A legal battle is about the last thing any average person wants to find themselves in. It’s stressful and can affect every area of life, including work or school. If a friend or family member is going through a legal battle, just know that they’re probably experiencing a lot of pressure and stress, both on their time, heart, and mind. If the charge is a criminal matter, you might want to start by recommending a Rawlings law criminal lawyer who can take over some of the burden for them so that they can go on about their lives. Here are 7 other things you can do to help.
Of all the things you can do, listening is probably the most important. The things you say may make a difference, but it’s the listening part that will really allow them to relieve some of the stress and fear that might be going on in their mind. If it’s a criminal case that may impact their freedom, listening is especially important.
2. Don’t Judge
If you must judge, just stay quiet. The last thing anyone undergoing a legal battle needs is a moral lecture. Reserve judgment unless they are open to suggestions on how to remedy their situation or think differently for the future. For example, if your friend or family member really did commit a crime and feels guilty for it, encouraging, helpful advice on how to avoid the mistake in the future may be helpful. Do it gently and positively. If they aren’t open to discussing things like that, leave it be.
If you’re proficient at Internet research, you might help them seek out a lawyer or find information about their particular charge. Maybe your friend doesn’t know about the wealth of legal resources online. Share those links!
4. Character Witness
If your friend is worried that there will be a sentencing stage, then you might be willing to testify to their character and stand up for them in a sentencing scenario. Offering to be a character witness might give them some comfort. Only offer if you are willing to actually become involved in their case. Offering assistance and then backing out might be traumatic to them and interfere in your bond.
5. Financial Assistance
One of the things that weighs heaviest on a person’s mind during a legal case is how they’re going to pay for their defense while still taking care of everyday life. If your friend or family member is struggling financially, offering to buy food or give over a little bit for utilities can help. You control how much you give, but even the offer is encouraging to them. Anything helps.
6. Respect Choices
Sometimes your loved one might make decisions in their case that you don’t agree with. For example, they may want to plead guilty in a criminal case, and you believe they should plead not guilty, it’s time for you to step back and let your friend and their lawyer make the decision. It may be upsetting to you, and that’s when you need to find a friend or family member of your own to express your turmoil to. Don’t stress out your legally embattled friend even more by arguing with their legal decisions. They’re the one who has to live with the consequences. Support them.
7. No Legal Advice
You’re not a lawyer. Do not give out legal advice you’ve browsed over the Internet and fill their head with confusion about their case. It’s them and their lawyer who will deal with those difficult issues behind closed doors, away from the world. Throwing in your own armchair legal advice does more harm than good. Stay away from shelling out that advice, no matter how tempting it may be.
When a friend is suffering, it’s natural to want to rush in and change things, save them. All of your feelings are natural. Explore them with friends and family not going through a legal battle. When talking to your friend, though, listen more than talk, and always make sure that you support them during this difficult time.