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Top 7 reasons to hire a civil litigation lawyer

Top 7 reasons to hire a civil litigation lawyer

Going to court without the support of a civil litigation lawyer places you at a disadvantage.  Even if the facts are on your side, you may not succeed at articulating them well.  You could get distracted by unfamiliar court procedures.  The intense emotional and financial stakes of your case could throw you off track when responding to questions from the judge.  Civil lawyers insulate you from these pressures and help you present your position with clarity and legal precision.

What’s a Civil Dispute?

A civil dispute refers to a legal question that does not involve criminal charges.  Private individuals and businesses or organizations can bring civil lawsuits against other parties over matters of civil law.  This differs from criminal cases that must be initiated by government authorities.

Civil disputes encompass numerous areas of law.  Examples of civil cases include breach of contract, personal injury, estate litigation, and family law matters related to divorce and child custody and support.

Who Needs a Civil Lawyer?

Answering this question ties into the question of what is a civil litigation lawyer?  These lawyers possess the training and experience to research your legal arguments, prepare court filings, and present your case at trial.  They are known as litigators because they represent clients in civil cases as opposed to barristers who represent criminal defendants in criminal court.  Of course, a lawyer may work in both capacities.  The terms are used to differentiate between civil and criminal functions.

Knowing what a civil litigation lawyer is introduces you to the many duties that the litigator can perform on your behalf.  When you wonder if I need a lawyer for a civil suit, the answer could very well be yes if you anticipate going to court.  A civil matter, like a divorce or child custody dispute, may rely on thoroughly communicating your rights and the benefits to the family.

Why Do I Need a Lawyer for a Civil Suit?

A lawyer can identify the laws that support your position and cite them to a court in Edmonton.  These legal arguments need to be communicated in written court filings and verbal presentations in court.  Without legal representation, you may not be aware of every law or precedent that you could leverage to your advantage.  As a result, you could miss opportunities to advance your agenda.

What Does a Civil Lawyer Do?

Knowing what lawyers do in civil cases will help you appreciate how much work is necessary to prepare for court.  Civil cases move through three main stages that are pleadings, discovery, and trial.  The lawyer files the pleadings with the court that explain the plaintiff’s or defendant’s case.

During discovery, both sides must share their evidence.  A civil litigation lawyer could explain what you must disclose and then organize this information for sharing.  The lawyer will also scrutinize the evidence provided by the other side and develop arguments to minimize it.

At the trial, your lawyer would present your evidence. Some cases are decided by judges while others involve a jury.  Either way, the presentation of the case must resonate with the decision maker. If you’re the plaintiff, you bear the burden of proving your legal point.  If you’re the defendant, your lawyer would strive to promote your side and diminish the arguments made by the plaintiff. Cross examination of the witnesses for the opposing side by your lawyer could potentially reveal weaknesses in the case.

Keep in mind that what lawyers do in civil cases may also include negotiating a settlement prior to going to trial.  This is actually a common occurrence.  According to the Department of Justice, 98% of civil suits do not go to trial.  This happens because one side drops the suit or the lawyer manages to negotiate a resolution acceptable to the client.

7 Reasons to Hire a Civil Litigation Lawyer in Edmonton

A closer look at what a civil lawyer does will help you understand the potential benefits of hiring a professional trained to assert your legal rights.

  1. Find out how strong your case is

Your desire for a specific outcome may outweigh the evidence in your favor.  A case evaluation by a lawyer will inform you about the legal arguments that could help your cause.  Consulting a lawyer lets you learn your odds of succeeding in court.  This essentially controls your risk so that you avoid forging ahead with a weak case that could cost you money.

  1. Protect your financial interests

Although hiring a civil lawyer represents a cost, you could view it as an investment.  The lawyer’s services may result in protecting your interests during the division of assets necessary for a divorce.  You may avoid unnecessary losses when you can defend your rights.  Additionally, a fair and accurate calculation of child support or spousal support will have a long-term influence on your financial life.

  1. Protect yourself from self-incrimination

Although you are not a criminal defendant, you may disclose information in error that threatens your legal position.  A lawyer could speak on your behalf with deliberate and measured statements.  Unfortunately, when speaking for yourself, your emotions could derail the point that you wish to make.

  1. Outsource difficult and complicated legal paperwork

Many intelligent people may possess the grit and determination to represent themselves.  However, the work of going to court can be both time consuming and tedious.  Even diligent research on your part may not protect you from making a paperwork mistake.  By shifting this work to a lawyer, you could increase the accuracy and thoroughness of your legal filings.  Additionally, you spare yourself from hours upon hours of labor so that you can focus on family, career, business, or leisure.

  1. Access legal experience

On top of procedural and paperwork experience, a civil lawyer who practices in Edmonton, Alberta, will know the judges in the area.  Knowledge of judges’ views, tendencies, and dislikes accumulates over years of interacting with them in local courts.  Familiarity with judges helps lawyers frame their presentations in ways that appeal to judges’ sensitivities.

  1. Improve negotiations

As was mentioned, civil litigation does not always culminate in a trial.  The opposing parties have the option of reaching a settlement prior to trial.  Coming to terms outside of court protects you from the unknown factors of how a judge or jury might decide the case.  A lawyer could help you focus on what could be acceptable instead of what would be ideal. Successful negotiations save you time and money while reducing risk.

  1. Prepare you to meet an opposing party with a lawyer

If the party that you are planning to oppose has a lawyer, then you need a lawyer to be on equal footing in court.  Civil disputes are adversarial matters, and you want to be ready to rebut the allegations and evidence that might be aimed at you by another lawyer.

How to Find a Good Civil Lawyer in Edmonton

To hire a lawyer, you should meet with lawyers in Edmonton who practice in the area of law applicable to your case.  At Kolinsky Law, family law is one of our primary areas of practice.  If you are in the midst of a contested divorce, the Queen’s Bench of Alberta may ultimately decide the division of property, child custody, and child support or spousal support orders.

Talk to us today so that we can outline your legal options and best strategies.  Our expertise and dedication to your case could spare you from stress and unnecessary costs. Contact our office today.

What happens when you miss court twice in Edmonton?

What happens when you miss court twice in Edmonton?

When a person is arrested, they can be held in custody, or released into the community after signing a Promise to Appear. A Promise to Appear is a legally binding document that will list a court date that they must attend. Attending one’s court date is a serious matter that can affect later judgments related to one’s case. Once a court date is missed, a warrant may be issued for a person’s arrest, and they may be charged with Failing to Attend Court. It can also affect your ability to gain bail.

When happens if I miss court for the first time?

When you miss your first court date, there are a few possibilities available to the court.

  1.   Adjourn the matter to a later date.
  2.   Note accused person’s lack of attendance and adjourn for a later date: the notation will be read by the court at that later date, and taken into consideration.
  3.   Issue a bench warrant for the person’s arrest, but not release it to police until the person has the opportunity to cancel the warrant. This is called a discretionary bench warrant. It gives the person one chance to appear at the later date and avoid being arrested and charged with Failing to Attend Court. The warrant will be cancelled if they appear at their next court date.
  4.   Issue a bench warrant for the person’s arrest and charge them with Failing to Attend Court. The warrant is released to the police who will then execute the warrant and arrest the person.

A charge for Failing to Attend Court is quite serious, and can lead to additional jail time. It can also affect your ability to get bail when you do appear in court. There may be a higher cost associated with gaining bail, or you may need a surety. You may not even be granted bail. Navigating the legal system is much more difficult when you are held in custody as opposed to being free in your community.

 What if I need to miss my court date for a good reason?

Let the court know. You cannot just choose to not show up. Tell the lawyer so that they can represent you if you are unable to appear, as sometimes they can handle the more routine appearances. The lawyer can advise you on when you should be appearing and when it is possible to not attend court. The more important appearances would be for setting a date for trial, entering a plea, or the day of your trial. The important thing is to always ensure that your lack of appearance is communicated with the court.

If you have an emergency or obligation that cannot be changed for an important court appearance, you must have documentation to back it up, such as a doctor’s note for a medical appointment.

If you do not have a lawyer, communicate your inability to attend to the Duty Counsel who will be able to communicate it with the court.

 What happens when I miss court the second time?

 The court will issue a warrant for your arrest and you will be charged with Failing to Appear.

You have a couple options when the warrant is issued. You can attempt to have the warrant revoked or cancelled, or you can turn yourself in. If only a short period of time has passed, you may have an opportunity to get the warrant cancelled, as long as you are able to provide a lawful excuse. Lawful excuses include the death of a family member or illness. Gather documentation to back up your excuse.

 What should I do after the fact?

If you find out that you have missed a court date, contact a lawyer. They can call the courthouse and talk to the clerk. They can also find out if there is a bench warrant or a discretionary warrant for your arrest. If not, they will find out your next scheduled court date and you must make certain you can attend. Bring any documentation you have to back up your excuse for not attending.

If there is a warrant, the lawyer can see if you will be able to get it revoked or cancelled. They can advise you of the next best steps, and whether or not you will be able to get the warrant cancelled.

If not, prepare to turn yourself in. It is difficult to be able to prepare for your next court dates and bail release from inside jail. Write down important phone numbers, especially of people who would be able to act as a surety for you at your bail hearing.

Make sure that you attend your court dates and communicate with the court when you have a good excuse for not attending. Not showing up for your court dates will only hinder your ability to navigate through the legal system and make your situation more difficult in the long run.


Criminal code:

I missed my court date. What happens now?

How to beat drug charges in Canada

How to beat drug charges in Canada

Drug charges are very serious. While many people believe that possessing a small amount of an illegal substance or recreational usage of illegal substances won’t do any harm, they are greatly mistaken.  When someone is convicted of a criminal offence under the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act (CDSA), it can have significant consequences on their lives in many ways from social stigma, to travel and employment.

The most significant way their lives can be affected is not being able to obtain employment. Most, if not all jobs require background checks and require a clean record to be maintained.  Therefore, a conviction such as drug trafficking will jeopardize their ability to get or maintain a job, and could destroy their careers.  There may also be consequences for international travel.  While drug trafficking offences should not affect domestic travel, every country has its own laws and eligibility criteria for entry.

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Which substances are listed in the CDSA?

The CDSA lists a variety of illegal substances including opium, heroin, cocaine morphine, Marijuana, methadone, “magic mushrooms” and more.  These substances are completely banned in Canada.  Possession of these substances in any amount is illegal.

Not all Drug Offenses are Considered Equal

There are different levels of drug-related offences under the CDSA.  The courts generally distinguish between the levels based on their seriousness.

  1. Simple Possession
  2. Possession for the Purpose of Trafficking
  3. Trafficking
  4. Importing and Exporting
  5. Production

If convicted of one of the above offences, the sentence you receive will be determined based on several factors including:

  1. The offender’s prior record
  2. The offender’s level in the drug organization
  3. Number of transactions (sales)
  4. Whether the offense was planned in detail or out of impulse
  5. Quantity seized
  6. The type of drugs trafficked and whether it was one or more types.

It is important to note: sympathy from courts may be more likely given if the offender is supporting an addiction.  Where the offender is not addicted, there may be less sympathy.

What is the Process When Charged with Drug Trafficking?

After being arrested and taken to the police station, the police will do one of two things. Either they will hold an offender in custody or release them.  It is important that an experienced criminal lawyer is contacted at this point.

If the offender is released from the custody of the police, they will be given a notice as to when they must next appear in court.  The trial will be scheduled for a future date.

What You Should Know About Crown Prosecutors who deal with drug offences

The Crown Attorney’s Office prosecutes almost all criminal offenses in Canada.  However, drug-related offences are prosecuted by the Public Prosecution Service of Canada.  This means that drug prosecutors are more knowledgeable and more specialized in prosecuting drug-related offences.

How to Beat Drug Charges

In order for the accused to be charged with a drug-related offence, the Crown must prove without a doubt:

  • That the accused was actually in possession of the prohibited drug
  • That they knew the drug they possessed was prohibited
  • That they intended to possess the prohibited drug
  • That the drug is actually prohibited under the CDSA

The best way to beat a drug trafficking charge is to hire a criminal lawyer at the earliest possible chance.  Criminal lawyers are experts in their field and can help to get the best possible result for the accused.

How Can Kolinsky Law Help?

The criminal lawyers at Kolinsky Law are knowledgeable and will be able to help you navigate the process from arrest to trial.  Being charged with a criminal offence is a life-changing event that you will not have to face alone.  The goal of our practice is to help you avoid criminal convictions and avoid any result that will be detrimental to your life and your future.