Many cases that end up in municipal court are easily resolved—a trespassing charge for example, or a dispute over a common traffic violation. But situations do exist in which municipal cases become complicated, and can have serious consequences. DUI charges can result in suspension or permanent revocation of driving privileges, while drug charges or unpaid parking violations can result in great financial and social stress.
In such cases, many defendants use the services of a municipal court lawyer. Doing so helps them achieve the best possible outcome, since experienced lawyers have in-depth knowledge of the laws and statutes in question.
However, people facing serious charges in municipal court should be aware that not every municipal court lawyer is created equal. Being smart about your choice, and knowing what to look for, can help you reach a good result without legal headaches or unexpected fees.
- 1. The lawyer lives and practices in the same city or locale as the court
- A locally-based lawyer can be a huge advantage when facing charges. Lawyers based in the same municipality as the court are likely to have specific knowledge of local laws in that area.Not only that, they often have working relationships with judges and other officials in the courthouse. This allows them to defend your case more confidently, as they knew the system and the people who run it.
It is possible to find first-class representation from a lawyer who does not live in the same municipality as the court, but it pays to be aware of this and ask the lawyer if he or she has special knowledge of the particular court system where the case will be heard.
- 2. The lawyer has a solid background in municipal law
- Some lawyers have previous experience as public defenders, deputy attorney generals, or city councilmen. This type of experience is desirable when seeking a municipal court lawyer. It indicates extensive knowledge of municipal laws and court systems, and thus the ability to defend your case in most effective way possible.(Check out this page for an example of the different branches and areas of a State municipal court system)
- 3. The lawyer is willing to look at your case for free
- When it comes to hiring a municipal court lawyer, knowing your options shouldn’t be costly.Many law offices who represent people in municipal court are willing to assess your case either free of charge, or for a modest fee. This allows them to determine whether or not they can defend your case effectively, and gives you a chance to get to know each other. After all, most cases contain sensitive material, and have serious financial implications. A free initial meeting gives both the lawyer and the client a good idea as to whether the client-lawyer relationship will work. An example of a page offering such consultations can be seen here.
Asking these three simple questions is a good start toward finding the right municipal court lawyer for your case, and moving toward the a timely and effective resolution.