Take These Steps When You Have Been Served A Summons

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You may think you have a good reason for not responding to the summons you were served last month. At the time you received the summons you could not afford an attorney.


By time you were able to borrow enough money to hire an attorney it was more than a month past your required response date. Now you’re hoping the judge will accept your reason as a good excuse.


Unfortunately, since you failed to show for your original court date, there is almost nothing you can say that will persuade the judge in your favor. Judges are unbending when it comes to a defendant’s failure to appear.


If you had shown up for court and explained your money problems to the judge, he may have granted you what is called a “continuance,” which would have extended time to you in order to find and pay for an attorney.


If you have received a summons, it means that someone is suing you. Knowing what to do when you are served with a summons will help alleviate some of the stress and anxiety that typically goes along with being sued.


Following are some steps to take when you are served with a summons, which will also be accompanied by the complaint. First and foremost is to take these two documents seriously because they are what begin any kind of litigation.


  • Contact a lawyer immediately – Do not drag your feet. Once you are served with the summons and complaint, you have twenty to thirty days to respond to the lawsuit. So note the date and time of service, then contact a lawyer as quickly as possible for several reasons.


  • If you procrastinate until a few days before the deadline to respond, your lawyer will be severely limited in his range of actions. If you should fail to respond on time, a default will be entered against you preventing you from defending the action altogether, unless the default is set aside, which will probably result in extra legal fees.


  • Scan any insurance policies – Sometimes insurance policies cover various allegations. Make copies of the policies for your attorney to evaluate. A policy might cover attorneys’ fees and costs of defending the lawsuit.


  • Understand the allegations  – Complaints often contain unfamiliar wording, so have your lawyer explain the allegations and consequences in terms that you can understand. If you fully comprehend the allegations, then you might be able to locate key documents and evidence for the attorney, saving on attorneys’ fees.


  • Preserve any evidence – Evidence takes on many forms: emails, receipts, timecards, or contracts, to name a few.  Regardless of the form, it is often central to your lawsuit. Therefore, once located, keep it in a safe place.


  • Pinpoint witnesses – Identify as many witnesses as possible — both good and bad — that witnessed the incidents alleged in the complaint.


  • Be discreet — When served with a summons and complaint, resist the emotional urge to call the complaining party or a friend. Instead call an attorney.


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Two Decisions That May Cost Your Life If Charged With a Serious Crime

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When a person is charged with committing a crime, he will be confronted with making several important decisions. Two of these decisions involve hiring a lawyer and then choosing a jury trial or a bench trial.


Of course, anyone charged with a crime wants the best lawyer he can get. However, when he is charged with a serious crime that carries a life sentence or, even worse, the death penalty, he wants the best lawyer he can get, no matter how much he costs.


The lawyer’s competence is naturally of great concern, but of other concern is the price. Expensive attorneys charge a premium fee for a reason, which clients should be willing to pay for good reason.


A premium price enables lawyers to accomplish several objectives. Rather than merely taking on as many clients as possible in order to make a profit, a lawyer can focus on providing quality service that produces better results for his clients.


When your lawyer has sufficient time to concentrate on your case, it allows him to time to think “outside the box,” looking for innovative ways to defend you, which requires a great deal of time. So the fewer cases your lawyer handles, the more reason he will need to charge a premium fee.


By attempting to make money off of client volume a defense lawyer does his clients a disservice. It is illogical to think that an attorney can juggle hundreds of cases simultaneously and still give your case extraordinary service.


Therefore, do not let premium fees run you off. People who pay more usually receive excellent, personalized service. For instance, a lawyer who focuses on quality over quantity strives to give his client excellent customer service so that when you call the office, you can expect outstanding service from a dedicated staff.


Also, do not be fooled into believing you will receive quality service at a budget price. Hiring a criminal defense attorney at a budget price is risky, especially if you are charged with a serious crime that carries a life sentence or one punishable by death. Hiring the wrong lawyer could mean paying with your life.