Do I need an Attorney?

 When do I need an attorney?

Most would assume that if you ask a lawyer, whether or not you need an attorney the answer would always be “Yes, you need an attorney to represent your legal interests.” However, this may not always be case.  A lawyer can be helpful in every legal situation but there are steps you can take to avoid or minimize the need for an attorney.

You SHOULD retain legal counsel if:

  • You will not be unable to appear on your court date;
  • You are unable to prepare for court;
  • You are charged with a criminal offense that could result in incarceration;
  • You have been charged with offenses that could result in serious consequences such as DWI / Impaired Driving or Reckless Driving,
  • You have missed your court date and have an outstanding Order for Arrest;
  • You are involved in a legal situation with complex legal issues such as child custody or serious personal injury;
  • You are capable of affording an attorney;
  • You have a fear of public speaking;

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Do I need an attorney, because attorneys are expensive?

Lawyers are not cheap, so knowing when you need an attorney is important. If  you can not afford an attorney the Court may appoint you an attorney in certain types of cases.  As a general rule the Court will consider appointed you an attorney if you are exposed to an active sentence as a result of of a criminal charge. A court appointed attorney is not always free of charge, but it may be more affordable than retaining private counsel.

Read more about court appointed counsel.

The need for a lawyer varies by case type

Some legal situations require representation by an attorney. For example, you may be required to have an attorney for transactions such as financing / re-financing a major purchase like a home. However, you may not need a lawyer to defend you in court over a minor traffic offense such as a parking violation or expired registration.

Ultimately, the need for an attorney may vary by person.

A person that is well versed with computers doesn’t necessarily need the assistance of a computer specialist to clean their hard drive of cookies or browser data. The same applies to whether or not a person may be able to represent themselves in a legal matter.

If you are ready, willing, and able to learn about the legal system, then you may not need an attorney.

If you are capable of speaking in public without fear, then you may not need an attorney for relatively minor legal issues such as certain traffic violations like parking tickets.

I would strongly encourage that even if you do not believe you need an attorney, that you speak to a lawyer so they can analyze your unique situation and advise you accordingly.

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written by Jon Welborn

Jon is an experienced trial attorney with over 10 years litigating a variety of cases in all NC Trial Courts. Recently Jon announced his candidacy as a NC Superior Court Judicial Candidate in the 22B Judicial District. To find out more visit his campaign site at

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Do I need a traffic ticket attorney  by criminal defense attorney Jon W. Welborn