Law Office of Christopher A. Connelly
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Top 10 Mistakes

Going to court without a lawyer is like going to the hospital without a doctor. Here are some top mistakes that smart, well-intentioned people make :

"I will hire a cheaper lawyer & fix it later"

You invariably have one chance to do it right. You rarely can re-open a case and it's rather expensive to even make the effort. Hire a good lawyer the first time.

"My lawyer is sending an associate"

It could be a good way to save a few dollars, but how experienced is the associate? How much do they know about your case? What if the case is forced to trial when the senior lawyer isn't there?

"It's just a (fill in the blank)..."

Often heard when it's a seemingly minor case. Sometimes, it's not so minor and a rude surprise awaits you when you get to court. Or after a period of time when you find out that you can't get that job you wanted because it wasn't as minor as you thought. Your boss may not share your opinion that your criminal conviction was minor.

"I read on the internet that..."

The web is full of anecdotes about what some lawyer has done somewhere. What really matters is what YOUR lawyer can do for you in YOUR jurisdiction with YOUR prosecutor and YOUR judge who are in YOUR courtroom. Would you self-diagnose based upon what WEBMD says?

"I will go to court by myself & see what judge says & then hire a lawyer"

Again, you may only have one chance to do it right. The judge may not grant you a continuance to "see what he says and then hire a lawyer". Judges work on their schedule, not yours.

"I can just get a public defender"

Public Defenders are appointed to people who CAN NOT afford a lawyer, not people who do not WANT to hire a lawyer. AND they are appointed for serious cases, not cases where there is no likelihood of jail or a high fine. The judge may not give you the free lawyer just because you have spent your money on things deemed by the court to be non-essentials. Also, the Public Defender is not free, you have to pay them through the State.

"The officer said... "

Don't get your legal advice from the person who put you in situation to need the lawyer in the first place. That's like the chicken asking the cook what to do when they get into the pot.

"The clerk / my friend said...."

Did they also tell you where they went to law school?

"My cousin is a real estate lawyer" OR "My cousin is a lawyer in another city"

What options are available to you can vary from state to state, and from county to county. Options about criminal and traffic cases are best known by an attorney who practices in that field and in that jurisdiction. Lawyers who don't do criminal & traffic cases are unlikely to know those options.

"The police just want to hear my side of the story!"

Yes, they do! The officer would love to hear your statement, so they can use it against you to convict you in court.

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Law Office of Christopher A. Connelly
101 North McDowell Street, Suite 104
Charlotte, NC 28204

Phone: 704-376-9376
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