Associated Charges with a DWI Charge

Sep 09

Most of the time, the charging process in a DWI case is relatively simple. However, sometimes the circumstances surrounding the DWI charge may lead a prosecutor to tack on additional charges. These charges can complicate your case, and add on even more fines and potential jail time.

If you’ve had additional charges stacked upon your original DWI charge, you should attempt to educate yourself as much as possible about your situation.

A Quick Note..

Always remember that the particular laws and rules surrounding a DWI charge vary from state to state. This post will discuss the law in the most general sense possible, but don’t forget to look at the exact laws in the county in which you are being tried.

Child Endangerment

This charge can get stacked up on a regular DWI charge if a child under a certain age was with you in the car at the time of the arrest. This is because, in addition to putting your own life in danger as well as others on the road, you are directly putting a child in danger by having them in the car with you as you are driving while intoxicated.

The penalties for a child endangerment charge can be very stiff. In Texas, for example, the charge could result in a fine all the way up to 10,000 dollars, up to two years in jail, and the suspension of your license for over 180 days.

However, these aren’t the only repercussions you may be facing. A child endangerment conviction could launch investigations, such as an investigation from Child Protective Services (CPS) and other agencies. If you are in the middle of a divorce, the charge could be mentioned in a custody battle, and your partner could launch a civil suit against you.

Obstruction of Highway

This charge usually comes about because the prosecutor does not believe they have enough evidence to charge you with Driving While Intoxicated. This charge will likely be offered to you during the plea-bargaining stage as it has less severe penalties than a regular DWI charge. However, this charge still comes with criminal penalties and will result in the creation of a criminal record.

This offer likely means that the prosecutor believes they do not have enough evidence to convict you of a DWI, so it may be better for you to fight the charge in court and avoid having a criminal record altogether.

What to Do

In the event that you are being met with any of these charges, contact a criminal defense law firm like Alexander & Associates immediately. An attorney is the person best equipped to represent you in court and help you get the charges dropped. A DWI conviction can have a devastating impact on your reputation, finances, and employment, so it is best to have an experienced fighter on your side.

While it may seem tempting to save money, do not attempt to represent yourself. Reach out to an attorney with the expertise to help you.

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The Key to a Great Road Trip

Jun 17

Road trips can either be an exciting adventure or a monotonous ride from point A to point B. If you and all your friends pile into the car for a cross-country trip, you’re probably going to have a great time, but if you’re moving all of your stuff across the state, it’s likely a boring trip. If you find yourself bored to tears on your road trip, here are a few tips to make your journey a little more enjoyable.

  • Create a great playlist.

Fun music is bound to help you kill the time. Plus, if you’re alone, no one is going to complain about your singing! Keep the music relatively fast-paced, songs that go at a slower tempo can make the drive seem like a drag. A playlist that is full of songs you can dance to guarantees that you’ll have a good time.

  • Plan out rest stops.

It might be tempting to try and power through the drive, but as they say, life is about the journey and not the destination. Stop and see some landmarks! While you do this, take about 15-20 minutes to walk around and stretch. If you keep the blood flowing, you’ll likely feel recharged and energized when you get back behind the wheel. This is also a good time to refuel your car and load up on snacks for the rest of the trip.

  • Get a good night’s sleep the day before.

You can drink all the coffee in the world and take plenty of breaks, but nothing will prepare you for a long-haul drive better than a good amount of shut-eye. You’re setting yourself up to be miserable the next day if you don’t sleep at least seven hours the night before. Do yourself a favor and get in some quality sleep before you set out on the trip.

All of these tips will take an otherwise-bland trip into a day of fun. Not only this, but it’ll keep you and those around you safe. Fatigued driving is a major cause of car accidents, and if you don’t take proper precautions, you run a major risk of causing one. Sadly, just because you take proper precautions doesn’t mean other drivers on the road will.

If you find yourself the victim of a car accident at the hands of a fatigued driver, contact an attorney that can help. Hammack Law Firm is a firm in the Greenville area that’s familiar with these types of accidents. Medical bills and lost wages can quickly spiral out of control, and another driver’s lack of planning shouldn’t ruin you financially.

Reach out to the resources available to you and fight for the settlement you deserve. Car trips are supposed to be adventures, no matter how mundane they must seem at first. Don’t let one irresponsible driver make it so that you can’t go back out on the road. See what type of settlement you can get you can heal and be on the road again in no time.

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Motorcycle Accident Lawyers

Feb 02

I’ve been riding motorcycles for more than twenty years. My dad first introduced them to me as a teenager, and I bought my first right after finishing college. Since then, my dad and I have been on multiple cross country trips together. We don’t live in the same city anymore, but we love to get together and spend an afternoon riding during the holidays. When you’re on the road so much, you think about the risk of getting into an accident from time to time. I’m fully aware of how dangerous motorcycles can be. Just about every wreck situation is going to leave the motorcyclist with severe injuries. I figure that if I get into a wreck, I likely won’t be an exception. I’m getting older and my body doesn’t hold up like it used to. Because just about every motorcycle wreck results in injuries, I assumed that an accident would be really simple in a courthouse. If my injuries are visible just by looking at me, why wouldn’t a jury rule that I deserve some compensation for them? I just found out about the reality of the situation while I was reading on the Russo, Russo, & Slania website. The attorneys at this firm handle cases specifically for people in motorcycle accidents.

We’ve all seen the motorcyclist on the road that drives as if he’s the most important person in the world. For every safe motorcyclist, there’s one of these annoying ones. They swerve through traffic, speed, and are just generally inconsiderate of everyone else around them. These drivers give the rest of us a bad reputation. This reputation can carry into court. In a jury setting, some members might assume that my injuries are my own fault. That’s simple enough to accept. It just makes it even more important to retain a lawyer if I ever do find myself in that situation.

Lawyers have the ability to explain complicated things in a simple and understandable way. There are technical aspects to driving a motorcycle. There are even more technical aspects to proving fault, and I can’t explain any of that to a jury in a convincing way. Attorneys can speak on what it looks like to drive safely and considerately as a motorcyclist. They can also illustrate how the responsible driver was negligent towards me and how they are truly at fault.

These are crucial things for motorcyclists to think about. The attorneys at Russo, Russo, & Slania, P.C., work with motorcycle crash victims all the time. They know how to get them a fair settlement that covers their expenses. Motorcycle crashes cause injuries that are more intense and expensive than wrecks between two cars. There’s just no way around it. If a motorcycle crashes with a moving vehicle, they’re just about guaranteed to be sent flying into the air. This is going to cause broken bones and lots of blunt force trauma. If they aren’t sent flying, they’re going to be pushed to the ground, moving at a very high speed. This is going to result in some nasty road burns, even with protective clothing on.

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Wrongful Death Damages

Jun 16

When someone who is loved dies at the hands of a reckless individual, it is up to the family to seek justice. Although it is normal for surviving family members to hesitate before filing a lawsuit, it may be the only way to hold the other party accountable. Nothing will be able to correct the terrible events that took place, but financial compensation can at least ease the burden moving forward. Whether you are facing a personal injury lawsuit or in need of an attorney to hold someone else responsible for their negligent actions, it is a good idea to understand the types of damages that can be awarded in a wrongful death lawsuit.

What Are Damages?

The term “damages” refers to the amount of financial compensation the guilty party owes to the grieving family, and it is an amount determined by the judge and possibly a jury. No amount of money can equate to a human life, but some cases cary steeper financial awards than others. For instance, if an adult family member who earns a considerable portion of the family’s income is killed, the law is more likely to award more money than if a young child meets the same fate. This is largely because of the greater financial burden that is now placed on the surviving family members who were dependent on that person’s contribution to afford things like food, medicine, and education.

Damages Awarded in a Wrongful Death Lawsuit

Each wrongful death case is different and complex, and it will be up to your lawyer’s ability to calculate the amount of damages that should be argued before the judge. The amount of damages is determined by the following factors:

  • Medical Bills – Sometimes the deceased received significant medical treatments in an attempt to keep them alive. Things such as emergency surgeries, ambulance rides, and careflights are very expensive. When the court awards these damages to the family, it alleviates some of the financial burden they now face.
  • Funeral Expenses – Funerals are costly, and your loved one deserves to be remembered well. The judge may award these damages to prevent the family from having to bear this economic responsibility.
  • Lost Income – This is an important damage to be considered by the court. If the deceased was a strong contributor to the family’s financial earnings, their death can cause the family’s financial future to become unstable. The courts often turn to independent counsel to calculate the anticipated income for years into the future, and take into consideration economic impacts such as inflation, life expectancy, and the victim’s health.
  • Pain and Suffering – Although this is not always awarded, it can contribute significantly to the total amount of damages.  Pain and suffering goes beyond grief, and may be awarded to a family member who witnessed the death.

These are only some of the types of damages that can be awarded in a wrongful death lawsuit. To learn more about your rights, contact a trustworthy attorney in your area.

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Multi-car crash with fatalities blocks Interstate 80

Sep 22

A multi-car crash with fatalities caused major blockage on Interstate 80 near Cisco Grove on Thursday, and California Highway Patrol is telling drivers to avoid the area if possible. According to authorities, sixteen vehicles may have been involved in the crash, which they believe may have been caused by a driver speeding through a hail storm. At least one individual was killed and multiple others were transported to local hospitals for treatment. The extent of the injuries to other drivers and passengers in the crash has not been reported yet, but local news outlets like Fox 40 are working to find out more details.

In the event of a serious accident, it is important to let the officials investigate the cause of the accident. If it turns out that one of the drivers was indeed speeding, the other injured parties may be eligible to take legal action in the form of a civil lawsuit to recover compensation for their medical bills, therapy costs, lost wages, property damage, as well as pain and suffering. A personal injury lawsuit can help protect people from having to shoulder the burden of an injury all on their own and will hold the negligent or careless person accountable for the injuries that they have caused others.

The California Highway Patrol will investigate the cause of the crash and will let all of the families know the results of their investigation. If it turns out that an individual behaved in a reckless manner (and speeding is certainly considered reckless under the law) that person may be held accountable for the injuries to others. It is too early to tell right now the exact cause of this accident, but it is important for the families to consider if they want to pursue legal action on behalf of themselves or their loved ones.

An experienced Sacramento car accident attorney can tell you your legal options following an accident. Far too many people drive while distracted, under the influence of alcohol or drugs, or simply in a careless manner, which puts others at risk on the roadways each and every day. If a person is injured by a speeding driver, he or she may wish to take legal action against the responsible party. There is no reason why someone who was hurt should have to pay out of their own pockets for medical bills, treatment, therapy costs, or any other expenses associated with the accident. The party that caused the accident should be the one that pays since they caused the unnecessary accident in the first place.  That’s where a personal injury lawyer comes in, to help those who have been hurt seek justice.

While I don’t know much about the law or the specifics of personal injury law in California, I do know that if I were hurt in a crash caused by someone else’s actions, I would not sit idly by. I would definitely hire an attorney to help me recoup the money that I was rightfully owed, and I would personally take action to make sure that person did not hurt others in the future.

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Legal Duty of Property Owners to Protect their Visitors from Harm

Jun 09

The US National Safety Council (NSC) Injury Facts records more than 8 million slip and fall accidents every year, making this type of accident one of the top causes of serious injuries in the U.S. and the most frequent type of accident that results in lawsuits (premises liability lawsuit).

Slip and fall accidents can be caused by wet or icy surfaces, moss-filled floors, uneven floors or walkways (especially those that are not well illuminated), unstable surfaces, exposed wires, absences of railings or guardrails, uncovered metal or wooden pegs, faulty stairs, unmarked obstacles, and so forth. While this type of accident can happen to anyone, those who are most seriously affected and hurt are people 55 years old and above. Injuries can include a fractured wrist or elbow, knee injury, torn muscle and ligament, back pain and fractured hip.

A slip and fall accident can happen not only in public places, such as hospitals, churches, malls, restaurants and near swimming pools, but also in private residences where one goes to as a visitor (as an invitee, a licensee or a trespasser, who is an unwelcome visitor, of course).

Identifying an injured visitor’s status on the premise or reason why he/she entered into another’s land entails major legal significance as it will determine a property owner’s extent of responsibility for the safety and well-being of his/her visitor, as well as the extent of a visitor’s rights in seeking compensation. And where protection from harm is the issue, invitees are afforded the highest level.

An invitee refers to a person who has received (direct or implied) invitation from the property owner to come onto his/her property to further the owner’s purposes. Persons directly invited to special family gatherings, such as anniversaries, or those entering a shop to transact business with the store owner, are considered invitees.

Invitees are types of guests who naturally assume that the place they enter onto is totally safe; thus, in the event of an accident, which results to an invitee’s injury, the property owner (or anyone directly responsible for the maintenance of the place) can be held totally responsible.

A licensee is another type of guest who has been granted permission to be on the owner’s property; his/her presence there, though, is personal, as it is for his/her own purpose or amusement. Family friends and party guests (and those to whom an open invitation to visit has been extended) fit this visitor description.

Property owners are also obligated by law to ensure the total safety of licensees, unlike in the case of trespassers, towards whom owners do not owe the responsibility of giving warnings about the dangers naturally occurring on the premises (unless the owner becomes aware of a trespasser’s presence).

Property owners or those responsible in the maintenance or upkeep of a place, but who negligently fail to perform their duty, can be held accountable under the premises liability laws, in the event of an injury.

As explained by the law firm Crowe & Mulvey, LLP, there are a number of different ways in which individuals may be put in danger of suffering a serious injury by unsafe premises, resulting in a premises liability claim. Some of the most common reasons people seek legal help for premises liability claims include: dog bites, slip and fall, elevator and escalator injuries, porch collapse, stair collapse, fires, lead paint poisoning, mercury poisoning or swimming pool injuries. As a guest at someone else’s home, or a patron of a business, you have a right to expect that a certain level of safety will be provided for you.


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Bankruptcy: Legal Solution to Regaining Financial Freedom

Mar 28

Loss of job and lesser chances of finding a high-paying one are two major effects of unstable economy. Anyone who loses the privilege of earning good income can lose the chance of maintaining his/her life style; it can also affect his/her capability to pay all his/her bills, including credit card billings and other monthly bills. Next to failure in payment of monthly bills is most likely financial worries as this will result to the increasing debts that may soon become hard, if not impossible, to manage.

This is one common situation to thousands of Americans. For like a chronic disease that develops and worsens overtime, so too do debts, becoming too overwhelming and impossible to settle.

After only two to three months of failure to make payments, especially car loans and mortgages, banks and credit card companies would already consider a person’s loan or account as bad debt. This would most likely be referred to a collection agency, which will do anything, even resort to harassing tactics to make a debtor pay.

Crushing debts have caused many individuals so much worry and stress, besides having ruined many families and professional relationships. Debts, however, are not unsolvable problems, for the law offers legal means that will enable individuals with overwhelming debts to address their debts and regain control of their financial situation. One such legal alternative is bankruptcy, a legal declaration of one’s inability to settle personal or business loans. One immediate beneficial effect of filing for bankruptcy is that once it is filed in court, all attempts by agencies to collect debt payments will be stopped (a protection “automatic stay”). Creditors will also lose any right to have a debtor’s salary garnished or his/her bank account levied.

There are different Chapters of Bankruptcies that a person may apply for, depending on his/her financial standing, work or assets and properties. These are

  • Chapter 7, also known as liquidation bankruptcy. Through this chapter, a person is enabled to pay his/her non-dischargeable debts through the liquidation of some of his/her non-exempt assets. With regard to business firms, these will need to cease operations, as a court-appointed trustee will need to sell or liquidate their entire assets. Residual proceeds, after having paid all creditors, will be returned to individual debtors or business owners;
  • Chapter 11, or business reorganization. The business owner usually acts as a trustee (if the court does not appoint one). He/She also becomes a debtor-in-possession since the law allows continuous operation of his/her business;
  • Chapter 12, which is designed for farmers and fishermen with a regular annual income and who own the whole or more than half of the farming/fishing business; and,
  • Chapter 13, which allows a debtor to make a three-year or five-year proposal through which to pay his/her debts.

Very helpful information to those with overwhelming debts is shared by the Amerio Law Firm. According to this firm, “When you are facing overwhelming debts and dealing with non-stop creditor calls, filing bankruptcy may be your best option.

The benefits of bankruptcy are clear:

  • Completely discharge your unsecured debts through a Chapter 7 bankruptcy or
  • Work out an effective repayment plan over the course of 3 to 5 years
  • Stop harassing creditor calls
  • Stop wage garnishments, bank levies, property liens, and foreclosures
  • Get your financial freedom
  • Re-build your credit

Bankruptcy can certainly be the financial solution to your current situation. However, if you do not qualify for a bankruptcy, or may be struggling with the idea of filing bankruptcy, an experienced bankruptcy lawyer will be able to provide you alternative solutions, including debt negotiation or tax services.

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Sexual Abuse in Nursing Homes

Dec 22

More than 15,000 registered nursing home facilities in the U.S. offer care and shelter to at least 1.5 million elders, mentally incapacitated young adults, patients suffering from Alzheimer’s disease, and victims of accidents requiring therapy and rehabilitation. Though sending a loved one to a nursing home, where his/her needs is believed will be provided, is a common practice, many Americans are beset by worries due to widespread news of abuses committed to nursing home residents.

The most common reported abuses committed against elders include emotional abuse, physical abuse, financial abuse and sexual abuse, the most wicked of all types of abuses. Mistreating elders and other residents sexually can be done through many different ways. It can be through fondling, showing of pornographic materials, forced nudity, forcing another resident to kiss or touch the victim and, worst of all, forced penetrative acts.

Many nursing homes reason out that they do not have enough number of nurse aides, staff and/or registered nurses, thus their employees are often overworked, tired and fatigued from all the needs and requests of residents which seem to be endless.

Sexual abuse is usually never immediately obvious, but being really observant of sudden changes in a resident’s behavior may just manifest the fact that something is wrong. Sexually abused residents typically:

  • Begin to display low self-esteem;
  • Avoid having eye contact with other residents;
  • Stop speaking openly, to hide the abuses they are suffering from;
  • Start feeling hopeless, disturbed, or afraid;
  • Become depressed and withdrawn; and,
  • Begin to show abrupt mood swings

While injuries or any kind of harm sustained by residents in a nursing home facility may be considered a personal injury and, thus, deserving compensation, the act of abuse itself is considered a criminal act, deserving harsh punishments.

In the website of the law firm Karlin, Fleisher & Falkenberg, it is said that “Allegations of sexual abuse are serious and will need to be duly investigated by the appropriate authorities. That being said, you need to take immediate action to protect your loved one if you suspect he or she has experienced unwanted or otherwise non-consensual sexual contact.”

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The Supplemental Security Income Program Cash Benefits: Who Can Receive These?

Oct 13

The Social Security Administration (SSA) offers four major types of benefits:

  • Disability benefits;
  • Retirement benefits;
  • Benefits for spouses and/or other survivors of a family member who has passed; and,
  • Supplemental Security Income (SSI)

The first two are benefits given to Social Security members or employees (and to family members of employees, as in the case of the third type of benefits) who have worked in jobs covered by Social Security and who have earned the number of credits required by the SSA. A maximum of four Social Security credits are earned annually through payment of Social Security taxes. These taxes, which are identified as Federal Insurance Contributions Act “FICA,” payments, are automatically deducted in employees’ monthly take home pay.

The Supplemental Security Income (SSI) or State Supplementary Payment (SSP), on the other hand, offers cash assistance payments to:

  • Adults who are disabled and have limited income and resources;
  • Children who are disabled and who have limited income and resources; and,
  • Individuals at least 65 years old who may be without any disability, but who meet the financial limits set under the federal benefit rate (FBR).

This cash assistance payment is meant to provide for its recipients’ basic needs, such as food, clothing, and shelter. For SSI purposes, the word “disabled,” is defined as physical or mental impairment and emotional or learning problems that:

  • Have lasted or is expected to last for a continuous period of at least 12 months;
  • Can be expected to result to severe functional limitations (in the case of children) or in the inability to perform any substantial gainful activity (in the case of adults); and,
  • Can be expected to result in the disabled person’s death.

With regard to the words “income” and “resources,” “income” refers to :money earned from work; money received from Social Security benefits, Workers Compensation, the Department of Veterans Affairs, unemployment benefits, friends or relatives; and, free food or shelter. “Resources refers to things personally owned, like cash, bank accounts, U.S. savings bonds, stocks, life insurance, land, vehicles, personal property, and whatever can be converted to cash and used for food or shelter.

As explained by an Indianapolis Social Security Disability lawyer of the Hankey Law Office, the Social Security system offers a special form of financial assistance for people who are elderly, injured, or ill as well as impoverished. However, applying for SSI benefits can be daunting due to the practice of evaluators to reject applications even for minor errors. The many requirements and the complex application process may bear faster and more positive results if these are to be entrusted to a seasoned SSI claims lawyer.

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How Much Cash Benefit does Workers’ Compensation Award to Injured Workers?

Jul 05

Workers who sustain job-related injuries or who develop an occupational illness can file a claim for benefits with the Workers’ Compensation, also known as Workers’ Comp. Cash benefits will cover cost of medical treatment and hospitalization, wage replacement, rehabilitation, retraining, disability, and death (which includes payment of benefits to survivors of the worker killed on the job). The usual wage replacement is two/thirds of the injured worker’s average wage; however, there is a fixed maximum amount set by states so that the benefits will not go over it.

Workers’ Compensation is an insurance-like program that is mandated and administered by the state. It is designed to provide immediate financial benefits to workers regardless of who was at fault for the injury or illness. Because it is almost exclusively financed by employers, it, therefore, serves as a sort of an exchange wherein injured employees, by choosing to receive Workers’ Compensation benefits, automatically waive their right to sue their employer for additional compensation.

There are limits, by the way, to the types of injuries paid under the Workers’ Comp program. As a rule, benefits will never be paid to workers whose injury was self-inflicted, who were intoxicated at the time of the injury, or whose injury was a result of actions in violation of the law or company policy.

At only two/thirds of the injured worker’s average wage, the amount of monetary benefit that Workers’ Comp awards to injured workers is really low. This amount is definitely not enough, especially if the injury leads to temporary or permanent disability, or a severe chronic illness. Workers’ Comp also does not pay compensation for injured workers’ pain and suffering; it also makes no provision for punitive damages, which would serve as punishment to an employer for failing to eliminate dangerous conditions in the workplace in order to ensure safety of employees.

Despite the low amount of cash benefit, many injured workers greatly rely on Workers’ Comp to save themselves and their families from disabling financial conditions. But worse than the receiving an inadequate amount is not receiving anything at all due to denial of claims, a situation experienced by so many injured workers.

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