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Old February 19, 2013, 02:34 PM   #51
Join Date: May 16, 2000
Location: Washington state
Posts: 7,438

You don't want insurance. You do want help with your legal bills.

The difference between the two is this: insurance pays out only after you are acquitted, and only if you go to trial and are found not guilty on every charge including minor ones. It does not pay any fees you accrue if your case does not go to trial. It will not pay if you are found guilty of a minor charge or if you accept a good plea bargain.

If you successfully navigate the tricky legal waters before trial, you should be able to keep your case out of court in the first place. Not going to trial is usually a much better outcome financially, socially, and emotionally. By educating yourself before your event, and by hiring a good lawyer and some specialists (such as a private investigator to give your lawyer the ammunition he or she needs to make your case to the prosecutor not to press charges) immediately after your event, you improve your chances of avoiding trial or facing prosecution in the first place. But insurance won't help you cover those pre-trial costs if you successfully avoid trial.

What you should look for instead is a plan that:

1) Offers some immediate money to your lawyer to get your legal defense moving in the right direction right away. Criminal attorneys do not offer their services in advance of payment, so if you don't have $10k or so sitting around ready to use, you want to look for a plan that takes care of that.

2) Provides some form of specialized, expert assistance to your lawyer, because justified self-defense is a very narrow field. Most criminal defense attorneys will go through an entire career without ever seeing a truly justified self defense; although self defense claims are very common, justified claims by people who are truly innocent are extremely rare, and need to be treated quite differently than the more usual types of claims.

3) Offers financial benefits that do not require your case going to trial, because the best outcomes involve pursuading the prosecutor not to press forward in the first place. Going to trial with a not-guilty outcome is second-best, not the ideal plan. And even getting that second best outcome requires a big up front financial investment that you might not be able to swing without help.

My recommendation is joining ACLDN -- The disclaimer is that the founder of ACLDN (Marty Hayes) is a close personal friend and neighbor of mine, and my mentor in the world of firearms instruction, so I'm biased. On the other hand, after knowing him personally for the past 14 years and seeing up close how he does business over the years, I can tell you I have complete faith in his integrity and ability to do the things he promises to do through ACLDN. That's not something I can say for most of the other insurance and non-insurance options that are out there.

Kathy Jackson
My personal website: Cornered Cat
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