Going to court is scary. You’re not sure what the outcome will be, what the jury will think, and if you’ll walk out a free person. Fortunately, there are professionals with keen knowledge of the law who will represent you.
Whether or not you’re at fault, everyone should be supported by a legal professional. These professionals are lawyers, but people often mistake them for an ‘attorney.’ Before you go to court, you should understand the difference.
Before you contact a lawyer or an attorney, understand how each will represent you. Continue reading to understand the difference between an attorney vs lawyer.
A lawyer is someone who practices the law. Think of the term ‘lawyer’ and take out the ‘law’ portion. Lawyers are the ones you see in movies — standing up in court, supporting either the plaintiff or the defendant.
But lawyers do more than fight for you in court. They offer transparency when discussing your case and they can give you legal advice.
The Duties of a Lawyer
Lawyers hold more lawful obligation. They’re thoroughly trained in law and how to give legal advice. Because of this, they have a strict code of ethics.
Lawyers can decide to specialize in a certain field or hold a specific position. Lawyers can also choose to hold various roles.
In court, a lawyer can act as a superior or as support. In these roles, the lawyer defends the client by providing evidence to benefit the client in their case.
Depending on the case, the lawyer will debate and fight for their client’s freedom. These lawyers are also called a barrister.
Throughout the case, the lawyer can act as an adviser. This is when the lawyer guides, counsels and instructs their client on the legal issues surrounding their case.
These lawyers, also called solicitors, cannot help you in court unless your case goes to a lower court.
Lawyers can also take on additional roles, such as trial works. These lawyers conduct research, interview clients, interview witnesses, and gather additional details to use in court.
In the modern day, lawyers have private practices and open up their services to a myriad of different cases. These cases generally surround criminals or those who charge others with a crime.
But there are still lawyers who specialize in certain fields and roles. These include:
- Environmental Lawyer –a lawyer who specializes in cases such as clean technology, water law, climate change law, and public land.
- Intellectual Property Lawyer — a lawyer who protects inventions, trade secrets, and product names.
- Civil Law Lawyer — a lawyer who helps their clients with wills, trusts, and contracts.
- Nonprofit Lawyer — a lawyer who supports and advocates nonprofit organizations.
- Criminal Defense Lawyer — a lawyer who defends clients who are accused of a crime, such as Criminal Solicitors.
When to Hire a Lawyer
While not required in court, hiring a lawyer is highly recommended. You’ll want to hire a lawyer when:
- You’re in a position where legal representation is necessary
- You could go to jail
- You could lose money
- Your opponent has a lawyer
- Your case involves injury
- You’re going through a difficult divorce
- You’re administering the estate of a deceased person
- You’re conducting estate planning
- You’re adopting a child
- You have to negotiate a difficult contract
- Any complex business matter
These are all broad reasons, and in some of these cases, self-representation can work. If you find a lawyer who offers a free consultation, it’s worth seeking their advice.
An attorney is someone who conducts business for someone else. In some cases, an attorney is almost similar to a lawyer in an attorney vs lawyer argument. That’s because an attorney can represent you in court.
This is why you hear terms such as ‘attorneys-at-law’ (an attorney who can represent their clients in court) and ‘power of attorney’ (a document stating the power the attorney has over a business).
But there’s a difference between a lawyer and an attorney. An attorney regularly conducts business with an individual or an establishment. This is why attorneys are also referred as an ‘agent.’
An attorney can’t provide court services unless they’re an ‘attorney at law.’ To establish this title, an attorney needs to have the same qualifications as a lawyer.
The Duties of an Attorney
An attorney, especially an attorney-at-law, works similarly to a lawyer. This is why it’s hard to differentiate an attorney vs lawyer.
These include resolving cases, working to save clients’ money in court, act as advisors for clients, prepare pleadings and other legal documents, prepare contracts, and prosecute cases.
The main difference between an attorney and a lawyer is an attorney’s relationship with the client. This relationship is stated in the power of attorney document.
Because the attorney’s duties are limited to this document, an attorney can take on many roles. They can simply sign off on loan or can support their client when their client is sued in court.
The main difference between an attorney and a lawyer is an attorney’s duties aren’t subjected to court.
A business may hire an attorney to handle their legal documents or an individual may hire an attorney to supervise the purchase of an estate.
Like a lawyer, an attorney can choose to stay broad or specialize in different fields and positions. For specialized cases, it’s hard to decide between an attorney vs lawyer.
An attorney can share certain field similarities with lawyers, such as civil law. But since attorneys act as agents, they’re open to a variety of other positions. These include:
- Corporate and Securities Attorney
- Education Attorney
- Employment or Labor Attorney
- Family and Juvenile Attorney
- Health Attorney
- Immigration Attorney
- International Attorney
- Real Estate Attorney
- Sports and Entertainment Attorney
- Tax Attorney
These specialties can be given to a lawyer, but an attorney acts as an agent for these fields and organizations.
Now You Know the Different Between an Attorney Vs Lawyer
Attorneys and lawyers are extremely similar law professionals, so it’s common to mix up these titles.
But there are slight differences between the two. A lawyer practices the law, assisting clients in court. An attorney is an agent of the law, assisting their clients with various legal processes in and out of court.
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Written inside the pages of Canada’s criminal code are things that are so antiquated, they no longer have relevance in today’s society. So, that which doesn’t hurt you should just remain, right? Perhaps not. There are many laws with wording that might end up unwittingly hurting a Canadian citizen if taken literally. With over 1200 pages, the criminal code has been revamped, added to, and overruled many times. But what it has never been is looked through, to discover what makes sense in the here and now and what doesn’t – up until recently.
Last week the penal code got an upgrade. Many sections are wildly out of date and context, but the one targeted last week was Section 71, which prohibits you from challenging anyone to a duel. If you do, apparently you can face up to two years in prison, which is not the only reason why the practice disappeared. It was likely a factor back when it was something Canadian citizens considered. The upgrade is not just about a duel invitation being overhauled, though. Section 365, which stops anyone from “pretending” to practice witchcraft, has likewise been stricken from the books. So for all those out there who want to have an old-fashioned duel or to take out the book of spells, you are once again free to do so.
Also allowed are “crime comics,” which were banned after World War II for inciting youth delinquency. If that law was used today to guide the media, then there would likely be many people on trial for comic heresy. So, who is responsible for finally coming to common sense and starting to take a look at all the unnecessary things that are clogging up the Canadian criminal code? Jody Wilson-Raybould. Her proposed bill C-51 (not the same as the terrorism bill) lifts the prohibitions placed on:
- Duels of any kind
- Giving thieves a reward for returning stolen goods without any questions asked
- Slanderous remarks about religion or blasphemous libel
- Pretending to engage in witchcraft
- The issuance of trading stamps
- Taking an exam for someone else under false pretenses
- Claiming that you are a royal warrant so that you can advertise that you have the monarchy’s permission to produce goods
Mostly stemming from the Colonial days, none of the above laws that would hold up in today’s criminal court. Some of them have already been struck down by the Supreme Court and declared unconstitutional.
This isn’t the first time that legislators have attempted to bring the Canadian criminal code into the here and now. Last year the federal government took steps to change gender-charged language and legislation that discriminates against a specific sexual preference. The legislation was introduced last year to repeal the anal sex consent age due to the fact that it unfairly singled out the homosexual population, and therefore was a means to discriminate.
So what is so harmful about antiquated laws?
When laws are in the criminal code, they are still the law, regardless of whether they are relevant or not. One example is how Canada has had to revamp rape laws to shield the victim; legislators made it illegal for a victim’s past sexual history or promiscuity to be a part of the trial. Currently, you can’t make anything about the victim’s sexual history admissible to a rape trial to prove consent, as you could in the past.
There is no argument that going through the entire criminal code would be arduous at best, and likely completely impossible. Most of the laws that no longer apply have been challenged and overturned in the courts. But if someone were really looking, it might be possible to use the criminal code of the past to prosecute future defendants in an unfair way.
As times change the laws pertaining to Canadian society have had to change with them. The problem is that you can’t rewrite history, nor can you just take a criminal code and scrap it for a new one. Within the deep recesses of the penal code are the ideas not just of legal scholars, but Canadian society at large about how to treat people with respect, grant them true constitutional rights, and undo things that were once harmful but accepted. So for all of you out there who have had money stolen, feel free to hire the best criminal lawyer without any questions asked for your money being returned – it is legal once again!
Every year, about 41 million Americans earn themselves a speeding ticket.
Keep in mind, speeding is not the only traffic violation. If you run a red light, drive without a valid license, hit the road when impaired, drive a vehicle with burned-out headlights or fail to yield, you’ll be guilty of a traffic violation.
While some violations are less serious and fairly straightforward to resolve, others – like DUI and hit and run – are serious and can get you behind bars.
If you’re being charged with a traffic violation, it can be tempting to fight the charge alone. Don’t.
Here is why you should hire a traffic violation lawyer.
1. You Don’t Understand Traffic Law
Sure, traffic laws aren’t the most complicated, but that doesn’t mean just about anyone can understand them.
If you’ve violated a traffic law, now is not the time to start researching the specific law and the potential consequences. You’ll be too distraught to understand anything.
On the other hand, hiring a traffic lawyer gets you a competent professional with an in-depth understanding of federal laws and state and local traffic codes. The lawyer has probably spent several years defending clients in traffic courts, so you’ll feel confident having them on your side.
They will evaluate the case brought against you, identify weakness and aggressively fight the ticket on your behalf.
Can you imagine cross-examining a police officer by yourself in a traffic court? No way! A traffic violation lawyer has the skills to question the officer with the aim of raising reasonable doubt as to your guilt.
2. Dismiss/Lower Ticket Penalties
Did you know Americans pay north of $6 billion worth of speeding tickets annually?
This is a huge amount. It means when you get a traffic ticket, you’ll certainly have to pay a fine.
If you’re a first or second-time offender, it usually seems easier to settle the fine and move on with your life. But here is the thing, some tickets are wrongly issued, and others can quickly add up. A $500 speeding ticket, for instance, can hurt your bank account.
For those reasons, the best thing to do is to hire a traffic violation lawyer. He or she can contest the penalty, or explain your circumstances in a traffic court and get the judge to lower your penalty or even dismiss it entirely.
Obviously, getting a lower fine is good for the wallet, but there is more to it. When a penalty is dismissed, you typically won’t accumulate points on your driving license. The outcome is your DL won’t be suspended.
3. Gathering Evidence Information
You’re very certain you didn’t skip a red light, but here you’re slapped with a red light ticket.
Who is right? Who is wrong? The only way to establish the truth is to contest the ticket.
If your state or local authority has installed traffic cameras along the road you were on, it’s possible to collect the footage or incident reports.
The problem is, as a regular person, you might even not be aware that you can get video footage. And if you are aware, bypassing the typical bureaucracy of public offices can prove challenging.
The best thing you can do in such a situation is to hire a traffic violation lawyers.
These professionals know their way around bureaucratic government offices and can easily gain access to the video footage. Needless to say, if the footage proves you didn’t run a red light, the lawyer will ensure the ticket is dismissed.
You can even instruct the lawyer to sue the traffic officer for writing a false ticket.
4. Get Alternative Discipline
The vast majority of traffic offenders are usually guilty as charged.
Although hiring a lawyer enhances your chances of getting a reduced penalty, this is not always the case. If the prosecutor has substantial evidence against you, there is little a lawyer can do.
However, depending on your record, a competent lawyer can be able to negotiate an alternative discipline.
A common alternative to a fine or suspended license is attending driving or traffic school! Well, going back to school is not an interesting prospect, but would you rather lose your license or pay costly fines?
5. Save Money
One of the primary reasons traffic violators don’t hire lawyers is cost. They often wrongly assume it’s cheaper to settle a fine or serve a probationary period than hire an attorney.
It’s true, routine violations don’t need a lawyer, especially if you’re a first-time offender. But when you’ve committed a serious offense, you shouldn’t fight the charge alone in a bid to save money. You could actually end up spending even more money.
If you lose the case, for instance, the violation will show up on your driving record. The more points you have on your record, the higher the premiums you’ll pay for auto insurance.
A lawyer can ensure the violation isn’t added to your driving record, thereby preventing you from higher insurance premiums.
Beyond saving money, you’ll also save time. For a small fee, a traffic violation lawyer will handle all the paperwork on your behalf, and represent you in a traffic court where necessary.
Hiring a Traffic Violation Lawyer Is the Right Step
As a law-abiding citizen, it’s never your intention to violate a traffic law. However, sometimes circumstances beyond our control lead us into legal trouble.
If you’re facing a traffic ticket or charge, you could be tempted to contest or fight it on your own, but as we’ve demonstrated, it’s not a risk worth taking. Hiring a traffic violation lawyer gives you the best chance of getting the ticket penalty reduced or dismissed.
Don’t waste any more time. Find a lawyer today.
In a land mark ruling in July of 2017, the Michigan Supreme Court convicted a man of DWI for operating a motor vehicle in your own driveway. The police can actually come in, investigate and arrest an individual for driving while intoxicated within their own property.
In the case of the State of Michigan v. Gino Roberto Rea, the defendant was found guilty of driving while intoxicated, even though he was in his car on his own driveway. Gino Roberto Rea’s case was thrust into the spotlight in 2014 when neighbors complained to the police at least three times, about noise that was coming from his property. In response to the complaints, an officer visited his premises and found Rea intoxicated and attempting to back out of his garage. Even though he reentered the garage, the officer arrested him and was later found to have three times the legal limit of alcohol in his blood.
The reason for his arrest was that he had been operating his motor vehicle while drunk, leading to the question of whether an individual can be arrested for DWI while stationary within their own driveway. According to the Michigan Vehicle Code section 257.625 (1), it is unlawful for a person to operate a motor vehicle on a highway or any place that is accessible to the general public and to other vehicles including designated parking areas while intoxicated.
When Rea’s case was first taken to court, his lawyer filed a motion stating that because he had been drinking and driving within his property, he did not break the law. The judge agreed with this motion and dismissed the case. However, the case was taken to the Supreme Court of Appeals under the argument that Rea’s driveway was well within public access and thus it was unlawful for him to operate his vehicle on his driveway while intoxicated.
In the case of the State of Michigan v. Gino Roberto Rea, the fact that the defendant’s property was within access to the public and other vehicle users, prevailed over his right to operate a motor vehicle in the property while intoxicated. According to the prosecutor, there was no barrier between the street and Rea’s driveway to prevent other motorists from accessing the driveway. As a result, Rea was found guilty of operating his vehicle while intoxicated in an area where he could endanger the lives of other motorists.
This ruling is not a law to say explicitly that operating a vehicle in one’s driveway while intoxicated is unlawful. However, it sets precedence to show that just because you are in your driveway, you are not exempt from being charged with a DWI especially when you endanger the lives of the public and other motorists.
Minnesota law on DWI prohibits operating, driving and being in physical control of a motor vehicle while under the influence of alcohol, drugs or other intoxicating substances. The law does not create a boundary between private and public property but uses the criteria of whether these areas are accessible to vehicle use or not.