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For most of us, dealing with legal matters can be confusing and even scary. Maybe you're not even sure you need a Phoenix lawyer, but you want to talk about your legal options. You may not even know where to start looking for the kind of Phoenix lawyers you need. If you want to find a quality Phoenix lawyer who can help to represent you in Arizona courts, this guide can help you to narrow down your search and understand how to begin the process of seeking legal representation.
Civil Courts and Criminal Courts
One of the first questions you need to ask yourself before searching for Phoenix lawyers is whether you need a civil or criminal lawyer. Most Phoenix lawyers specialize in criminal or civil cases only, because the laws involved are extremely different.
In a civil court, one person or organization sues another, usually hoping for monetary damages. We call this a lawsuit or a civil suit. Many times, though, lawyers can prevent civil cases from ever going to trial. If you have a complaint that is handled in civil court, your Phoenix lawyer will talk to you about the possibility of settling out of court, which can save you time and effort while still recovering damages to pay your medical bills and compensate you for your pain and suffering.
If you are being prosecuted in a criminal court in Phoenix, it is even more crucial for you to find Phoenix lawyers to represent you. The criminal justice system in Phoenix has been plagued by brutality and violations of prisoners' human rights. You need a Phoenix lawyer who can defend you in the criminal justice system and help you to understand the full spectrum of your legal rights.
Specialty Practice Areas
Not all Phoenix lawyers have experience with the same kinds of cases. Here are some of the kinds of legal specialty areas that you may encounter when looking for a Phoenix lawyer:
Criminal defense lawyers work exclusively to defend people charged with crimes. Some of these lawyers specialize even further, focusing on specific types of crimes. A DUI lawyer or other specialist criminal defense lawyer will understand the ins and outs of their specialty practice area and can help you beat the charge.
Immigration Phoenix lawyers can help you to understand your immigration options and can fight to keep you in the United States.
Personal injury lawyers can detail your legal options after a car accident or workplace injury. If you have been injured and need a Phoenix lawyer, you can find one who has experience dealing with similar cases to yours.
Divorce and family court can be challenging emotionally and legally. A Phoenix lawyer specializing in divorce law can get the most out of your divorce settlement while keeping you distanced from negotiations.
There are many other specialty legal practice areas that Phoenix lawyers work in. If you need a Phoenix lawyer, you can narrow your web searches and phone book searches by first figuring out what kind of case you have. Tailoring your search to specialists cuts down on wasted time while searching for a Phoenix lawyer to represent you.
Statutes of Limitations
It is important to consult with a Phoenix lawyer as soon as you realize that you are in need of legal assistance, or even if you are unsure about your legal situation. This is because Arizona laws dictate how long you have to take legal action. These limits, called statutes of limitations, control the length of time you have to file a lawsuit or press criminal charges, and your Phoenix lawyer can advise you about the statute of limitations that applies to your case.
Different legal situations have different statutes of limitations, and they can be quite confusing, so consulting Phoenix lawyers to make sure you understand how long you have to initiate legal proceedings can be helpful.
Arizona is currently going through a legislative battle about damage caps, which set a maximum amount for jury awards. Currently, Phoenix lawyers have no damage caps to worry about, and can sue for whatever damages are reasonable. However, some conservative lawmakers in the Arizona legislature have begun working on legislation in 2012 to impose damage limits on Phoenix lawyers and other attorneys throughout the state.
While there are not any damage caps yet in Arizona law, consulting with a Phoenix lawyer now may be a good idea. If possible, you want to be able to take your case to court without caps that may limit the amount of total money you receive as a jury award.
While legal services can be expensive, there are several options for paying legal fees. Some Phoenix lawyers charge an hourly billing rate that pays them for their services according to the amount of time they spend working for you. This kind of billing can be expensive, but at an initial consultation, your Phoenix lawyer should be able to provide an estimate of the number of hours required for each phase of your case.
Other Phoenix lawyers take the guesswork out of legal fees by charging a flat fee. Criminal defense Phoenix lawyers tend to prefer billing in this way, asking for a single fee for all of a trial or a set fee for each phase of trial. Some of these rates for Phoenix lawyers can be surprisingly low, and you can always consult with more than one Phoenix lawyer to find out who offers the lowest fees with the highest criminal defense expertise.
If you have a personal injury or medical malpractice claim, you may be able to find a Phoenix lawyer to take your case on a contingency fee basis. Contingency fees mean that you pay your Phoenix lawyers a set percentage of the settlement or jury award—usually 33 to 40 percent—and that you only pay if you win your case. Finding out if a Phoenix lawyer can take your case on contingency could make it possible for you to afford legal services even if you are out of work or have high medical bills.