Most understand that you must be careful about where you get your information on the web. Many, however, don't realize that internet research poses risks that are unique to individuals looking to resolve a legal matter. The most common problem is that people fail to realize that what one person did may not work for them because of the jurisdiction they are, or are not in.
Where You're Located Plays A Crucial Role
Time and time again we have people that call us up and expect their entire legal matter to follow a very specific path. Many times, they even go so far as to recommend case law and legal strategy they feel we should employ for their defense. All based off of their own internet research of course. Luckily, however, these people came to us after their research and didn't try to employ misguided legal strategy or case law that might not have any relevance in Pennsylvania. We were able to sit down with these individuals and explain why their strategy isn't going to work or why what they are seeking might not even be the best outcome in this jurisdiction to begin with. Sadly, these people only account for only a fraction of the total amount of people conducting their own legal research. Many people, unfortunately, will go out and employ their own strategies without ever having consulted an attorney.
Representing yourself in a legal matter armed with irrelevant case law or strategy or ones in which do not apply in PA is likely to lead to very serious consequences. Depending on the type of case you are dealing with, this could result in a loss of assets and even your freedom.
Be Careful About "Stories" You Hear On The Internet
Lets face it, the internet is a prime place to peddle products. Including "DIY Defense Kits". Yes, sadly, they do exist. They are usually surrounded by someone's "story" about how they did [name your matter type here] and "didn't even need an attorney!". They go on to tell you they are not attorneys and are not giving you legal advice but you should download their DIY Kit for only X amount so you can do what they did and allow all your problems to be solved.
The reality is that these individual's "story" is likely to be 1) embelished significantly, 2) just not factual at all or 3) not applicable at all to you. Take for instance, debt collection lawsuits. These types of cases are what we handle the most out of all of our practice areas. Doing a web search for "defending against a debt collector lawsuit" will likely bring up a significant amount of websites. Many of them forums of users telling you to "Compel arbitration" or negotiate a 3rd party debt collector to 50% as that is a good deal and so on. You will also come across websites of people who tell you their story and sell you a DIY Debt Defense Kit explaining negotiation tactics and how to get your debt reduced, or at least what they consider negotiation tactics. The attorneys at Starks Law would likely not give you advice similar to any of that. This is because we know the laws in this jurisdiction enough to know that 3rd party debt collection cases can be won in court based on the laws found in Pennsylvania. Additionally "Compeling arbitration" is just advice that doesn't apply here. Debt lawsuits, in most circumstances, are already going to arbitration at the Court of Common Pleas level. "Demanding" arbitration at the Magistrate is likely to garner nothing more than a funny look and then a judgment against you.
Another problematic area when it comes to internet research, is the area of DUI law. This has been a very big topic recently as there exists an astounding number of videos and articles going around giving advice on what you should do when you are pulled over for a DUI. A sickening amount of these videos encourage citizens to refuse testing for Blood Alcohol Content(BAC). While that may be something that gives better chances while being prosecuted in those states, it absolutely is not in Pennsylvania. Refusing a BAC test in Pennsylvania carries significant consequences. 1st, you will automatically be placed in the highest tier of DUI charges. You will be considered to have a BAC of above .16, without ever having been tested. Additionally, you will receive an administrative punishment from PennDot of a 1 year license suspsension.
Stop Risking Bad Information, Talk To An Attorney
Starks Law offers free, no obligation telephone consultations to anyone facing debt collectors or DUI charges. There is absolutely no need to read through hundreds of webpages that have information that could be harmful to you or webpages simply trying to sell you something that could be very harmful to you as well.
We know the laws in Pennsylvania and we can help show you where your defenses are and what the most likely outcome would be for your case. If you would like for us to call you at a scheduled time, use the call back form below.