Taking License with the Word ‘License’

You cannot take license with the word ‘license,’ not in a legal sense. When you go to the theater, you buy the license to be there, but that license can be revoked at any time.  The same is true at Disney.  ‘License’ has a legal meaning that is specific. If you lose your license, you may need a few other legal words.  Seek competent legal counsel to help you come to terms with your legal situation.     Read More

Jail

Henry Flagler built the Romanesque Revival jail on San Marco Avenue.  It looked so good people mistook it for a hotel.  The “guests” inside, however, had amenities like overcrowding, hard labor, lack of electricity, and limited to no plumbing.  The St. Johns County jail today is not what it used to be. Highlights of modern Florida jails include the basics:  a sink, flushable toilet, bunk, artificial lighting, and ventilation.  Also, inmates are required to bathe at least twice a week, and if you are in general population, you are allowed to shower daily.  It is not the Casa Monica, but it is a lot better than it was. Still, if that kind of gated community is not your ideal living space, and you have been accused of a crime, you may want to speak to an attorney regarding your housing.  Any time you are facing heavy fines or jail time, make sure the penalty fits the crime.  Do not accept the maximum penalty just because you do not know better.  Seek competent legal counsel to work with prosecutors for a correct resolution.   Read More

What If I Cannot Afford An Attorney?

There are many situations in which having legal counsel is beneficial; however, robbing Peter to pay your attorney…probably not a good idea, besides, you may not have to cover the legal fees yourself, depending on your financial circumstances. In a Criminal Case The Sixth Amendment gives you the Constitutional right to an attorney in a criminal defense.  Legal Counsel is so necessary in a criminal case that if a defendant cannot afford counsel, the State provides counsel without fee. In a Civil Case That Constitutional right to an attorney does not extend to civil matters (such as divorce, landlord-tenant dispute, or foreclosure defense).  We are fortunate in our area to have St. Johns County Legal Aid, a local non-profit agency that primarily serves the most vulnerable demographic of our population, aiding awareness of legal rights and options in matters of debt, foreclosure, housing, elder law, family law, and many other civil subjects.  Their motto is “A Wealth of Justice for Those Who Have Neither,” and they mean it. If you think you cannot afford an attorney in a civil case, contact your local Legal Aid office.  Even if you do not qualify for Legal Aid, they have a lot of […] Read More

Good Sources for Legal Help

Unless you are a legal professional, you may not recognize the nuances of the law, some of which could work against you (and some of which could work for you).  Depending on the case, attorney involvement can avoid or reduce adverse effects of a problem, and may cause a situation to be less costly.  Furthermore, good legal advice may be more readily available than you realize and less expensive than you anticipated. Sources of competent legal advice may include: Legal Aid. Visit the Legal Aid office for your area. Even if you do not qualify for their help, they have information pamphlets which may be useful.  You can find out more online at http://www.jaxlegalaid.org/stjohns.html Contact an Attorney. An initial consultation is sometimes free of charge or at a low fee, depending on the matter. Online Media. Forums such as this website offer dialogue opportunities where you can write in general questions. Remember not to share personal information in an open forum, and be sure you are communicating with a qualified legal professional. “Land Title Talk” Radio Show is on each first and third Friday from 8:00 to 9:00 a.m. on 102.1 FM WFOY or online at www.1240News.com. This is the […] Read More

Courtroom Experience

The St. Johns County courtrooms are getting updated—huge TV sets are being installed.  With A/C, big TVs, and plenty of seating, the question is, which courtroom do you want for the Super Bowl? Not every person’s experience in court is as grand as a Super Bowl party.  While the courtrooms are physically comfortable, they can be an intimidating scene.  There are some very serious people who look like they know what they are doing, and there is a guy with a gun. You might not be up for this.  While you have the right to represent yourself in court, you may want to seek competent legal counsel before going in front of that big screen TV and the Judge. Attorneys remove the emotion so their clients can take the necessary steps to move through a legal problem.  A lawyer can reframe the situation into business terms to help you look at the possible choices and consequences.  Furthermore, the more you know about the legal process, the less stress you have about the unknown. If you think you cannot afford an attorney in a civil case, contact your local Legal Aid office.  Even if you do not qualify for Legal Aid, […] Read More

Some Things You Can Fix…Some You Cannot

Sometimes there are no great solutions.  Sometimes “solutions” do not work.  However, competent legal counsel can help reveal options open to you and help you pursue them.  And sometimes just knowing what could happen next in the legal process can help you prepare and deal with outcomes as they occur. Talking to an attorney does not have to be a frightening experience, or an expensive one.  Many attorneys offer free consultations (which you can find out with a phone call to their office) or you may be eligible for Legal Aid (depending on your income level). If you think you cannot afford an attorney in a civil case, contact your local Legal Aid office.  Even if you do not qualify for Legal Aid, they have a lot of pamphlets you may find helpful.  You can visit their office at 222 San Marco Avenue in St. Augustine, or call to make an appointment at (904) 827-9921.  The Legal Aid website is http://www.jaxlegalaid.org/home.html.   Read More

National Be Kind to Lawyers Day Today

There are legal holidays and then there are legal holidays.  While banks and schools remain open today, the second Tuesday of April is National Be Kind to Lawyers Day. Lawyers are a special class.  Legal work often falls between death and taxes, aligning lawyers with the inevitable and overpriced—it takes only one lawyer to screw in a light bulb and ninety-nine to bill for it.  However, when you are in trouble, whether it is civil or criminal, you want the best weasel or shark or blood sucking attorney you can find to obtain the best result possible under the circumstances. If you are involved in a court case, cooperate with your legal counsel today and the other 364 days of the year, and let your lawyer show everything he or she can do for you.   Read More

Legal Aid Not the Same As Public Defender

The Sixth Amendment gives you the Constitutional right to an attorney in a criminal defense.  Legal Counsel is so necessary in a criminal case that if a defendant cannot afford counsel, the State provides counsel without fee.  This does not apply in a civil matter (such as divorce, landlord-tenant dispute, or foreclosure defense); that is where Legal Aid plays a vital role in providing legal services for civil cases involving the poor, the elderly, and the disabled. Legal Aid is not the same as a Public Defender.  You will not be assigned an attorney if you cannot afford one for a case where your lender is suing to foreclose on your home. St. Johns County Legal Aid is a local non-profit agency that primarily serves the most vulnerable demographic of our population, aiding awareness of legal rights and options in matters of debt, foreclosure, housing, elder law, family law, and many other civil subjects.  Their motto is “A Wealth of Justice for Those Who Have Neither,” and they mean it. If you think you cannot afford an attorney in a civil case, contact your local Legal Aid office.  Even if you do not qualify for Legal Aid, they have a […] Read More

Role of Legal Aid

Legal Aid often deals in poverty law with very complicated cases, high stakes, lots of pressure, and very little money in it.  With law school student loan debt ranging from $75,000 to $125,000, it can be hard to get an attorney to take on Legal Aid cases.  However, while Legal Aid plays a critical role in poverty law (a role most people are unaware of) it also plays a critical role in providing experience to lawyers (another role most people are unaware of). I have been an attorney since 2008, and through my involvement with Saint Johns County Legal Aid, I had a lot of time in front of judges early on, which was beneficial to me in my new career, and beneficial to my clients, both pro bono and otherwise.  That benefit continues with my continued work with Legal Aid.  I enjoy helping people and am glad to have the knowledge and experience to help even those who cannot afford legal representation. Whether you are looking to fulfill your pro bono hours for the Florida Bar, or if you are seeking an attorney but unable to afford one, contact your local legal aid office.  Even if you do not […] Read More

Happy Bar-Day to Me!

I have been practicing law for six years as of September 27th.  I enjoy being an attorney and having the education and knowledge to help people through a legal problem.  If I say so myself:  Happy Bar-Day to Me! If I had never been Barred, well then what would I do? If I had never been Barred, well then what would I be? I might be a title agent, Or a toad in a tree, I might be a doorknob, Or working for Stephen, I might be a bag full of regret getting even. Or worse than all that…Why I might be a WASN’T! A Wasn’t has no fun at all.  No, he doesn’t. A Wasn’t just isn’t…with no Notice of Appearance. But I…I AM I!  Without presence of malfeasance! Today I am I!  That is truer than a lie! There is no one living who is me-er than I! I am lucky to be what I am! Thank goodness I’m not just a clam or a ham Or a dusty old jar of David Stern’s jam! I am an attorney!  That’s a great thing to be! If I say so myself, HAPPY BAR-DAY TO ME! Read More