FAQ

Why do I need a lawyer?

Every attorney spends three years in school, and takes a comprehensive bar exam, just to learn the specific rules and regulations our legal system is based upon. Even though everyone has access to the same laws, interpreting them can be difficult. Harder still is knowing which ones apply to any particular case, and how they all work together. An experienced attorney will be able to guide you through the court process, ensuring that your rights are protected at each stage. Further, an experienced attorney will be able to provide you with realistic expectations of the outcome of your case, and I will fight for the best result possible. Involvement in any court proceeding is stressful – let an attorney ease some of that stress for you!

Although there are many “do-it-yourself” legal guides out there, pro se litigants are held to the same legal standards as attorneys. Rules of evidence and procedure are often difficult for a lay person to pick up quickly, and missing a deadline or important piece of evidence can make or break your case. Of course, there are cases that can be resolved without the assistance of an attorney, and even where an attorney is recommended, there are many things you can do to reduce the amount you spend on attorney's fees. Call me for a free initial consultation - if you can resolve your issue yourself, I'll always tell you!


How much is this going to cost me?

Every case and client is different. It’s hard for an attorney to know how much time a case will take until she talks to the client. But, I provide an initial consultation in most cases for free, and, for criminal cases, I will quote you a flat fee at the end of the meeting. You will always know exactly what you will be charged for your criminal case – no surprises at the end of your case. For civil cases, I will work with you to come up with a low hourly rate and an affordable retainer or on a contingency fee basis. For all cases, I will never let your ability to pay influence the quality of my work. 


I don’t know if I can afford an attorney. What should I do?

Every person facing the possibility of incarceration is guaranteed the right to an attorney. If you can't afford one, the court will appoint one for you. At your initial court appearance, ask for a court-appointed attorney. The court will ask you about your income and financial resources, and then determine if you qualify for court-appointed counsel. If you do not qualify for any reason, you should still get counsel to represent you. Call me immediately, and I will work with you to ensure you can afford the kind of legal representation you deserve. Remember, your first consultation with me is free.

For civil cases, there are often a number of things you can do yourself, and I will always give you that option. My goal is to get you the results you want, without breaking the bank. I will work with you to ensure you can afford representation.


The prosecutor says she's not asking for jail time. Do I still need an attorney?

Maybe. Even if the prosecutor is not asking for a term of incarceration for your charge, there may be other major consequences from a conviction. Things like your job, security clearance, and drivers' license may be affected by a traffic or criminal conviction. Make sure you talk to an attorney about any charge so you don't end up with consequences you don't expect in the future.


Should I talk to the police?

NO! Every person has the constitutional right to remain silent when questioned by the police. Although it may seem that you have nothing to lose by simply telling your side of the story, nothing could be further from the truth. An officer may tell you that you would be helping the police by talking, and they’re right – you’re helping the police make a case against you! If you believe you are the subject of an investigation, you should immediately contact an attorney. If a police officer, or anyone connected with law enforcement asks you to answer questions, tell them: “I invoke my right to remain silent, and to have my attorney with me while answering questions.” Then give them the name of your attorney. They must respect your request and cease questioning until your attorney is present. 


DISCLAIMER

This page is for informational purposes, and should not be construed as legal advice, or as creating an attorney-client relationship. Contact an attorney for advice specific to your situation.


 

E-mail: Elizabeth@tuomeylaw.com