Not often. Most matters can be handled by your attorney without you. However, there will be some hearings or proceedings for which the court will require your presence. This almost always includes the final court date.
We will talk about this at length, both before and during your case. The legal system can be very intimidating, and I believe it is part of my job to talk you through the process (see also “counselor” at law). We will thoroughly prepare for each step. We will discuss everything from how to appropriately answer questions during depositions, to what to wear to court. I am happy to answer all of your questions.
SES is “suspended execution of sentence.” This means that you are sentenced to a fine or a certain amount of jail time, but that sentence is not yet “executed.” Instead, you are placed on probation, and your assigned sentence becomes your “backup” (the amount of time you will serve or the fine you will pay if your probation is revoked). As long as you comply with the conditions of probation, you never have to serve that time or pay that fine. When you complete your probation, the sentence will appear on your criminal record, but it will also reflect that you were placed on probation. SIS is “suspended imposition of sentence.” This means that a sentence is never imposed. In Missouri a “conviction” requires that you were actually sentenced. Therefore, if you receive an SIS, it does not count as a conviction.
One thing you must remember about any probation is that the judge will have almost unlimited discretion as to what conditions of probation to impose, and whether to revoke your probation if you violate any of those conditions. If your SES probation is revoked, you will serve your “back-up” sentence. If your SIS probation is revoked, one of several things can happen. The judge can sentence you to any amount of jail or prison time allowable by law, and make you begin serving that sentence immediately. Or the judge may decide to take away the SIS and give you SES with a “back-up” sentence and new conditions of probation. While SIS always sounds like the better deal, it can come with increased risks if you get in trouble during the probationary period.
Clients are often very concerned with costs. I will do my best to work with you on this issue. Generally speaking, cases are priced depending on the type of the case. Workers compensation cases are “contingency fee” cases. This means that the attorney gets paid out of your settlement/award after costs are taken out (costs to obtain records, hire experts, take depositions, etc.). Bankruptcy, criminal, municipal, and traffic cases are usually “flat fee” cases. This means I charge a set amount based on the difficulty of the case, and the amount of work I think will be involved. This will depend on the facts of your individual case. I am happy to provide you with an initial consultation and free quote. Contact me at (314) 862-7277 or directly submit your questions to me via email at Lacy@LacyFieldsLaw.com.
Big words, long phrases, lots of Latin… lawyers seem to speak another language. While I have to know all the legal terminology, you do not. Therefore, I always talk to my clients in plain English. I will make sure you understand what is going on in your case and will decode all the legal jargon involved in court documents and contracts. Of course, if you are curious about such things or think you could score extra points in Trivial Pursuit, we can always discuss the language of law.
The choice of a lawyer is an important decision and should not be based solely upon advertisements.