There are situations when you know that you certainly need to hire a lawyer, such as a complex divorce or criminal charges. Then, there are times when it can be uncertain as to whether you need to hire a lawyer. This can be a confusing and stressful situation. It is essential to make sure you are in the best hands possible when dealing with legal matters. At Barfoot & Schoettker, we want to help guide you through the complex legal landscape and consider whether hiring a lawyer is the appropriate action for you.
Understanding the basics of law
Civil - Civil law covers legal issues between individuals and organizations in which compensation is awarded to the victim. Civil law does not include situations of criminal activity or lawbreaking. An example of a civil law case would be property disputes or a breach of contract.
Criminal - Criminal law deals with crime and punishment. When individuals or organizations break local, state or federal government laws, the cases are covered in criminal court. Examples of cases that would be classified as criminal law are assault, theft and drunk driving.
Define your problem and decide if an attorney is necessary
How serious is my legal issue? You may find yourself in a situation where hiring a lawyer might not be your first step. For example, this would be the case if you are unhappy with a company's service or treatment. The first step in this situation would likely be to contact the customer service department of the company. If they are unable to resolve your concerns, the next step would be to seek legal advice from an attorney.
However, if you find yourself facing the legal system for any reason, the best policy is usually to at least consult with an attorney to see whether their expertise is needed. A good lawyer will give you the right advice and let you know if your situation is likely to need a lawyer or if it is not really going to make any difference to your outcome. Don’t delay speaking to a lawyer or engaging a lawyer if you decide it’s necessary. By delaying you might compromise the attorney’s ability to do their job to the best of their ability and this could implicate your outcome.
Is a lawyer going to benefit you/your situation?
A lawyer understands the law inside and out. The Bureau of Labor Statistics says, “Becoming a lawyer usually takes 7 years of full-time study after high school—4 years of undergraduate study, followed by 3 years of law school.” There are also a number of admissions tests and licensing exams, or “bar exams,” required to become certified to practice law. This schooling, exams and outside experience require lawyers to be experts in their field.
If unsure, it is always best to consult with a lawyer regarding the law. They will provide you with guidance and expertise that, if you are not a lawyer, you do not possess. If you have a situation that does require a lawyer, it is likely they will have the experience, knowledge and be able to present your case in a more favorable light than what you could. This will result in you being able to get the best result possible from your situation.
Key situations to consider hiring an attorney
We most commonly think of hiring a lawyer when going through a difficult divorce, being charged with a crime or when setting up a will. Apart from these commonly known situations, here are some other situations where you may require an attorney:
DUIA DUI is an extremely serious crime. If you have been charged with a DUI, you may be facing time in prison, loss of driving license, fines, or all three. A lawyer will help you lessen the consequences by meeting with the prosecutor. If you do not have a lawyer in court for a DUI, you will be more likely to leave with the maximum charges.
Traffic tickets do not only include speeding, they also include not wearing a seat belt, driving without insurance, failing to stop at a stop sign or red light, making an illegal U-turn, warrants for unpaid tickets and many other traffic violations. While traffic tickets might seem like a small issue, sometimes it is easier to have an attorney go on your behalf. Read more about how we can assist you with your traffic ticket here.
Business startupsWhile exciting, there are multiple legal requirements and hurdles to go through when starting your own business. You will want a lawyer to help you navigate through the steps of beginning and protecting your business startup.
Car accident with an injuryAccording to the Association for Safe International Road Travel, 2.3 million people in the US are injured or disabled in car accidents every year. If the accident was not your fault and you were injured, the other party’s insurance will want to settle your claim quickly to avoid anything other than standard charges. Many individuals do not know car accident and injury laws and compensation rates, but an attorney will. Talk to your attorney first before settling your claim.
At Barfoot & Schoettker, we have dedicated ourselves exclusively to civil and criminal litigation. This has allowed us to develop a high level of expertise in these two important areas of the law. If you are going through any of these situations or other legal matters, contact us today at (334) 834-3444 - we would like to get to know you and learn about your situation.