Practice Areas

At Garner Law Firm, we focus on a number of different areas of practice on behalf of individuals and families in the greater Joplin, Missouri area. These include Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and SSI appeals, bankruptcy, DWI and criminal defense.


Stressed_CoupleAre you and your family drowning in overwhelming debt? Are you receiving intimidating calls from creditors and collection agencies? Are you concerned about losing your home or your car because you can’t make your payments on time? If you’re considering declaring bankruptcy in order to secure debt relief, you’re not alone! Between one and two million American families declare bankruptcy every year in order to get a fresh start on their finances. If your debt is keeping you up at night, it might be time to contact a knowledgeable Joplin bankruptcy attorney to see if declaring bankruptcy makes sense for you and your family. There are different kinds of bankruptcy that you may be eligible for, including Chapter 7 liquidation and Chapter 13 debt restructuring, but you should call Garner Law Firm to make an appointment with a reliable Missouri bankruptcy lawyer about your financial situation before committing to any course of action. Sometimes other options like consolidation or settlement are preferable to filing for bankruptcy, but if declaring bankruptcy really is your best choice for wiping out your dischargeable debt, we’ll let you know and guide you through the process accordingly.

If you choose to file for bankruptcy, several things will happen immediately. First of all, any foreclosure proceedings or wage garnishments that are currently underway will be stopped. Additionally, creditors and collections agencies will no longer be able to contact you except through the bankruptcy court. The specifics of the bankruptcy process depend on whether you are filing for Chapter 7 liquidation or Chapter 13 debt restructuring. As soon as they file for Chapter 7, eligible families can put a stop to harassing calls from creditors immediately and also temporarily halt any wage garnishments or foreclosure proceedings that are under way. Although there is always the risk of losing some important assets when filing for Chapter 7, with good legal representation families can usually avoid losing their homes, their vehicles, and other important pieces of property. Under the terms of a Chapter 13 debt restructuring, however, individuals can make payments to creditors over a period of three to five years under the terms of a reasonable, court-approved repayment plan. Regardless of whether you file for Chapter 7 or Chapter 13, once the bankruptcy process is completed, any remaining dischargeable debt, including credit card bills, medical bills, and past utility bills, will be permanently eliminated. Contact a dedicated Joplin bankruptcy attorney today to get started on understanding your legal options if you and your family are seeking debt relief. We’ll schedule a consultation with you so we can get work right away in tackling your debt and finding a viable solution to a difficult problem. Call Garner Law Firm to get started!

Social Security Disability Insurance and Supplemental Security Income Appeals

14608477_lAmericans who are no longer able to work because of a permanent or temporary disability of a mental or physical nature have the option of applying for Social Security disability insurance benefits. The Social Security Administration has strict criteria for determining whether or not an applicant is eligible for receiving insurance benefits, and most of those individuals who apply for SSDI benefits for the first time are denied for either technical or non-technical reasons. A technical denial means that an individual’s application contained errors or omissions, or that the their work history did not qualify them for SSDI benefits. Non-technical denials, on the other hand, are issued because an applicant failed to convince an SSA claims examiner that the nature or the severity of their disability entitles them to SSDI benefits. Many applicants simply give up after receiving notice of a non-technical denial or else start the application process again from the beginning; however, most of those individuals who go on to appeal their denied applications are eventually successful in getting their applications approved. If your SSDI application was denied for non-technical reasons, you should contact a dedicated Joplin Social Security disability insurance attorney as soon as possible. Statistically, those individuals who partner with a knowledgeable SSDI lawyer when appealing a non-technical denial are about twice as likely to have their application accepted at some stage of the appeals process.

Although SSDI is a federal program, it is largely delegated to the states. Most states have a four-part SSDI appeals process; Missouri, on the other hand, only has three. The first step in the appeals process in Missouri involves requesting a hearing with an administrative law judge, or ALJ. If this hearing proves to be unsuccessful, applicants can seek a review by the Disability Appeals Council. If this fails, applicants still have the final option of filing a lawsuit in federal court. It is during this hearing with the ALJ that a non-technical denial is most likely to be overturned, and your SSDI attorney can help you prepare for this hearing by coaching you on how to present your case in the best possible light. Call Garner Law Firm to schedule a consultation with a Social Security Disability Insurance lawyer with 16 years of experience in helping disabled Missourians who are no longer able to work get the federal benefits they deserve. We also handle Supplemental Security Income appeals on behalf of our clients whose work history doesn’t allow them to apply for SSDI benefits. Remember: our fees are limited to a quarter of the past-due benefits you are owed by the SSA, and we are required to have the SSA review our costs and fees before we can legally charge you for our services. Contact Garner Law Firm today to learn more about the appeals process and what you can do to protect your rights following a non-technical denial of your SSDI or SSI application.

DWI and Criminal Defense

23550506_lLike other states, Missouri takes drunk driving very seriously. What used to be considered a social nuisance is now treated as criminal offense, and those who are arrested for DWI may face consequences such as jail time and expensive fines if convicted. In fact, an arrest for DWI in the State of Missouri doesn’t just involve the criminal justice system. If you refuse to submit to a chemical test of your blood, breath or urine after your arrest, or if your blood-alcohol level (or BAC) is found to be greater than .08 %, the Missouri Department of Motor Vehicles will order an administrative suspension of your license. This administrative suspension will go into effect fifteen days after your arrest unless you take action to contest it. The best way to deal with the criminal and administrative aspects of a DWI arrest in the State of Missouri is to hire a seasoned DWI attorney as soon as possible. A capable drunk driving lawyer can help you keep your driving privileges by helping you secure an occupational license after an administrative suspension as well as assist you in fighting your criminal charges. Don’t let an indiscretion or a misunderstanding compromise your finances, your liberty, and your reputation. Call Garner Law Firm to make an appointment with a knowledgeable Joplin DWI lawyer who will aggressively fight for your rights after an arrest for drunk driving.

Garner Law Firm also offers dedicated legal representation for residents of Jasper or Newton County who have been accused of misdemeanor or felony offenses including traffic violations, domestic violence, and drug crimes. Remember that the 5th Amendment to the US Constitution gives you the right to remain silent when questioned by law enforcement officials after an arrest, and you should make use of this right at every opportunity! Don’t make excuses or offer explanations to the arresting officer after an arrest – call a fearless Joplin criminal defense attorney instead. We will gladly go to trial on your behalf if necessary to safeguard your freedom. Schedule a consultation with us and give yourself an opportunity to share your version of events with a fearless criminal defense lawyer in a non-intimidating and non-threatening environment. We know how easy it is to give in to panic and anxiety after an arrest, but you don’t have to. Talk to us and let us help you examine your legal options. Even when we can’t beat a case or get a client’s charges thrown out, we can sometimes get charges – and the resulting sentences – significantly reduced. Call today!

If you are seeking help with debt relief, a denied SSDI or SSI application, criminal arrest, or DWI arrest, call Garner Law Firm today at (417) 454-2063 and schedule an appointment with an experienced Missouri lawyer.

Garner Law Firm