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5 Top Tips for Avoiding Legal Trouble

— July 15, 2022

Being proactive is a helpful attitude that underlies a way of life that never crosses paths with law enforcement personnel or officers of the court.

Do you dread the legal questions on job applications because of one or two youthful indiscretions? You’re not alone. Many working adults have had a small number of run-ins with law enforcement. Fortunately, the vast majority learn their lesson and never get in trouble again. Outside of minor traffic violations, most responsible people never have to worry about hiring lawyers to defend them from prosecution. Is there a secret to staying within the bounds of the law? Like most of life’s challenges, there’s no magic formula for staying out of harm’s way. However, for those who don’t want to be arrested or see the inside of a courtroom, there are several effective tactics.

Being proactive is a helpful attitude that underlies a way of life that never crosses paths with law enforcement personnel or officers of the court. Just in case litigation ensnares you, it’s wise to keep the powder dry by maintaining financial stability. Every day working adults who do encounter problems typically do so while driving impaired. Some fall under the grand sweep of tax regulations and end up paying dearly for underreported income. The following suggestions can help keep anyone from having to hire a lawyer. For those who do need professional representation, it’s best to already have the names of two or three lawyers who can be ready to take immediate action.

Optimize Your Budget

Smart budgeting is one of the long-term strategies for staying out of legal trouble. It’s comforting to know that should a situation arise, you’ll be able to use savings to cover most or all of the associated fees. In order to maximize savings, do whatever it takes to minimize monthly expenses. For those who owe on education loans, refinancing is a wise option. If you choose to refinance your student loan or loans, there’s a high probability that the result will be lower total monthly spending. That’s because a standard refi often comes with more beneficial rates, terms, and repayment periods. But most importantly, it translates to lower monthly payments. If you like the idea of freeing up some extra cash month after month, consider refinancing education loans.

Be Proactive

There are law firms that offer retainer-like plans that are essentially prepaid legal insurance. For a modest monthly fee, clients always have a trained lawyer at the ready. The major benefit of the proactive approach is that you’ll never wonder how much it will cost to have someone represent you in court. While the prepaid amount does not cover all expenses, it goes a long way toward minimizing what you would ordinarily spend and gives you instant access to competent representation.

Pay Taxes Early and In Full

Taxes and money; image courtesy of, via Flickr, CC BY-SA 2.0. no changes made.
Image courtesy of, via Flickr, CC BY-SA 2.0. no changes made.

It’s unfortunate that so many taxpayers get in a rut with the IRS by filing their tax returns late. Plus, large numbers of citizens don’t pay the full amount of what they owe and end up having to make a payment agreement with the government. Even worse, there are countless taxpayers who simply don’t file returns for years in a row. The cold fact is that it’s quite easy to get in trouble with the IRS. One preventive tactic is to file early every year and pay exactly what you owe. If your return is complex, hire a CPA to do the filing and preparation for you. Fees are competitive, and you’ll sleep much better knowing that a tax pro did all the detail work.

Be Smart About Insurance

One of the most effective tools to protect against being arrested, fined, or sued is insurance. At least once each year, update your car, homeowners, and any other insurance policies you have in place. If you’re a business owner, double-check all the provisions and coverage limits on commercial policies every six months. Insurance has saved many people from facing the prospect of costly litigation and high lawyer fees. The premiums are a small price to pay for protection.

Never Drive While Impaired

Every year, police hand out millions of DWI (driving while impaired) tickets. Not only are the fines astronomically high, but the penalties often include jail time and mandatory attendance of road safety classes. In extreme situations, you could lose your right to drive a car for an extended period of time. The surefire remedy for DWIs is to never operate a car while under the influence of any mind or mood-altering substance. That includes both legal and illegal drugs, drinks, and pills. If you drink socially, always arrange for a designated driver or cab when the evening is over. Every year, fines and criminal penalties seem to become more punitive and expensive.

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