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How To Prove That You Shouldn’t Be Convicted For Your Criminal Actions

Posted by on Oct 20, 2014 in Blog, Law | 0 comments

The fact that you have engaged in a criminal act does not always mean that you are guilty. There are several forms of defenses that can absolve you from guilt if you can prove them in court. For example, you can plead that you were: Insane When You Committed the Crime While it is more difficult to defend yourself with an insanity claim than Hollywood would have you to believe, it is nonetheless a credible defense strategy. The law reasons that, if you are insane, then it is better to give you psychiatrist help than to send you to prison. Jurisdictions have different thresholds for proving insanity. According to FindLaw, the common tests include the: “M’Naghten Rule” – you were incapable of understanding your actions or fail to distinguish between what is right and what is wrong. “Irresistible Impulse” – you had a mental disease that made you unable to control your impulses, and it is the impulses that led you commit a crime. “Model Penal Code” for Legal Insanity – you have a diagnosed mental illness that prevented you from understanding your actions. A court may need you to pass one or more of these tests to find you insane.   Acting in Self-defense Apart from pleading insanity, self-defense can also help you to defend yourself from a criminal action that you actually performed. Self-defense is common in assault, battery and robbery charges – basically, any situation that involves violence. Generally, you will need to prove that you: Did not provoke the other person Believed that the danger (of serious bodily harm or death) was imminent Did not volunteer to fight Again, it depends on the jurisdiction in which you are being tried. In some states, you are required to retreat and only fight back if the person wishing to cause you harm continues to pursue you. In other areas, you don’t have to flee, but can protect yourself with ‘reasonable means.’ It is up to the court to decide what is reasonable or not, but the general agreement is that your actions should be commensurate with those that the average person would have done. Under the Influence of Drugs Finally, you can also claim that you were under the influence of drugs. Drugs can alter your mind and make you do things that you would not do if you were sober. Unfortunately, only a few states accept this form of defense, but you can boost your chances of success if you can prove that you were ‘high’ on legal drugs. For example, some prescription drugs have been known to induce drunkenness in people. The kind of defense you pursue depends on your circumstances, and what you can prove. Therefore, you should work closely with a layer from a firm like Dimeo Law Offices, and inform them of all the circumstances surrounding the actions that led to your charges. Even if your case is not dismissed, you may succeed in minimizing the...

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How To Determine If You Have A Personal Injury Case

Posted by on Oct 20, 2014 in Blog, Law | 0 comments

If you have been injured physically, emotionally, or financially by a person or business, you may be wondering what your legal options are. If you are hesitant to contact a personal injury attorney, consider the following information. It will help you determine if you meet the elements of a tort law. Tort laws set the requirements recognized by the courts to file a personal injury case against another party. Presence of Duty Presence of duty is the first requirement in determining a civil wrongdoing. It is determined by asking a simple question, did the party responsible take the necessary precautions to prevent injury or damage? For example, if a store owner fails to mark areas that are slippery when wet and a shopper slips and falls, they may be at fault. Store owners have a responsibility to keep their shoppers safe while on their property. While this may not be true in every slip and fall instance, a personal injury attorney can determine the scope of the accused’s responsibilities. Breach of Duty Breach of duty happens when the responsible party has failed in their required duties. For example, drivers are expected to drive and act responsibly when using a motor vehicle. By texting and driving, a driver is considered to be acting recklessly. If an accident occurs while they are distracted, they can be ruled at-fault for the accident. It may be hard to prove the driver was distracted, but personal injury attorneys have measures they can take to properly investigate any claims made in personal injury cases. Injury If you are on another person’s property and an injury occurs, you may have a legitimate personal injury claim. Injuries are not just limited to physical injuries, they can also include mental, emotional and financial loss. One of the major deciding factors when it comes to a qualifying injury claim is if the loss is substantial enough to warrant the court’s time. A consultation with a personal injury attorney will be able to determine if the financial loss suffered in your personal injury case warrants the attention of the courts. Breach-Caused Injury A breached-caused injury may sometimes be referred to as proximate cause. This means the injury you have suffered must be directly linked to the accident at hand. For example, if you were in a car accident that was not your fault and your experienced severe whiplash, you would have a breach-caused injury.  You can’t sue a person or business for an injury sustained prior to the accident in question. Hiring a personal injury attorney is beneficial for a variety of reasons. They have extensive knowledge of personal injury laws, they have finely honed skills when it comes to negotiation, and they will represent you fairly in court. If you have experienced personal injury due to the negligence of another, contact an accident attorney to determine if you have a valid personal injury...

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Navigating The Choppy Waters Of A DUI Charge

Posted by on Oct 15, 2014 in Blog, Law | 0 comments

Getting arrested for the first time following a DUI charge can be a scary situation, full of questions and uncertainty about what may happen in your immediate future. Getting ready to face the charges can feel as intimidating as a powerful storm on the horizon, but you still may be able to affect your future if you’re knowledgeable about how the law works, what to expect in the stages of the court system, and how to navigate a plea bargain. Continue reading to learn more about these three areas and get a better sense of stability on what’s coming next: Understanding Reality You may have heard the important (and true) saying about American law: you are innocent until proven guilty. While that is certainly true and you will be referred to as “the suspect” as well as innocent until your case has concluded with a guilty verdict, it’s important to be honest with yourself: you can not alter the results of a breath analyzer test. Even if you can hold your alcohol well, didn’t stumble when asked to walk a straight line by the officer, or pronounced every word succinctly, the evidence of a positive breath analyzer proving your blood alcohol content (BAC) was above the legal limit will be enough to convince the judge that you deserve a guilty verdict. Because of this, it’s important to begin building your case not around your innocence (which will surely be shot down) but to take advantage of other legal possibilities available to you. Waiting for a Plea Bargain If you are patient and wait for the right opportunity, you will likely experience the possibility of a plea bargain offered from the prosecuting attorney. By offering this, the prosecution gets the chance to settle your case outside of court, avoiding any expensive court fees that might accompany your case. A plea bargain is essentially a compromise between yourself and the prosecution– you will be asked to agree to a deal that benefits both parties. Although the circumstances of each plea bargain are different (depending on the specifics involved in your case), the following are a few things you can expect to experience during the compromise process: You (or your lawyer such as someone from http://zacharylawgroup.com/) can approach the prosecutor at any time to ask for a plea bargain. Deals can be very formal (set up as a meeting in the courtroom building) or informal (done over the phone with the important parties present). You will have to be willing to “give a little to get a little.” The prosecutor will not agree to your terms unless they are also getting something out of the deal, so be ready to submit a guilty plea in exchange for a lesser sentence or penalty. Sometimes deals don’t work out, so never reveal or admit to the strategy you have with your attorney for your defense. In fact, you should never even admit to guilt during the plea bargain process– if the deal goes south, the prosecution can use any information learned against you...

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A Prenuptial Agreement For Safety: Protect Your Wealth And Your Future

Posted by on Oct 15, 2014 in Blog, Law | 0 comments

Getting married and joining finances can be a confusing time, but a prenuptial agreement can make sure there is no confusion if the two of you get divorced. It isn’t fun to think about what could happen if you and your soon to be spouse don’t make it to forever, but it’s best to prepared for things that you can’t see in the future. If you make a hefty income, you have inherited money, or if you have invested well and you are worried about your wealth, some sort of legal representation, like a lawyer, can help you create a prenuptial agreement to protect the money you’ve worked so hard to earn. Here are a few considerations to give attention to when constructing the document. Spousal Support If you have provided your spouse with a generous lifestyle for many years they may not want to give that lifestyle up. You want your prenuptial agreement to state you aren’t going to pay any type of alimony if the two of you get divorced, so you don’t have to support them if they are no longer in your life.    Wages Your spouse may try to claim that they are eligible to get half of everything that you earned while you two were married. This could include your wages, bonuses and more. You can protect every paycheck that you earn if you want, so they can’t get a lump sum of what they think is half theirs. Pension or 401k If you have a pension or a 401k account, it’s important that you include them in the agreement. You can protect everything that you have already invested before you get married, and you can even include the money that you put in after the two of you walk down the aisle. Investment and Savings Accounts Do you have investment accounts like mutual funds or IRA’s, or do you have large savings accounts or trust funds? If you do, you want to make sure that your lawyer protects the account and also any interest and money that you earn on the account while you are married. Take your entire investment portfolio to the lawyer. Assets If you already own a home, several vehicles, recreational vehicles, expensive artwork or other valuable assets, have each item detailed in the agreement. You also want any money you make off selling any of these items protected. Marriage is a beautiful thing, but it doesn’t always end so beautifully. Before you get married make sure you have a prenuptial agreement for your own safety, and to protect your...

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Did You Know That These Factors Could Impact Which Parent Receives Primary Custody?

Posted by on Oct 14, 2014 in Blog, Law | 0 comments

Going through a divorce is difficult when you have children. Although there are some cases in which custody agreements specify that a child will spend equal time living with both parents, it is far more common for one parent to be awarded primary custody. Having one primary residence in which the child spends most of his or her time is seen by many to be a more stable living situation. The judge may take some or all of the following factors into account when deciding whether your child will primarily live with you or with your former spouse. Previous Domestic Violence Incidents If one spouse has previously been accused or convicted of domestic violence, this person is not likely to be awarded primary custody of the child. Judges often assume that if a parent is violent towards his or her partner, than violent behavior is likely to be used against the child as well. The Child’s Wishes In some states, judges are allowed to take into account the child’s wishes when assigning custody. If your judge asks for your child’s opinion, it is important that you let him or her express it without interfering. Bribing your child to say that he or she would rather live with you is likely to result in resentment down the road. Parents’ Dedication to Their Children Couples who are divorcing often spend so much time focusing on their divorce that the children get lost in the shuffle. If one parent is more focused on the child’s well-being than the other, the judge may take this into consideration when drawing up the custody agreement. Failing to provide for a child’s needs or simply spending less time with one’s child than needed may make a parent seem like a less-worthy candidate for primary custody. Potential Changes in the Child’s Daily Life Your child is already going through a lot of lifestyle changes due to your divorce. Many judges wish to prevent children from having to undergo any more changes than are necessary. Thus, if one parent is moving to a different school district or across the state, the parent who is staying in the same place may be awarded primary custody, assuming he or she is determined to be a responsible and suitable parent. Determining whether your child is going to live primarily with you or your spouse may be a long endeavor. Hiring a family lawyer, like Michael S. Mehrmann, Attorney at Law, may help expedite the process and ensure that the decision that is made is the one that is best for your child. Throughout the ordeal, keep in mind that the judge’s goals and your own goals are the same — you want to make this divorce, and the years ahead, as pleasant as possible for your little...

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3 Firearm Related Charges That Prosecutors Often Add

Posted by on Oct 14, 2014 in Blog, Law | 0 comments

If you are accused of a violent crime, prosecutors could tack on more charges if a firearm was involved. You don’t even need to shoot the firearm to receive these charges. Simply carrying it or threatening people with it can net you serious additional charges. Shooting your firearm during the act of a felony, especially if that action caused injury, might result in serious fines and penalties, including jail time.  Here are few charges you can expect to receive from the prosecutor’s office. Illegal Possession Unless your state has open carry laws, you must have a permit to keep a firearm on your person. The permit allows you to keep the weapon by your side in a concealed fashion in nearly every situation. Without it, you’re subject to receiving illegal possession of a firearm charges if you’re caught with a hidden gun. In addition, many felons are barred from carrying a firearm or other weapon of any kind. If you already have felony convictions against you, prosecutors will quickly add illegal possession to the current accusations. Illegal possession is usually a simple misdemeanor charge. Brandish Weapon The next step up from an illegal possession charge is brandishing a firearm during the act of a crime, especially a felony. If someone claims you threatened them with a firearm or pointed it at their direction, you could end up charged with brandishing a weapon. These charges even come up if you carelessly utilized the weapon in the company of others. Depending on the circumstances surrounding the charges, you could face either a misdemeanor or felony charge.   Discharge Firearm If responding offices find evidence of a weapon discharge at the crime scene, prosecutors will add firearm discharge claims to the list of crimes. You can also end up with this charge if witness accounts make that claim as well. If the bullets injured another person, the charges are usually upgraded to aggravated discharge, which usually carries a serious felony penalty. In addition, firing a weapon at a protected class, such as aid workers or police officers, increases the penalties considerably.   Fighting The Charges Talk to a criminal lawyer like Dunnigan & Messier P.C. to find a defense that works for your unique situation. Whether you committed the crime or not, your lawyer must find a way to fight against the charges brought up against you. Your lawyer may bring up similar cases with a positive outcome or provide an alibi proving you could not have committed the crime as stated. Furthermore, lawyers might challenge the findings by producing evidence that dismiss the claims. You can help this process along by providing your lawyer with complete answers to all questions asked during the consultation period and...

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You Have Joint Custody: Do You Have To Pay Child Support?

Posted by on Oct 14, 2014 in Blog | 0 comments

In the textbook divorce scenario one parent gets custody of the kids and the other parent pays child support. But divorcing couples are increasingly opting for some form of joint custody, where responsibility for raising the children is shared more equitably. This can sometimes mean neither spouse is ordered to make child support payments to the other, but not always. The court will consider the type of joint custody arrangement you have and the financial situation of both parents in deciding when child support is needed. Joint Legal Custody There are two types of joint custody agreements:  joint legal custody and joint physical custody.  Joint legal custody gives both parents the right to participate in making important decisions about the child’s upbringing, including decisions involving  medical care, education, and religion. These days unless there is good reason to deny a parent legal custody, it’s usually granted.  However, child support orders are not based on legal custody, but on physical custody. Joint Physical Custody Joint physical custody means that the parents will divide the child’s time between them, and the child will essentially “live” with both of them.  This type of agreement usually stipulates that both parents contribute equally to the child’s health care and educational expenses, as well as, activity fees. If both parents have comparable incomes, there is usually no custody order when they share physical custody. However child support may be ordered in cases where one parent’s income is significantly greater than the other’s or where the child’s time with each parent is not divided equally. Time and Money It’s really all about time, money, and flexibility. Child custody isn’t as cookie cutter as it used to be. You can create an agreement that works well for your family, even if it’s not like anyone else’s.  For instance, say you don’t want your child to have to live in two places during the school week. You may have a joint physical custody agreement that says one parent has the child during the school week but the other has the child every weekend and for most of the summer.  Maybe this equates to one parent having the child 40% of the time and the other having the child 60% of the time. The parent who has the child 40% of the time may be ordered to pay the other parent some child support to make up for the costs incurred during that extra time. The courts also try to ensure that children receive consistent care and support no matter which parent they are with. This sometimes means ordering child support in cases where one parent was the primary breadwinner in the family, and the other may have a much lower paying job. For more information, contact an attorney, like those at Nelson Law Group...

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What The IRS Doesn’t Want You To Know: 3 Overlooked Tax Benefits

Posted by on Oct 14, 2014 in Blog | 0 comments

Have you been wondering how to lower your tax liability? Of course you have. If this is the case, there are some tax credits and deductions that are often overlooked. This article will discuss some tax benefits that most people don’t know about. Charitable Donations Most people already know that when they donate money to charity, they can write it off as a deduction on their taxes. So why is it on the list? Because most people don’t know that expenses that you incur to provide assistance to a non-profit organization can also be deducted. Here’s an example. If you put on a picnic that is intended to raise money for your local charity, you might end up spending your own money on food, utensils, equipment rental, etc. You will be able to deduct the money you paid for these items. You can even deduct the amount spent on gas used to put the event together. If you tend to do a lot of volunteer work, this could give you a hefty tax break. Theft Obviously, this is something you never want to go through, but if your house is burglarized, you may be entitled to a tax deduction based on the amount of property that was stolen. This also applies to stolen vehicles. This is what is known as a casualty loss deduction. If this happens to you, then there are restrictions governing the amount of money you can deduct. You are able to deduct the amount of money that is over 10% of your annual income. If $4,000 worth of property is stolen and you make $35,000 annually, you will be able to deduct $500. In this case, it’s not a huge amount, but it can help you lower your tax bill. Lifelong Learning If you plan on brushing up on your job skills, you may be entitled to a tax credit. Returning to school can earn you a tax credit of up to $2,000 per year. This can involve any expenses related to tuition, books, and other school supplies. In some cases, there could be restrictions that are based upon your annual salary, the school you attend, and other components. Do the research first before you claim this credit. When you are doing your tax planning, don’t overlook any tax deductions that you may be entitled to. Speak with an experienced tax professional such as Cowan Digiacomo & Associates who can give you the guidance you...

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The Best Of Plans: Estate Planning Attorneys Help You Get Everything Right The First Time

Posted by on Oct 13, 2014 in Blog, Law | 0 comments

Have you been thinking about finally setting up your will, living trusts, and other estate documents? If so, you’ve no doubt seen the do-it-yourself kits that are available. These are very helpful for setting up basic documents in uncomplicated situations. However, if you have a more complicated life — a pending divorce, disabled dependents, and so on, or even just a very large estate — you should have a qualified estate planning attorney help you create the documents. If you don’t, your estate, heirs, and dependents could end up in a legal limbo that’s expensive and drawn out. Basic Plans Are Easy Many people set up trusts and other estate-planning features to avoid probate and to ensure the transfer of assets goes as smoothly as possible. For simple estates and situations where there are no planned changes, a basic living trust can easily protect assets from probate proceedings, for example. But Changes Are Not — and Can Have Consequences But if you want to change the document later on or know there will be changes, doing it yourself could end up being costly. For example, if you neglect to add new assets into a living trust, those assets have to go through probate, and that can make life more complicated for your heirs. Probate itself isn’t always bad, but the lawyer fees for taking care of the forms can take up a relatively large chunk of the estate. For example, Nolo law states that in California, a lawyer can charge a percentage of the value of the estate. Even though the percentages seem low, the resulting cash amount can be rather big. One example Nolo gives is of a $900,000 estate with $21,000 in lawyer fees. Even after all the bills and debts are paid, the lawyer would still get $21,000 for filling out just a few forms. That takes away a lot of money from the heirs. Ensuring your assets are in a living trust and avoiding probate is just one reason to have an estate planning attorney help you out. Another reason is that sometimes the trusts and other documents themselves aren’t so simple to set up. A special needs trust, for the care of disabled dependents after your death, doesn’t have any room for error — someone’s life quality depends on it. You’re much better off consulting with an attorney and spending the fees now than you are trying to set things up yourself — and then having to pay a lawyer to fix them later...

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Your Responsibilities Following A Car Accident

Posted by on Oct 13, 2014 in Blog | 0 comments

If you’re ever in a car accident, it’s important for you to know what your responsibilities are. The specific rules governing what you are legally required to do following an accident can vary from state to state, but the following advice will apply in most locales and situations. What You Should Do Immediately stop your vehicle when it is safe to do so. Make sure that you are not obstructing traffic if you can possibly avoid it. Find the other individuals involved in the accident, whether they’re pedestrians, drivers or passengers. Provide them with your name, phone number, address, driver’s license number, insurance information, vehicle registration and the name of the owner of the car (if you don’t own the car). Offer assistance to any injured parties, such as by contacting 911 and providing information to emergency responders. Keep in mind that (in many states) Good Samaritan laws protect you from legal liability if you choose to assist injured individuals. Contact law enforcement so they can send an officer to write up an accident report. This is particularly important if your accident involves serious injuries or death. If you have run into an unattended vehicle and damage it, you must leave a note containing your contact and insurance information. Place this in a secure and highly visible location, such as under the windshield wiper. Leaving an Accident Scene (Hit and Run) Leaving an accident scene without speaking to the other driver, contacting the authorities or at least leaving a note behind with your contact information is a crime in every state. The specifics of how this crime is treated vary from state to state, with it being a misdemeanor in some and a felony in others. Often, the severity of the accident also influences how it is classified. In some instances, you might receive punishments like community service, probation and be ordered to make restitution. But in many cases, there can be severe financial penalties running into the thousands of dollars. In addition, you might also be imprisoned for several years. If serious injuries or deaths result from the accident, the penalties for leaving the scene can be even higher. Beyond the above consequences involved in a hit-and-run accident, your driver’s license is probably going to be suspended or even revoked for a period of time. Even when you have your license back, you will have to pay significantly higher insurance premiums for the privilege of driving a car. In short, fleeing the scene of an accident would be an enormous mistake on your part. For more information, contact the Law Offices of Daniel Aaronson or a similar...

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