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Do I Need A Civil Or Criminal Attorney?

The Law Firm of Andrea M. Kolski

We all need a lawyer at some point. Whether it’s a custody battle, messy divorce, or settling your estate, you’ll need an attorney’s expertise.

But not all lawyers are equal. Some handle taxes while others defend people on trial for murder.

When facing an awkward situation, it’s essential to get the best help for your needs. That’s why you need to know which type of lawyer to hire. The selection of a civil vs. criminal lawyer isn’t difficult.

Follow along as we discuss the difference between civil vs. criminal law.

Civil Vs. Criminal Law

According to Cornell Law School, Civil law handles legal matters between private citizens. While Criminal law involves the government deciding the punishment of a person for their “act or omission.”

The term “crime” is defined as an act or omission that violates a law prohibiting the act or omission.

Criminal charges fall into two categories, misdemeanor, and felony. A misdemeanor is “lesser” illegal action. Felonies are the most severe type of crime and might involve physical harm to another person, according to

When Do I Need a Civil Attorney?

A civil attorney is also called a litigator. These types of lawyers defend civil cases in court, according to The American Bar Association. Often a litigator gets hired to recover money or property.

Civil lawyers might specialize in these areas of law:

  • Employment
  • Family
  • Finance
  • Immigration
  • Landlord/Tenant
  • Personal Injury

However, the type of cases taken by these attorneys varies too. A family lawyer could handle custody, divorce, or separation of assets and property. Personal injury lawyers work on slip and fall, automobile accidents, parking lot accidents, or pedestrian accidents.

But these examples aren’t exhaustive. Attorneys handle a variety of cases for clients. Some specific government-related civil suits include denial of benefits like Social Security or Food Stamps, Civil rights and discrimination, and unemployment hearings.

Depending on the severity of a situation, a civil case could make it to the Federal level, but this isn’t common.

When Do I Need a Criminal Attorney?

When life takes an unexpected turn, you or someone you know might face criminal charges. If this happens, you’ll want a Criminal Attorney to take the case.

Criminal charges involve an investigation or prosecution for an alleged crime. It’s crucial to hire an experienced criminal lawyer that is familiar with your type of case.

Some common types of criminal charges include:

  • Financial
  • Inchoate
  • Personal
  • Property
  • Statutory

A financial crime might involve money laundering or embezzlement, according to Justia. Personal crimes could consist of some form of physical activity like child abuse, assault, kidnapping, and rape. While Statutory crimes deal with drugs and alcohol offenses like driving under the influence (DUI) or driving while intoxicated (DWI).

Criminal cases are severe and could result in lengthy prison terms and hefty fines. If you have criminal charges, it’s imperative to hire legal counsel as soon as possible.

How Long Do Cases Last?

There is no clear cut answer for how long a civil or criminal case will last. A civil case might get resolved in a month or two, but it could last a year or longer.

A criminal case has many factors, including how long it takes for an arrest and whether it’s a misdemeanor or felony. Although a plea bargain could shorten the length of a case, resulting in a shorter sentence.

What Should I Ask Before Hiring My Civil or Criminal Lawyer?

When you’re searching for a civil or criminal lawyer, it’s essential to ask the right questions before hiring them. Always ask how much it will cost you. Many attorneys work on a contingency basis where they pay for the cost of a case and receive payment through a percentage when the case settles.

Other lawyers charge an hourly fee. It’s good to know which your potential attorney uses before signing any paperwork.

It’s also vital to ask how long the lawyer has practiced and what is their success rate. Sure every lawyer has to start somewhere. Plus, everyone loses a case. But if your situation is complicated and might result in a prison sentence, you want a reliable and knowledgeable attorney defending the claim.

Find out who will be managing your case. Larger firms might employ dozens or hundreds of attorneys. So multiple people could work on your case. Ask who your point of contact will be if you have an emergency or questions.

If you’re unsure as to what the steps of your case will entail, then ask the lawyer to give an outline. If you decide to hire them, you’ll discuss the next steps throughout the suit.

The Advantages of Hiring an Attorney

Unless you’ve attended law school, you’re probably not familiar with all local and state laws. Therefore it’s in your best interest to search for an attorney when the time comes.

Lawyers complete extensive coursework and examinations to prepare for their profession. They’re equipped to handle the tedious tasks associated with lawsuits.

Some of the benefits of having an attorney include:

  • Saving you time
  • Gathering information
  • Interviewing witnesses
  • Filing forms, reports, and submitting documentation
  • Answers to concerns or questions
  • Requesting medical records
  • Negotiating

You want to ensure your case gets handled right from start to finish. An example of when a Civil attorney or litigator would be helpful is during a worker’s compensation case. Allowing a litigator to assist with the completion and filing of the necessary forms could prevent a claim’s denial.

While it’s not necessary to hire a worker’s compensation lawyer when filing a claim, it would be wise to consult with one anyway.

A seasoned attorney should defend your criminal charges. Depending on your charges, you’ll need an attorney well-versed in criminal law because new laws get added every year.

Schedule a Consultation

Now that you understand the differences between civil vs. criminal lawsuits, you can choose your attorney with confidence. But don’t wait to act because time is crucial.

If you require a lawyer, please contact the office so we can discuss your options.

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The Woodlands, TX 77381

Phone: 832-381-3430

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