The Importance of Legal Defense When Charged With a DUI or Other Crime

Legal defense is an attempt to avoid criminal or civil liability. Criminal or civil liability can be classified into four major categories namely personal crimes, property crimes, inchoate crimes, and statutory crimes.

  • Personal Crimes– these are the kinds of crime where someone offenses against another person. This usually results in physical or mental harm like:
    • Kidnapping
    • Homicide
    • Assault
    • Battery
    • Sexual assault such as rape, child molestation, and sexual harassment and threats.
  • Property Crimes– these are the kinds of crimes that interferes with other person’s rights to make use or enjoy their property. Some examples are:
    • Arson
    • Embezzlement
    • Forgery
    • False pretense
    • Robbery
    • Larceny
    • Possession of stolen goods
    • Shoplifting
  • Inchoate Crimes– these are the kinds of crimes that have begun, but not completed. These include:
    • Solicitation
    • Conspiracy
    • Attempt
  • Statutory Crimes– these are the kinds of crimes that violates the state or federal statutes. This can result to either property offenses or personal offenses like:
    • Selling alcohol to minor
    • Driving Under the Influence (DUI)
    • Public Intoxication
    • Underage and Boating DUI
    • Open container violations

If you are facing any of these crimes, no matter what level of seriousness it has, it is important to contact or hire a criminal defense attorney. Criminal defense attorneys specialize in the defense of a person or a company who is charged with criminal activities. And he or she will be in charge of:

  • Assessing your case. He or she will be working inside and outside the courtroom and will understand every detail of your case. He or she interviews the state’s witnesses and/or other potentials witnesses and analyzes crime scenes and police reports. After gathering this information, he or she will determine your chances of acquittal or conviction. It is in his or her hands to plan how to best present your case in court.
  • Handling plea-bargaining. After investigating your case, he or she will determine if accepting the deal will not conflict your best interests and if it’s the right thing to do based on the odds of winning or losing your case. Plea-bargaining is an arrangement between the prosecutor and the defendant where the defendant pleads guilty to a lesser charge.

Getting prepared if your case goes to trial. Your lawyer will advise you on what he or she thinks is the best option for your case (whether to accept the deal or to go to trial). However, this will solely depend on your choice and decision. If your case goes to trial, the complication will be based on the involvement of the jury or if a single judge will hear the case. If a jury is involved, through voir dire, it is the role of your lawyer to assess how each of the jurors will feel about you and your charges. He or she will be attempting to make a panel that is sympathetic to you. After this, he or she will be presenting evidence and testimonies to win your case.

Quick Tips For Hiring The Right Lawyer

There will be times that you will be facing challenges and during these times, you will be forced to legally defend yourself. So make sure when this happens, you have a competitive and professional lawyer who will defend you. The question is, how will you determine whether you are hiring the right lawyer or not?  Thanks to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) because it offers the following quick tips to help you hire the right lawyer.

  • Know whom you are dealing with. Lawyers have different areas of expertise so be sure that your attorney has a relevant experience and knowledge about your case. Ask family, friends, and other relatives or go check your state or local bar associations for lawyer recommendations.
  • Do your research. Interview multiple lawyers before hiring. Think of it as if you are hiring for your business and you are looking for the right employees. Be sure to ask if there are initial meeting fees (most of them don’t have). Talk to them about your problems in a brief and concise manner. Don’t forget to ask about their experience, fees, your options, what are the odds, limitations of work, and when the problem might be resolved.

  • Understand what you’ve both agreed to. Be sure that you know how often will you be updated, what are the fees for specific services, how often will you be billed, what information should you provide, what your options are, and the total cost for the entire legal service. Be sure that this agreement will be written and recorded to use as future reference.  If there’s something that’s not clear for you, clarify it to your lawyer and be sure that you are comfortable with your lawyer’s approach towards your case.
  • Understand the fees and payment arrangements. Be sure to know if you will be responsible for other fees such as copying of documents, courier services, court filing fees, and/or research services. Your lawyer should explain their fees and know if he or she is charging you reasonably. It is recommended to put this into writing. And here are the payment arrangement:
    • Contingency fees– it is an arrangement where your lawyer gets a percentage of whatever money you receive as a resolution for your case.
    • Flat fee– this is an arrangement where you pay your lawyer for a particular service
    • Hourly rates– this is an arrangement where your final cost will depend on how long it takes to complete the work. Expert and experienced lawyers have higher hourly rate since they can finish tasks more quickly.
    • Retainer– this is an arrangement where you pay your lawyer up front. This fee is usually spent as a down payment on expenses.
    • Public Legal Service– this is an arrangement where you qualify for free or low-cost legal service through special organizations.
    • Prepaid Legal Plans– this is an arrangement like an insurance policy. You will pay a monthly fee so when you need legal services in the future, it will be your insurance company’s responsibility to provide you with it.

Article with thanks to Dean Hines – Columbus Ohio Tax Attorney

How to Legally Eliminate Half of Your Medical Debt

Medical bills are one of the reasons for bankruptcy. It can cripple your finances and will bring you to a point where you have no more left in your savings.  So before this happens, here are some guidelines to eliminate half (or at most full) of your medical debt.

  • Before anything else, do not ignore your medical debt. The hospital institution will aggressively go after you if you don’t pay your medical bill. So, don’t wait until you get sued.
  • Ask your doctor or your hospital financial counselor if they can give you a discount on your bills. If you have no medical insurance, ask if they can bill you at insurance company rates. These rates are usually lower than your total medical bill. Just be honest and show them that you won’t be able to pay the bill without their help.
  • Review the items on your medical bill. This way you can see and clarify those services or drugs that you think you didn’t receive. This is important as most of these items have unreasonably high charges. Additionally, get rid of the charges of routine supplies like gowns, gloves, or sheets because this is already covered in your daily room charges.

  • Ask the hospital if they have available payment plans. Most of the time, they have. Best case, if you are qualified under the low-income class (those whose income do not exceed 200% of the poverty level), you can avail a special care program or indigent program that will cover all of the cost of your total medical expenses. If your income exceeds this limit, you can apply for the reduced payment plans. Just contact the administration of your hospital to be fully informed about these programs.
  • Let professionals negotiate on your behalf. They will help you talk with the hospital administration to reduce or eliminate your total balance. This way, you can afford to pay your medical bills.
  • If the tips above didn’t help you at all or your medical insurance is not enough to cover your medical bill, declare bankruptcy. Bankruptcy is considered as an unsecured debt just like a credit card debt. This will greatly help you in eliminating your problem, however, keep in mind that filing bankruptcy will ruin your credit score. So be sure to consult a qualified lawyer to discuss this matter before you take action. They will advise you if filing bankruptcy is a feasible solution to your situation.
  • Your last resort would be getting help through crowd-funding websites. Some of these websites are YouCaring.com, FundRazr.com, IndieGogo.com, GoFundMe.com, and GiveForward.com. People usually turn into this kind of raising money to help them with their medical expenses. What crowd-funding do is it lets you create a web page for your fundraising drive where donors (they can be your friends, relatives, or even people you don’t know) send their help through their credit cards or online payment services.

Conclusion: There are so many options to legally reduce or eliminate your medical debt, you just have to know who to ask, how to negotiate and when to get help from a professional financial counselor. This way, you can save a lot of cash.

Legal Ways For The Elimination Of Unsecured Debt

What’s the difference between secured debts and unsecured debts?

Secured debts are those that are lent out with a collateral. This kind of debt is advantageous to lenders because if the borrower does not pay his or her debt, the lender can seize the collateral to make up for the loss or to regain the lender’s money. The collateral can be the borrower’s assets, if not, then the borrower can have a co-signer for the loan. If the borrower cannot pay the loan, the lender can collect the remaining balance from the co-signer.

On the other hand, unsecured debts are debts that have no collateral when borrowing money to a lender. This kind of debts is lent out without any security. It is lent purely based on words and assurance of the borrower that he can pay the loan. However, one must have a good history of borrowing money to avail this kind of debt. Furthermore, unsecured debt has a higher interest rate compared to secured debt and is not good for long-term basis. It has higher interest rate to cover the risks undertaken by the lender because suing the borrower for not paying the remaining balance are both money and time-consuming. Some of the types of unsecured debts are business loans, personal loans, credit cards, and student loans.

How to legally eliminate unsecured loans?

  • Ask for help from your friends and family to lend you money for the payment of your debt. Tell them that you will pay with a good interest rate (but be sure that the interest rate will be much lower than the interest you would pay from your current lender). Thus, giving them a secure way of lending their money.
  • Seek for help from professionals or debt counselors. These professionals will advise you to pay more over the required monthly minimum rate so that your debt will be paid off in a shorter period of time. This will not only lessen the principal amount but also refrain you from paying so much of the interest rate. They can also help you negotiate for the reduction of interest rate, though, but still, you have to pay your entire debt.
  • Avail the services of a debt settlement company to eliminate unsecured loans quickly. The debt settlement company will help you negotiate with the reduction of your total debt. Note that it does not only cover the reduction of interest rate but also the principal amount that you have loaned. This is to let you save on the amount that you need to totally pay off your debt. So, get a professional help to eliminate your unsecured debts because credit companies prefer to talk to professionals and there’s a higher chance to have a successful settlement with their help.

Therefore, unsecured loans are only helpful for those who can pay their loans on time because they can have their loan immediately without a collateral.  Do not dive into this kind of debt if you think you can’t repay your loans on time, as it will only worsen the problem.

Finding the Best Lawyer to Handle Your Case

The United States of America has so many practicing lawyers and it’s not hard looking for them because you can find some in your area. However, you should distinguish a good lawyer to handle your case. Having him or her may not guarantee your win but having a good lawyer will give you a great chance of having a positive result in your case. So here’s a quick guide to finding a good lawyer:

  • Figure out what type of attorney you need. This will ensure that your best interest will be represented by an attorney who has specialized expertise regarding your case. Some examples of these areas are bankruptcy law, criminal law, employment law, personal injury law, family law, trust and estates, small business or corporate law, and disability specialist.
  • Ask your friends or family who had the same problem you have. They can lead you to a list of possible good lawyers. However, do not stop in this step. People have different impressions of the lawyer’s personality. The lawyer may be good for them, but not for you. So make sure to meet them personally and discuss your case.
  • You can conduct a personal interview to your candidate lawyers; most of them have free consultations so you don’t have to worry for initial fees. And here are some criteria you can have to assess him/her during your meeting:
    • Experiences he/she have that’s also the same with your case
    • His/her years in the industry
    • Cases he/she have won
    • What are his/her fees for your case and how often will you be billed
    • Are their other lawyers he/she is going to work with
    • References from other clients and colleagues
    • Special skills and certifications

  • Ask other lawyers about the skills and reputation of your candidate lawyers. You will know some valuable information about them that you cannot find online.
  • Request for a tour in the lawyer’s office. You will learn a lot about a lawyer just by going around his or her office. Take note of the red flags such as messy and inefficient office, and unhappy staffs.
  • Before hiring your prospect lawyer, conduct a background check. Contact the lawyer disciplinary agency in your state to verify that the lawyer have good practice habits and reputation, high competence level and if he/she is in a good standing as one of the members of the bar.

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