We all know that you have to show up in court if you are a party to a case being tried – i.e, if you are the defendant in a criminal case, or the plaintiff or defendant in a civil lawsuit. But if you are just a witness, do you also have to show up in court?
The answer is yes, if the judge or one of the attorneys thinks your testimony is important. The court will issue a subpoena, which is a document commanding your appearance in court to testify as a witness. In some cases, the … Read More
Nobody wants to think about worst case scenarios. We all hope that should we die or become incapacitated, our family and friends would make decisions for us that are in line with our wishes. However, the only way to truly ensure that our wishes are carried out (and the only way to remove as much of the stress of such decision-making from family and friends as possible), is to cement those decisions into a legal document in advance.
Some of the most important documents to have drawn up in advance are a living will or “advance directive,” a health care … Read More
Depending on location, the government officer responsible for prosecuting criminals may be known as the District Attorney, Prosecutor, or County Attorney. Regardless of title, this officer may sound like someone the average citizen would prefer to avoid. Doesn’t the D.A. just prosecute criminals?
In many states, District and County Attorneys also help citizens enforce their rights. Kentucky County Attorneys are a good example.
Have you ever been stuck with a bad check? If so, how do you try to collect? Hire a lawyer? File a criminal complaint and wait for the check-writer’s trial to find out if you’ll see any … Read More
Generally when we hear about state attorneys general in the news, it is because they are suing tobacco companies, or defending high-profile state laws in court. But state attorneys general (“SAGs”) can also be a good resource for guidance on everyday legal issues. SAGs are tasked with providing legal protection to their state’s residents, which means pursuing big lawsuits sometimes, but also providing guidance on issues such as consumer fraud, elder abuse, and victims’ rights.
The websites of various SAGs provide a variety of resources. The Arizona SAG site, has a section on what to do about annoying telemarketers … Read More
Let’s say you need to file for divorce, or want to sue someone in small claims court, or need to probate an estate – when you try to get started, you quickly realize that there are several or even dozens of different courts in your county! Which court should you go to?
In most states, each county has a variety of different types of courts to handle different types of cases. These courts may all be located in one Courthouse, or they may be located in different buildings across the county. In other states, such as California, there is … Read More
When we think about going to court, the first people that usually pop into our heads are the judge in a robe, the bailiff with a badge, an attorney arguing for each side, and maybe a sketch artist for dramatic, high-profile cases. People like the Court Clerk may seem foreign. Administrative officials, however, are often the first line of contact the public has with the courts, and can often provide information and assistance for free.
Whether you are looking for court records, want to file a new case, or need information on when a hearing will be or where to … Read More
Are you experiencing legal trouble and unsure of how to proceed? Do you need a lawyer but think you cannot afford one? You might be surprised at the number of free or low-cost legal services available in your state and how easy it is to find them through CourtReference.
Legal aid and legal referral services may be offered by state government, county government, or private organizations. Some agencies offer general legal services, such as help with most non-criminal matters. Others offer specialized services for a group of people, such as senior citizens or victims of domestic violence, or a … Read More
Need to do some legal research? Look up a case, a statute, books on a particular legal topic, or a specific legal document? Try the law library; it’s easier than you think. There is at least one law library in your state that is open to the public; in some states, there is one in every county. And like public libraries, law libraries are putting their catalogs and other resources online.
Check your state’s CourtReference guide’s Self Help and Legal Research resource category and look for the word “library” on the page. You’ll find the closest law library and links … Read More
The internet offers many online legal resources for people without attorneys, including legal information and other self-help resources. Some sites also link to organizations that offer free or low-cost legal assistance. The sites listed below are suggested as starting points to find online legal resources in every state.
Legal Information: Legal information is not legal advice, but it can outline the laws and procedures for different types of cases. Many general questions can be answered with online legal information.
Legal Assistance: Legal assistance can take several forms. Every state has organizations that offer free legal services to eligible
… Read More