Jonathan D.Watson               256.599.4113
                       ATTORNEY AT LAW
                                                                                    jwatson @jwatsonlaw.com

                                                                                                                                       123 Lee Street, NE, Ste. A
                                                                                                                                       Decatur, Alabama 35601

Frequently Asked Questions
Index

Business Formation

Child Custody

Child Support

Criminal Law

Divorce

Estate Planning

Insurance Law

Land Use / Zoning

Personal Injury

Business Formation

Child Custody

Child Support

Criminal Law 

I discovered a warrant for my arrest exists.  What do I need to do?
Contact a criminal defense attorney immediately.  An arrest warrant may exist for a variety of reasons.  Sometimes, action taken by an attorney can result in the warrant being cancelled.  However, it is imperative that you contact a lawyer immediately as a law enforcement officer will arrest you if you are stopped or interrogated (e.g., for a traffic violation).

What is a bond or bail amount?  How is the amount determined?
When an individual is arrested or detained because of his or her alleged commission of a crime, a bail amount is often set.  This amount is typically a monetary sum that the defendant must pay unto the Court in order to secure his release during the time between the arrest and the trial.  The bail amount is set by the Judge, the Magistrate, or another official and is based upon the seriousness of the crime, the past criminal history of the defendant, and/or the potential that the defendant may try to leave the state or country.
Oftentimes, the defendant is unable to pay the entirety of the bail amount.  In such cases, he or she will often secure the services of a bail bonding agent.  A bail bonding agent charges the defendant a certain percentage of the total bail amount in exchange for posting a bond by which the agent agrees to pay the full amount of the bail amount if the defendant does not appear for trial.
Bail amounts may be reduced if set too high.  As a defendant is presumed innocent until proven guilty, the bail amount, pursuant to our Constitutional protections, must honor our rights and presumed innocence.  If you or a friend or family-member is unable to secure his or her release due to the severity of the bail amount, contact a criminal lawyer immediately.

What is an arraignment?
An arraignment is a formal court hearing at which the defendant (person accused of a crime) is apprised of the nature of the charges against him or her and is required to either plead guilty or not guilty.  An arraignment is often an important part of the criminal defense process, and every defendant should have an attorney at that time.

How much will my criminal defense attorney cost?
The fees required by a criminal defense attorney depend upon a number of factors: the nature and severity of the charges, the hourly rate of the attorney, and the facts surrounding the alleged commission of the crime.  Many attorneys provide criminal defense representation for a flat fee, in contrast to charging by the hour.  For example, Mr. Watson normally charges between $750 to $1,000 for serious misdemeanors.  He offers some of the most competitive rates in North Alabama.


Divorce 

How do I start the divorce process?
Normally, the divorce process begins when one spouse files a "Complaint" with the Clerk's Office.  A filing fee is required.  However, if the parties agree to the terms of the divorce, then an agreement will be signed prior to filing the uncontested divorce papers.  Other times, a letter proposing a settlement may prove more prudent than filing a complaint.  An attorney can assist you in determining which course of action is best for you.

How long, from start to finish, does a divorce take?
An uncontested divorce, where both spouses agree as to all terms of the divorce, can often be finalized in 45 to 60 days.  On the other hand, a highly contested divorce can often last in excess of eighteen (18) months.  The time required to finalize the divorce will depend upon the facts of your situation.

How much does a divorce cost?
Similarly to the prior question and answer about the duration of a divorce, the cost of a divorce often depends on the facts of your situation and what your goals are.  An uncontested divorce can often cost as little as $615.  However, a contentious divorce case may cost in excess of several thousands of dollars.  Mr. Watson discusses these issues with each potential divorce client during the initial consultation.  Oftentimes, cost is a factor that must be balanced with the factors of your divorce such as child custody and real property division.  In addition to apprising you of these considerations, Mr. Watson also offers one of the most competitive hourly rates in North Alabama.

I am contemplating a divorce.  What should I be doing in preparation?
Consult an attorney - immediately.  Actions that you take prior to initiating a divorce case can have drastic impact on the final outcome.  Only an experienced divorce lawyer can advise you appropriately.


Estate Planning (Last Will; Advance Directive; Power of Attorney)

Insurance Law (Breach; Bad Faith; Misrepresentation)

Land Use / Zoning

Personal Injury
Estate Planning (Last Will; Advance Directive; Power of Attorney) Insurance Law (Breach; Bad Faith; Misrepresentation) Land Use / Zoning Personal Injury





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