Do I need a lawyer with me when I go to court for an assault charge that I brought against another individual?

UPDATED: Sep 30, 2022

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Do I need a lawyer with me when I go to court for an assault charge that I brought against another individual?

I was attacked outside of a restaurant/bar by four guys one of which accused me and my friend of urinating on his car. We did not urinate on his car. I did not know the 4 guys however, the main guy who accused me and beat me up his ex-girlfriend, who witness the incident told me his name. She didn’t tell me the name of the others guys. Also, there was another guy who came to my rescue and broke up the fight. He will testify on my behalf. Do I need a lawyer or do I simply go into court and tell what happened? How do I prepare myself for this court case? I have never been to court for anything and I want to be prepared.

Asked on October 10, 2016 under Personal Injury, New York


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 6 years ago | Contributor

If this is a criminal case you filed against this other person, you don't need your own attorney--the prosecutor is effectively your lawyer (though he doesn't work for you; it's his job to enforce the law, which means prosecuting the charge). You are, in this case, not on trial--you are a witness to the assault on you--and you do not need your own attorney. Just tell the story truthfully and answer the questions asked of you.
If this is a lawsuit (e.g. for medical costs) you brought, if the amount is greater than the limit for small claims, it's worth hiring an attorney to represent you, to maximize your chance of recovering money. If it's less than the small claims limit, it's not economically worth the cost of an attorney.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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