-term impact. Ideally, you should have a lawyer on speed-dial if something were to come up, requiring you to rethink your current situation.