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When Do You Need a Lawyer?

Many law-abiding citizens have very little experience dealing with the court system, which means they may have little knowledge about how to hire a lawyer, or when they may need legal representation.  Although lawyers can be costly, in many cases they can actually end up saving their clients a lot more trouble and expense than they initially cost.

When You Should Hire A Lawyer

If any of the following situations apply to you, then it’s definitely worth hiring a lawyer:

  • Have You Been Charged with a Crime?

If you have been charged with a crime, including domestic violence, tax fraud, and even a DUI, you should hire a lawyer.  The penalties for crimes may include heavy fines and/or incarceration, and can become part of your permanent record, which can severely impact many aspects of your life.

  • Have You Been Sued?

If you have been subject to a lawsuit where there is a lot of money at stake, you should definitely consult a lawyer.

  • Are You Starting a New Business?

When starting a new business, it’s usually a good idea to consult a lawyer in order to decide on the best legal structure for your business and make sure that you are following all local laws and ordinances.

  • Have You Caused Bodily Injury to Someone?

If you have been in a car accident and either you or a second party was injured, you might want to consult a lawyer, even if you have insurance.  If you think you may have a claim against someone else, most personal injury lawyers do not charge an upfront fee, but rather take their fee out of any award you may receive in an eventual settlement.

  • Are You Going Through a Divorce?

Sometimes the divorce process can be relatively straightforward, such as when neither party has many assets, or when they are in mostly in agreement about the settlement.  But if there are custody issues involved, allegations of domestic violence, or if the financial picture is complex, both parties should probably hire a lawyer.

When You Might Not Need a Lawyer

If you have been summoned to court for just a basic traffic violation, you probably do not need a lawyer.  Relatively minor civil disputes, up to a certain dollar amount, can usually be handled in small claims court without a lawyer.  If you have been sued, but you know in advance how much the claimant is seeking, and you are willing to pay that amount, you can simply plead no contest or just not show up in court.  If you don’t appear in court, a summary judgment will be issued against you.

Taking a Cost-Benefit Approach

One way to approach the decision of whether or not to hire a lawyer is to perform a cost-benefit analysis.  Although lawyers are often costly, you will almost always get a better outcome with experienced legal counsel, than you would get by just representing yourself.  To perform a cost-benefit analysis, first calculate out what you think will be the cost of the representation, and compare that to the expected benefit that you would hope to get with that representation.  If the expected benefit is greater than the expected cost, then it’s probably worthwhile to hire a lawyer.

If you’ve determined that you need a lawyer contact Premier Federal Criminal Defenders for a free consultation.


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