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

A Good Choice in a Criminal Arrest

One bad choice can lead to another…but it does not have to.  If you have criminal charges against you, legal counsel can be a good choice in an unfortunate situation. The Sixth Amendment gives you the Constitutional right to an attorney in a criminal defense.  Legal Counsel is deemed so necessary in a criminal case that if a defendant cannot afford counsel, the State provides counsel without fee. Yes, you would have been better off if you had not allegedly committed a crime in the first place, but sometimes Captain Obvious picks inopportune times to not show up.  Good legal counsel can help you work with prosecutors towards an appropriate penalty or fine. The problem is, there can be mistakes in procedure and mishandling of evidence.  The other problem is, without proper legal representation, you could receive the maximum penalty.   A criminal arrest is bad—no matter if you are a celebrity like Vanilla Ice, or just plain vanilla—but you do not have to put yourself in a worse position by shutting down choices.  Seek legal counsel for the best possible outcome in an unfortunate situation.   Read More

Who Needs a Lawyer at an Evidentiary Hearing After a Temporary Injunction?

Answer:  Both sides.  A Temporary Injunction for Protection Against Domestic Violence separates the two parties until they can both appear before a judge at an evidentiary hearing.  That hearing is like a mini-trial.  While you can represent yourself in court, this is a situation where it is advantageous for both parties to have competent legal representation. The law is technical, and from a technical standpoint there are things you can mess up that will hurt what you are trying to accomplish.  Judges have to make tough decisions in these matters, and they generally want to err on the side of not getting somebody hurt (or worse).  The judge will have better evidence to make a proper decision if you have counsel.  While you have the absolute right to represent yourself, without legal training and experience, you can unnecessarily change the outcome of the hearing, sometimes with disastrous results.  Do not put yourself in harm’s way by making an ignorant mistake in court. Also, an attorney can reframe the situation so you can objectively evaluate your legal choices and the consequences of those choices. Read More

Times Change…So Do Laws

Students used to drive their trucks to school with the gun rack in the back and the gun in the rack when I was in high school.  Times have changed, and our attitudes about certain things have changed also.  Our laws evolve to reflect those changes. There are a number of good reasons for you to have an attorney for a legal matter.  An up-to-date knowledge of the law (and responsibility towards it) is another good reason to seek competent legal counsel.  Your attorney can help make you aware of the law and any recent changes to it. Read More

Shark Week

Lawyers are a special class.  Legal work often falls between death and taxes, aligning lawyers with the inevitable and overpriced, and so lawyers enjoy such titles as “weasel” or “shark” or “blood sucking attorney.”  Those terms can make for humorous attorney jokes, and sometimes we deserve some of that reputation.  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. I enjoy being an attorney.  I enjoy helping people, and I am glad to have the education and knowledge to do so.  Law School has not made me so much a lawyer as it has helped me see things I could not see before. Read More

The Fox, The Hound, The Hunter, & Notice

Once upon a time there was a Fox and a Hound.  The Hound chased the Fox all over hill and dale until he cornered it, and then a Hunter shot the Fox. “Hey, that is my fox!” the Hound protested, and he took the Hunter to court.  Sure enough, despite being the lesser-armed and the lesser-thumbed, the Hound won his case and got the dead fox.  That was all back in jolly old English law, but it holds true in Florida. Pierson v. Post is from English Common Law and is the first case you read in law school regarding real estate law.  Who gets to keep the dead fox—the guy who chased it or the guy who stepped in and shot it?  Which created the property?    Post chased down the fox and Pierson shot it.  The dead fox was awarded to Post. Florida is a Notice state. If Christopher Crook sells a piece of property at Title Company A, and then before it is recorded Mr. Crook sells the same property at Title Company B, who is the owner of the property?  Answer:  Buyer B.  The buyer at the second closing does not have Notice if Title A has […] Read More

Suits Happen

My band, OE-2-KB (Old Enough-2-Know Better) does a Weird Al Yankovic song called “I’ll Sue Ya.” (I sing it.)  “I’ll Sue Ya” is not on our playlist, but we do it by request…sometimes that is how lawsuits happen. For $400 anybody can sue anybody for anything (just about).  Just because you get sued is not necessarily a bad reflection on you; it could be the stupidity of the plaintiff.  However, whether or not the plaintiff is stupid (or lying), legal representation can help you present your case for the best possible outcome. Competent legal representation can help defend against stupidity, ignorance, and dishonesty.  Despite the invalidity of the case, a good legal defense can help you assert your rights properly.   Read More