Whether you are being charged with a misdemeanor or felony by a State, city, or municipality, or whether you are named as a defendant in a civil lawsuit, chances are you will need legal counsel to help you navigate through the system. Criminally, depending upon the charges, you may be issued a citation or summons and simply be ordered to be appear on your court date to plead guilty or not guilty to the allegations. In more serious circumstances, you may be taken into custody and held on bail as the Prosecuting Attorney determines whether to bring to charges and/or what types of charges should be brought.
Civilly, the process is much more different. Small claims court and the circuit court operate differently. More often than not, if you receive service of process as a defendant in a civil law suit you will have thirty (30) days to file an Answer to the Petition/Complaint. Failure to do so in a timely manner may result in a default judgment, in which the Plaintiff may be rewarded all or most of the relief he or she requested.
Defense work is much different than plaintiff or prosecutorial work in that the aims and objective of the lawyer can be completely different. Accordingly, it is wise to consult and/or retain an attorney to properly advice not only of the procedural aspects of your defense, but also the substantive merit of the charges or allegations.
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