Hi, How Can We Help You?

Blog Posts

Contesting a Will

An estate planning lawyer can tell you that contesting a will may be unusual, but it is not unheard of. Under certain circumstances, the law allows for interested parties to contest a will. Many times, the risk of a will being contested can be minimized or eliminated with careful planning with the help of a knowledgeable estate planning lawyer. Call us today if you would like to discuss your concerns regarding a will, whether you are considering contesting one or would like to ensure that your will is unlikely to be contested.

 

Reasons for Contesting a Will

 

There are many reasons for why a person might wish to contest a will, though not all of them are legally recognized and so therefore do not have grounds for contesting a deceased’s will. For instance, just because you were friends with someone does not mean they were obliged to leave you money, even if they were affluent.

 

The deceased was not of sound mind and body when they wrote their will. The court understands that a person can be unduly influenced by others who wish to set themselves up to inherit assets, to the exclusion of others who otherwise would stand to inherit those assets. An estate planning lawyer can work with you to determine if there is sufficient evidence available to prove the deceased was not capable of understanding the consequences of what they wrote in their will.

 

The will is a forgery. An estate planning lawyer will have to present evidence that the will is forged and is therefore invalid. This usually requires the inclusion of testimony and documentation from experts such as handwriting analysts, archival document specialists, etc.

 

The will is not the latest will that the deceased left behind. If you and your estate planning lawyer can present a valid will that is more recent, you may be able to invalidate the previous will. If you have valid reasons for why you believe there is a more recent will though you have not yet located it, the currently recognized will can be held for a period of time as designated by a judge. However, this is only for a limited amount of time and will only delay the carrying out of the current will unless you can find a more recent version.

 

Protecting Your Will

 

With a clearly written will, possibly in conjunction with the use of other estate planning tools, we can help make sure that your heirs and others who are not included in the will, are not likely to have legal grounds for contesting your will. In the event that you need an attorney, like a wills and trusts lawyer Scottsdale, AZ relies on, do not hesitate to contact one to make sure you are in the best position to tackle your case.


 

Thank you to Arizona Estate Planning Attorneys for providing their insight and authoring this piece on estate planning.

Read More

What do when eligible for Parole

If you or someone you know is soon eligible for parole, then there are a few tips you should know to prepare you for this parole process. The first thing is to make sure you have an experienced attorney representing you throughout your parole hearings. The Kentucky Parole board gives you the opportunity to plead your case once you have served the minimum required of your sentence, but again its an opportunity, not a guarantee. You will need an experienced attorney that will be able to craft a good and convincing argument on your behalf that will sway the board to grant your parole with as little conditions, if any, as possible.

The Parole Board will be the group of persons that will hear your arguments, or any statements made on your behalf regarding your early or conditional release. Parole does not guarantee complete freedom, that depends on the circumstances surrounding your parole and the nature of your offense. For example, A child sex offender may get early release, but it will be conditioned upon a him being placed on the sex offender registry, not being able to live within a certain distance from schools or parks, notifying the registry whenever he/she moves. Again, having an experienced parole attorney is important because they will be able to better argue on your behalf to mitigate the nature or number of conditions that may be attached to your release.

You must also understand that Parole is not a right, but a privilege. It can never be a guaranteed thing and should be taken seriously. The board will take in to account numerous factors when determining your case, such as criminal history, conduct and achievements while time was being served, and maybe most importantly the offender’s plan upon release. Having a plan of what you are going to do upon release will show the board that you are ready to take the steps towards being acclimated back into society.

If you are denied parole, you do have a chance to have that decision changed by requesting an appellate review. The request must be in writing and submitted to the review board no later than twenty-one (21) days after the final disposition is made upon the offender. (Ky. Rev. Stat. Ann. 439.340). This process, is also not a guarantee. The board may only grant a review for a limited number of reasons.

  • If there is an allegation of misconduct by a board member
  • If there is a significant procedural error made by a board member
  • If there is significant new evidence in your case that was not available at the initial hearing.

If you plan to appeal a parole board decision be sure that you are well equipped for what may happen next. There will be a significant burden placed on you to prove that you deserve an appellate review of your case. Make sure that you have an experienced attorney present with you during this process to ensure that you have all the documentation that will be needed for this step such as the criminal defense lawyer Newport KY locals turn to.

 

 

Thanks to authors at James Noll for their insight into Criminal Defense Law.

Read More

Three Ways to Protect Your Personal Injury Settlement in a Divorce

Couples file for divorce for numerous reasons: adultery, cruelty, and disconnect. Laws regarding divorce vary by state, though some courts will grant a divorce on the grounds of irreconcilable differences, irretrievable destruction of the marriage or simply incompatibility.

Besides the inevitable heartbreak, the most significant issues resulting from divorce include:

  1. Alimony payments.
  2. Custody and visitation arrangements as well as child support payment schedules.
  3. Division of property can lead to issues in an otherwise smooth divorce proceeding. Courts usually ponder a few factors when discussing dividing property:
    1. Presence or lack of a prenuptial agreement.
    2. Property acquired prior to marriage.
    3. Each spouse’s individual contributions to the joint estate.

Personal Injury Settlements and Divorce

A personal settlement awarded during divorce proceedings may become contested property. Several criteria are considered by the court to decide whether an asset should be considered marital or nonmarital. This is how it is usually considered:

  • Whether the divorcing couple in a state favoring community property or equitable distribution.
  • Some courts designate personal injury settlements as the property only of the individual it was awarded to.
  • Sometimes the settlement gets broken down to determine how much each spouse should get and how much the personal injury victim can keep without sharing with their spouse.

The best way to prepare for any of these scenarios is to consult a divorce law attorney. They can provide insight into how the court will handle your settlement award.  

 

Three Methods to Protect Your Personal Injury Settlement in Divorce

  1. Get spousal consent to not claim all or a portion of your settlement. Especially if you live in a community property state, it is important to get the spousal consent in writing, dated, signed and notarized for legal purposes. This document can be incredibly valuable to you if the divorce becomes contentious.  
  2. You could open a separate bank account for the award of your personal injury settlement. In some jurisdictions, the award will be considered marital if you deposit it into a joint checking account. Keep your award in the separate account until the court has made a decision regarding asset distribution or when the divorce is finalized.
  3. Differentiate what percentage of your awarded damages belongs to you or your spouse and consider a Maryland personal injury lawyer’s guidance in discussing your asset distribution and personal injury claim.

 

Your divorce attorney is your best asset during proceedings. They can best advise you on your unique circumstances regarding your personal injury settlement and your asset distribution.


Thanks to our friends and contributors from the Law Firm of Frederick J. Brynn for their insight into personal injury practice.

 

Read More

What Is Business Law?

Understanding legal aspects of business is the first step to success for any company. Business law refers to the regulations governing many aspects of running a company including these areas:

  • Sales
  • Taxes
  • Employment
  • Succession
  • Business operations
  • Bankruptcy

Hiring an attorney to help you with the transactional work is a good way to avoid possible litigation by complying with applicable business laws. While business regulations may differ from one state to another or from one country to another, here are some common universal business laws that will apply to your business:

  • Employment and Labor Law

Employees may be a critical component of your business. Labor laws require you to comply with minimum salaries and wages, overtime rules, child labor bans, and maintaining personnel records.

  • Workplace Safety and Health Law

Providing a safe work space free from hazards is not only a right for your employees, but it is essential for business success. We can help you access competent business attorneys who will help you develop company policies to meet compliance.

  • Finance Law

Finance is the heart of business. Financial laws are meant to protect your business, customers, and investors should your business be forced to file for bankruptcy.

  • Privacy Law

The law requires that any business that collects sensitive information about their customers should ensure confidentiality by putting in place a sound security plan. Privacy laws can also affect employee-employer relationships as well. If an issue about privacy or the legalities surrounding this area, seek the trusted guidance of an business law attorney.

  • Intellectual Property Law

Protecting the intellectual property of your business is essential. Left unprotected you leave your company vulnerable to competitors and unscrupulous parties. Do you have a great product or idea? File for a patent to protect it. You can also apply for a trademark to protect your company’s business name, symbols, and logos. A business law attorney can draw up and file the necessary paperwork on your behalf.

  • Advertising and Marketing Law

Effective advertising and marketing is key for any successful business. However, commercial companies are expected to provide “truth in advertising.” A business is legally required to be truthful in advertising and marketing claims.

  • Online Business Law

The internet provides enormous opportunities for your business to make sales and generate revenue. There are also laws which regulate this space, some of which are in flux. When meeting with a business lawyer, discuss which laws that focus on online Internet sales might affect your company.

Understanding business law is important for every company but not everyone has a mind for the complexities of law. However, even mistakenly breaking a law still leaves an individual or a company vulnerable to repercussions. This can include fines or even jail time. There many benefits that can be obtained by seeking the appropriate legal counsel. If you need help, reach out to an experienced business lawyer today such as the top business formation lawyer Folsom CA locals know.

Thanks to authors at Yee Law Group PLLC for their insight into Business Law.

Read More

The Severity of a DUI

Driving under the Influence is never a wise choice. Many people who have been charged with DUIs were not aware that they had overindulged. Having a few cocktails after work may seem completely innocent, but if you aren’t careful, there can be a number of consequences. A DUI can range in severity depending on the factors at play and how many offenses you have on your record. An attorney who has experience in representing people who have been charged with DUIs may be helpful during this trying time. A DUI can result in a range of emotions that include: shame, guilt, sadness and anxiety. An attorney will be helpful in supporting you through the court system so that you are able to move forward with your life.  If you are charged with a drinking and driving related offense, you should contact an experienced DUI lawyer as soon as possible. Successfully defending these cases requires immediate action.

Unexpected Impacts of a DUI
It can be nerve wracking to sit with a DUI charge. It’s likely that you will have a number of questions when it comes to how the DUI will impact your life once the legal process is complete. Working with an attorney may be helpful as they can outline for you the unexpected elements to a DUI. There will be a number of unknowns, which will likely leave you feeling lost in terms of what you should expect. Aside from the traditional consequences a person may experience through the court system, there may also be other ramifications. The following outlines the hidden consequences to a DUI charge:

A DUI conviction will show up in a background check conducted by a current or potential employer. This could impact your ability to gain employment or maintain your current job.
Your auto insurance can sky rocket from a DUI conviction. In some cases, rates can double as a result.
The Motor Vehicle Administration can suspend or revoke your license, could force you to have an ignition interlock installed, or severely limit when and where you are able to drive.
Your reputation could be impacted. If you are charged with a DUI, the information will be made available to the public. Receiving a DUI is not something that anyone is proud of. The last thing you want is to have this information on display to people in your community.

Unfortunately, a DUI charge has the ability to haunt you for quite some time. This can be frustrating if you have already paid the consequences through the legal system. An attorney will be vital in helping you to learn all that lies ahead in the event you have been charged with a DUI.

DUIs Range in Severity
The consequences of a DUI are contingent upon a number of factors like the number of offenses you have on your record. Hiring an experienced DUI attorney is very important if you have been charged with a DUI, especially if this is not your first infraction. Depending on how many DUIs you have had, there are a variety of consequences you could face:

Jail Time
Suspension of Your License
Permanent Loss of Your License
Permanent Mark on Your Record
Heavy Fines (This ranges depending on whether this is your first charge)
Required to attend alcohol education courses

A DUI charge is the last thing that you should have to face alone. Contact a DUI attorney who can help represent you and advocate for you throughout the legal process.


 

 

Read More

“Force” in Allegations of Child Sexual Abuse

The district attorney is often not required to show proof that physical force was used when prosecuting allegations of child sexual abuse.  This is important because a potential response to these types of allegations is that the alleged victim initiated and participated in the sexual activity – no force was used. However, depending on the particular charges the accused person is facing, the prosecutor may not be required to show force at all.  And, even if there is a required showing of force, it can be very minimal.

In many instances there is no requirement of force when a person is accused of a sex crime against a child.  For example, in most jurisdictions, there is no requirement that force be used in order to substantiate or prove a charge of child molestation, statutory rape or aggravated child molestation.  With these types of charges, the prosecutor only need show that the alleged act (the touching or sexual contact) occurred, that sexual gratification was involved, and the age of the alleged victim.  

With these types of charges, if the alleged victim is below the legal age of consent, there is often no requirement to show that the alleged acts involved force, as a Decatur criminal lawyer can explain.  For example, if a twenty-year-old is alleged to have had sex with a fourteen-year-old, in many jurisdictions this can be charged as child molestation or statutory rape.  There is often no additional requirement that the fourteen-year-old was “forced” to participate in the act. In other words, a person could possibly be convicted of child molestation or statutory rape even if the alleged victim willingly participated in or even initiated the sexual contact.  This is because, according to the law, a person under the age a certain age (typically fourteen or sixteen, depending on the jurisdiction) is incapable of giving consent to sexual activity.

A common exception to this is the charge of forcible rape.  In Georgia for example, before a person can be convicted of rape the prosecution must show proof that force was used.  This additional requirement applies even if the alleged victim is below the legal age of consent. So, in order for the prosecution to successfully prosecute a charge of rape there must be some showing of force.  

However, even in these instances, the law often allows a very broad interpretation of what constitutes force.  Physical force is often not required. Even verbal threats can constitute force. Also, even under this exception, if the child is extremely young (ten years old or younger), force will be assumed and the prosecutor does not need to prove it by showing specific acts or threats.


Thanks to our friends and contributors from Andrew R. Lynch, P.C. for their insight into criminal charges.

Read More

Post-Conviction Petitions

The law of most states and the federal government provides a means for prisoners and those under court supervision to challenge the legality of their convictions, even after their direct appeals have been exhausted, as a criminal defense lawyer Rockville MD trusts.

For many years, this kind of challenge was made under the title of habeas corpus. Although habeas corpus still exists in Maryland, in the late 1950s the state legislature consolidated a number of existing remedies into one unified statute, the Uniform Post Conviction Procedures Act (“UPPA”). Although the UPPA did not create any new rights or remedies,  it did change the procedures by which those rights would be litigated. Over the years, the law has been amended a number of times, and the courts have interpreted the Act.

An inmate seeking to challenge his conviction must file a petition for post-conviction relief with the circuit court in the county where the trial took place. There are a number of rules that have been promulgated by the courts that set out the requirements of what must be stated in the petition. Among other things, the petition must state the name and identification number of the prisoner, where he or she is being held, and specify the issues that the inmate wants the court to address.

An inmate can address a number of issues in a post-conviction petition, such as constitutional violations that may have occurred at the trial (e.g., violations of Double Jeopardy, or the Confrontation Clause), but the most common allegation is that the inmate received ineffective assistance of counsel. Almost any error that occurred at a trial can be framed in terms of ineffective assistance of counsel since an attorney is supposed to object when the correct legal procedures are not observed by the court. If the court does something it shouldn’t do, or fails to do something it should have done, the attorney is supposed to object. Thus, post-conviction proceedings frequently raise a wide range of errors made by the court in areas such as admission of inappropriate evidence, improper jury instructions, and prosecutorial misconduct. Another frequent complaint is the failure of trial counsel to properly investigate and prepare for trial. Many inmates complain that they only saw their attorneys once or twice before trial, and the attorney seemed unaware of the facts of the case.

A court is required to hold a hearing on a post-conviction petition. It cannot simply deny it without a hearing. A court is also required by the UPPA to issue a written decision addressing each of the issues raised in a post-conviction petition. If a court doesn’t do so, this is grounds for reversal on appeal. For this reason, decisions on post-conviction proceedings sometimes take months to be issued. They also, typically, take many months or in some cases years before they come to a hearing. Some of the courts are very slow at scheduling post-conviction cases.

Statistically, a post-conviction proceeding is almost always an uphill battle. Most inmates do not receive the relief that they seek. Judges tend to uphold the status quo. However, some petitioners do manage to beat the odds, usually by great effort and involvement in their cases. They study the law, review their transcripts, and persevere in their struggle to regain their freedom.


Thanks to our friends and contributors from Law Office of Daniel J. Wright for their insight into post-conviction petitions.

Read More

Should One Attorney Represent Two or More Persons Forming a New Business

Attorneys representing Idaho clients must not only adhere to the legal requirements that apply to all Idaho citizens, but must also follow the ethics rules that apply to attorneys. These rules are known as the Idaho Rules of Professional Responsibility Conduct. Failure to follow these rules can result in an attorney being disbarred. Among these rules are provisions that forbid an attorney from representing a client where it would pose a conflict of interest with another client.

For more comprehensive answers to your legal questions, contact a business litigation lawyer business owners can rely on.

For example, assume attorney John Smith is approached by a landlord to evict a tenant (Mary Smith) for non-payment of rent. If attorney Smith is presently representing Smith in a personal injury case, Smith must reject the potential landlord/tenant case even these cases involve different areas of law. An attorney is strictly barred from suing an existing client.

Under certain circumstances, Idaho Bar rules also forbid an attorney from representing two or more persons at the same time, even if these persons are not suing each other. For example, if two neighbors are fighting over the location of a fence line for their properties, it would normally be a conflict of interest for one attorney to represent both of them. However, this rule would not prevent the attorney from acting as a Mediator, hired to act as a neutral to help two or more parties to resolve their differences.

Nevertheless, the Idaho Bar rules do permit an attorney to represent multiple persons if this can be done in a way that does not prejudice any of the interests of these persons. For example, a portion of Rule 1.7 contains the following language:

“For example, a lawyer may not represent multiple parties to a negotiation whose interests are fundamentally antagonistic to each other, but common representation is permissible where the clients are generally aligned in interest even though there is some difference in interest among them. Thus, a lawyer may seek to establish or adjust a relationship between clients on an amicable and mutually advantageous basis; for example, in helping to organize a business in which two or more clients are entrepreneurs, working out the financial reorganization of an enterprise in which two or more clients have an interest or arranging a property distribution in settlement of an estate. The lawyer seeks to resolve potentially adverse interests by developing the parties’ mutual interests. Otherwise, each party might have to obtain separate representation, with the possibility of incurring additional cost, complication or even litigation. Given these and other relevant factors, the clients may prefer that the lawyer act for all of them.

But, because dual representation is permitted, does that always mean that it is wise? Short answer – No.

For example, assume Patricia Greene and Rose Johnson wish to form a partnership to start a catering business. Assume that Greene is a wealthy person and Johnson has more modest financial means. Under the Idaho laws of partnership, both partners can be held liability for debts and liabilities of the partnership. This fact means that Johnson may have little to lose if the business fails, but Greene could put at risk her entire fortune. Under these circumstances it would be more product for the two women to have separate attorneys representing them in forming the partnership.

Read More

Information to Prepare You for Child Custody Case

In the event that someone is facing a custody case of their child, often turn to the legal services of a child custody attorney to represent their case. Firms have proudly built a legal portfolio, and have helped many clients get to a place of peace and acceptance during such an emotionally trying time.

In order to properly prepare you for what is to come, we have listed some questions and answers that may help you during the child custody trial. However, we highly recommend seeking a child custody attorney, so you have a professional to represent you during the proceedings. Standing alone may be detrimental to your case.

What May a Judge Take into Consideration when Deciding Custody?

  • If there is a child preference as to which parent they live with
  • If there is a history of drug addiction and/or abuse
  • If there is a history of domestic violence in the home
  • Which parent encourages regular visits by the other parent

What are the Types of Child Custody?

Joint Custody: Both parents make decisions when it comes to the welfare and wellness of their children.

Sole Custody: One parent is assigned the primary role of making decisions for the welfare and wellness of their children.

What Kinds of Decisions Will the Parent Holding Custody Make?

  • Activities and/or groups they will participate in outside of school (camps, sports, travel, vacations, etc.)
  • Where they will go to school or for child daycare
  • Who their children’s primary doctors will be (dentists, physician, therapist, etc.)
  • Where the children will be living

Why Should I Hire a Child Custody Attorney?

  • Legal Experience: You will have a kind and understanding, yet knowledgeable professional who can assist with every step of the trial. Choosing a child custody attorney such as the child custody lawyer Phoenix AZ locals turn tomay be able to make the process easier for you.
  • Honest & Straightforward: We can aim to protect your assets, strive to maintain strong communication, and work for the resolutions you are hoping for.
  • Objective Party: This may be a very emotionally upsetting time for you, and we can offer legal words of wisdom when you feel confused and frustrated. We can work for your best interest and future.

Finding the right attorney is key to winning your case, and we believe a member of our legal team can offer you the service you are looking for in your child custody case.

 

Thanks to authors at The Hildebrand Law Office for their insight into Family Law.

Read More

Child Support: Family Comes First

Making sure that you have reasonable financial support in order to properly care for your child after divorce or separation, is of the utmost priority for many parents. If you are filing for support from your former spouse, we highly recommend seeking a child support attorney for a case evaluation such as the . We can talk with you more about your specific needs and how we may be of assistance during the child support case process.  

Child Support attorneys work tirelessly to award you the maximum child support possible, in order to allow you to take the best care of your child or children.

A judge can determine whether to grant you child support and exactly how much is due from your spouse on a recurring basis. The factors that may be involved in the judge’s decision may include the following:

1) Annual Income of Parents – a formula may be used to determine the financial obligation of the non-custodial parent. In this scenario, income is defined as a combination of the parent’s salary, pension, trust/estate and social security payments.

2) Yearly Expenses – the yearly expenses of each parent can play a role when calculating child support. Sometimes, the non-custodial parent may try to spend more money in order to prevent from having to pay more in child support. An attorney can help determine if this may be the case for you.

3) Needs of Children – a primary factor is how much will provide cost of basic needs and a comfort of living for your children.

4) Ages of Children – depending on their age, children will have different needs. The amount of child support may fluctuate depending on their stage of life and growth.

5) Education & Interests – a child may have education opportunities or interests (such as music, sports, dance) that require fees or cost for special clothing.

6) Health Insurance – a large factor is the cost of health insurance for the child, and which parent is able to provide coverage. A judge may determine how much each parent will have to contribute to the costs of medical care.

Children can become silent victims to their parent’s separation. By hiring a child support attorney such as the child custody lawyer Bloomington IL locals turn to, they can fight for a financial amount that will support your child, plus some. We believe family is the biggest priority. We want to see you and your children happy and healthy, due to sufficient support from your previous partner. If things change and you need more help, we can offer counsel on how you can go about submitting this request for an increase in support amount.

 

Thanks to authors at Pioletti & Pioletti for their insight into Family Law.

Read More

I have a mentally disabled child and he/she reaching the age 18.

        As any concerned parent, you are worried what is going to happen to your kid once he/age gets eighteen. Most parents worry that their kid may leave home, not continue education, may not get a job, and/or may get into a legal trouble. But, as a parent of a mentally disabled child that is reaching the age eighteen, your concern is how am I going to take care of my daughter or son? Will the school let my son continue with education? Will the doctor continue treating my daughter knowing she may be incapable to consent? An attorney, like a family law lawyer Texas trusts, understands how stressful these questions can be.

        If you have any of these concerns, you have options.

  1. Guardianship: Guardianship is typically over a child or an individual that has become incapacitated due to a disability or age. A parent is considered an automatic guardian over his/her child. A guardianship by the Courts is not necessary. It’s when the child becomes a legal adult at the age of eighteen (18) is when a guardianship is necessary. A Court in power has to give you the authority to be a guardian over another person, even your own son or daughter. Guardianship comes in two forms – over the person, and/or the estate. A parent or applicant has to file an application with the Court. The application requires the applicant to take the proposed disable person to a doctor that will provide a certified medical examination report which will be submitted to the Court. The Court will appoint an attorney ad litem that will represent the proposed disabled person’s rights. The Court will then evaluate everyone’s position and decide if a guardianship is suitable in a particular matter or not.
  2. Medical and/or Durable Power of Attorney: If your adult child is physically disabled but otherwise able to provide legal consent, the Court may not grant a guardianship. But to make things easier on yourself or your adult child, the adult child may sign a medical power of attorney to allow you to make decision about his/her medical treatment. Same for durable power of attorney. If your adult child is able to legally consent, he/she may grant you the power to handle his/her legal, monetary, and physical affairs via a durable power of attorney.

        If you have a mentally or physically disabled son or daughter nearing the age of 18 and you would like to discuss the options available in depth, contact a lawyer today.

 

Thanks to our friends and contributors from Brandy Austin Law Firm, PLLC for their insight into  guardianship and family law.

Read More

How Can Being Under the Influence Impact Your Criminal Charges?

When a person is impaired or intoxicated, it is likely that they may make some pretty bad decisions due to lowered inhibitions. Being under the influence can result in a diminished mental capacity that could impact the likelihood that a person intentionally committed a crime. Being intoxicated when a crime is committed is not a solid enough defense by itself. However, in situations where a person is killed without forethought or premeditation, manslaughter may be an appropriate charge. For example, if a drunk driver were to hit and kill another person, the result may be manslaughter, which is murder charge of a lesser degree.  Although a manslaughter charge is serious, the repercussions are far less than a first-degree murder charge. Meaning, a first-degree murder charge could result in death penalty whereas manslaughter charge does not. There are two types of manslaughter:

  • Voluntary: is when a person claims that they were justified in the crime that they committed. For example, when a person claims self defense against their attacker.
  • Involuntary: is when a person is killed unintentionally due to the criminal negligence of another.  For example, if a person is driving while intoxicated and hits a person crossing the street.

Reasonable Doubt

The prosecution must be able to prove that a person is guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. This means that they must be able to convince the jury that a person is guilty based on the case that they present. In most states, an attorney may use the involuntary intoxication defense if you committed a crime when you were under the influence of drugs or alcohol involuntarily. The drawback is that it can be challenging to prove that someone was under the influence against his or her own accord. Examples include:

  • The unknowing consumption of drugs or alcohol
  • Being forced to take drugs or alcohol

Voluntary intoxication is when someone knowingly and intentionally consumes drugs and/or alcohol. This type of defense alone is usually not successful in discharging criminal liability.

If you have committed a crime and are in need of legal representation, contact a criminal attorney today such as the Criminal Offenses Attorney MD locals turn to. They may be able to help in an outcome that results in a lesser sentence. Accessing their knowledge will be vital when learning specific details as the laws around intoxication and criminal defense can vary depending on the state you live.

 

Thanks to authors at The Law Offices of Frederick J. Brynn PLC for their insight into Criminal Law.

Read More

Infractions, misdemeanor, felony, what is the difference?

 

Infraction

Infractions are the least serious type of crime a person can commit, they are only punishable by fine. They typically occur when a law enforcement officer sees someone doing something wrong, write a ticket and hand it to the person. The person then must pay a fine for whatever action this might have been. Infractions usually involve little to no time in court (much less jail), and include things like traffic tickets, littering, walking your dog without a leash, jaywalking, and some minor drug possession charges in some states. However, if infractions remain unaddressed or unpaid, the law typically provides for an increasing range of fines and potential penalties. It is always advised to consult a Criminal defense lawyer Arlington, TX trusts to determine what else you need to do to address any infractions on your record.

Misdemeanor

Misdemeanors are more serious than infractions. They are usually defined as a crime which is punishable by up to a year in jail time. Sometimes that jail time is served in a local county jail instead of a high security prison. Other states define a misdemeanor as a crime that is not a felony or an infraction. Prosecutors generally have a great degree of flexibility in deciding what crimes to charge, how to punish them, and what kinds of plea bargains to negotiate. Depending on the crime committed, there are different levels to measure the punishment. Misdemeanors are typically put into three categories class C, B, and A. Class C misdemeanor is the lowest, punishable only by a maximum fine of $500 with no jail time in Texas. Class B is punishable with a maximum $2000 fine and up 180 days in county jail. Lastly, a class A misdemeanor is punishable with a maximum $4000 fine and up to a year in county jail.

Felony

Felonies are the most serious types of crimes. They are usually defined by the fact that they are punishable by prison sentences of greater than one year. Since the punishments can be so severe, courtroom procedure must be strictly observed so that the defendants’ rights stay protected. Felonies are usually crimes that are viewed severely by society, and include crimes such as murder, rape, burglary, kidnapping, or arson. However, felonies can also be punished in a range of ways so that the punishment matches the severity of the crime. Felony crimes are categorized to five different levels: capital punishments, first degree, second degree, third degree and state jail. Capital punishment is the death sentence which is used in the Texas criminal justice system. If the defendant was a juvenile at the time the crime was committed and the prosecutor chooses not to seek the death penalty, then a capital felony is punishable by life imprisonment if convicted. The first-degree felony can result in life imprisonment or five to 99 years’ imprisonment, as well as a fine of up to $10,000 if convicted. Second degree can be punishable by two to 20 years in prison, and a fine of up to $10,000 if convicted. Third degree felonies can punishable by two to ten years’ imprisonment and a fine of up to $10,000 if convicted. Lastly, state jail felony in Texas are punishable by 180 days to two years in state jail and a fine of up to $10,000.

 

Thank you to our friends and contributors, Brandy Austin Law, for their insights into criminal defense.

 

Read More

Job Hunting During Divorce

 

Job hunting during divorce can be a result of job loss as well as the desire to make more money and be better able to afford life after divorce. Whether you have suddenly become unemployed or are thinking about making more money for the future, job hunting during your divorce can lead to more anxiety, time and expense if your change of employment.

 

Employment decisions can affect your divorce case

Job hunting during divorce could lead to extra time and resources spent setting things back on course when you change jobs. If a temporary hearing has already taken place, the issues of income, support and child custody might be affected by a significant change in circumstances. The temporary orders in your divorce case might need to be adjusted with a job change which can cost you time and money.

 

Employee benefits such as health insurance are aspects of divorce financials and the division of responsibility between parents with children. If you are job hunting and considering offers that no longer offer health insurance, you may be required to pay out of pocket if your divorce judge orders you to maintain coverage on your soon to be former spouse and for your children.

Where is the new job located? Is it within the geographical area your divorce judge expects you to be? If the new job is far away or in another state, you may need permission from the court to move with children.

 

The impact of major employment decisions during divorce

It might be a wise idea to postpone a job hunt until after a divorce several reasons. First, the pressure and anxiety and during a divorce proceeding may affect judgment and emotions. It may be better to make major decisions about changing employment when there are not already major life events taking place.

 

Maintaining the status quo during divorce and when children are involved, not disrupting them, is important in the eyes of the family law court that may be compelled to make important decisions about parenting and the best interest of the child.

 

Even if you are unemployed during your divorce, it might not be the best time to look for new work. Your attorney, like a divorce attorney Collin County, TX relies on, can seek interim attorney’s fees and costs to help you pay for the divorce and you may be able to receive temporary and permanent financial support depending on the facts and circumstances of your case. Seeking the advice of your divorce and family law attorney about job hunting during divorce is recommended.


Thanks to our friends and contributors from Scroggins Family Law for their insight into job hunting during divorce.

 

Read More

The Importance of Having a Will in Place

Many believe that they do not need to have a will in place because their financial situation may not appear to be one that warrants division of assets. This is a common myth of estate planning, you do not need to be wealthy to put a will in place. The following outlines some of the most important reasons writing a will is vital to ensuring that your final wishes are handled in the way you would like.

Appointing an Executor

You will not be able to have a voice in who will be appointed as your estate executor if you die without a will in place. Putting a will in place before you pass away will ensure that the person you would like to carry out your final wishes and abide by the laws within your state is appointed as executor of your estate.

Your Children

One of the primary reasons for creating a will if you have children is to determine a plan of care for them in the event that you pass away. You will be able to appoint a guardian to care for your children which will ensure that the wrong person does not assume this responsibility. If you have children, a guardian may be appointed by the court if you do not have a will in place.    

Beneficiaries

Determining who will benefit from your assets, will help mitigate contentious family arguments over your estate. When distributing your estate, you will also be able to indicate who you would not like to receive your assets. This will prevent people who should not receive portions of your estate from contesting your will.

Donations

If you would like to ensure that your legacy lives on in a philanthropic way, you can outline in your estate plan recipients of charitable gifts or donations.

Estate Taxes

You estate’s value will diminish when you distribute assets to charities, family and friends. This will ensure that beneficiaries do not have to pay as high of taxes.

Help Things Run Smoothly

It can be stressful for family grieving the loss of a loved one to be hit with the stressors of lawyer fees and funeral bills. While a family is grieving, having a will in place will protect your family from having to manage legal and financial issues.

Putting a will together will make sure that your assets are divided to your loved ones and distributed to them in the way that you would like. Contact an estate planning lawyer O’Fallon MO citizens trust to schedule an initial consultation if you have been considering writing a will.

 


Thanks to our friends and contributors from Legacy Law Center for their insight into estate planning.

 

Read More