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  • Writer's pictureEric Beal

What someone else thinks they know CAN hurt you

I listen to a lot of talk radio. Some would say too much — my wife probably among them.

I like talk radio. I’ve listened to it for about 35 years. I’ve listened to stations all over the country, and I’ve listened to all types.

In the early days, I would listen to general interest shows. Then I went through a period where I listened to political shows. Then came Sports Talk radio stations.

There are at least three “All Sports” stations in the DFW Metroplex, and in the day and age of smart phone apps and the internet, I have access to many others around the country with just the touch of an icon.

One thing I have found to be universally true is this: If the host or any member of the cast is talking (and sometimes even if a guest is talking), and they are talking about legal issues, they are almost always wrong!

The per-minute amount of incorrect legal “information” given out over the airwaves is staggering.

Almost without fail, they are not “a little off”; they are totally wrong. They virtually never have any idea that is even close to reality on any legal issue at all — yet they spout off and infect the general population with their "knowledge," while rarely offering any caveat such as, “I’m wondering if maybe this is right.”

So why am I talking about this?

Because one of the worst things anyone with a legal problem can do is get information from a bad source — family, friends, or the media.

Unless you are talking to an attorney that is talking to you about a field in which they practice, chances are, you are getting bad — and potentially very harmful — information.

Occasionally, someone may have a nugget of truth in what they say, and that can be even worse.

A saying that I invented years ago is this, “A little bit of legal knowledge is a dangerous thing.” Why? Because you need the whole picture. In the law, there are rules, and there are exceptions to the rules, and there are exceptions to the exceptions.

Before you act or fail to act, you need complete, accurate information. That type of information is probably not going to come in the form of a short “free consult.” Legal problems of any complexity take awhile to discuss meaningfully. And solid advice virtually never comes from family, friends, or other non-lawyer sources

Family, friends, and talk radio are all great, but before you decide what to do when you have a real legal issue, get real advice, from people that really know what they are talking about.

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