The Right to Bear Arms

Avoid A Legal Circus: Don’t Overreact When Scared By A Creepy Clown

Posted by on 10:12 am in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Avoid A Legal Circus: Don’t Overreact When Scared By A Creepy Clown

News reports of evil clowns lurking around populated areas late at night have many scratching their heads. What motivates people to dress up in creepy clown costumes and cause havoc? Pranking may be the main motivation, but these “jokes” are not always harmless. Reckless hoaxing does come with serious risks. Confrontations between pranksters in clown guises and frightened people can turn out ugly. In fact the West Virginia police department even issued a warning to “would-be clowns” about the dangerous potential of running into a concealed carry holder.  Those willing to use a weapon for self-defense — be it a firearm, knife, or blunt object — must realize merely being scared by someone dressed as a clown does not automatically authorize deadly force. Understanding the law could keep the intended victim of the prank out of serious legal trouble. Laws, Self-Defense, and Levels of Force The laws regarding deadly force are going to vary from jurisdiction to jurisdiction. Certain states may have “Stand Your Ground” laws in place, and others may require a “Duty to Retreat”. Both of these laws are predicated on dealing with an actual threat. No one has a right to  use deadly force or any form of self-defense simply because someone scared them, but did not attempt to an actual attack. The mere sight of a clown doing nothing other than trying to “creep people out” won’t justify taking any physical action. A level of force on the part of the perpetrator is required to justify self-defense. Even then the appropriate force response may not be excessive. There are reports, however, of clowns brandishing weapons and chasing people. A clown’s use of a deadly weapon could create the potential for loss of life. Responding with appropriate force may be justified depending on the circumstances. Again, the circumstances refer to the actions taken by a perpetrator and not how he/she is dressed up. Two very helpful bits of advice are worth noting here: Never Threaten Action Online Social media is abuzz with people noting how they will react when they see a clown. Some have even gone so far as to threaten violence at the mere sight of a clown – a very bad idea. Online statements could be used as evidence in a court of law and might undermine a self-defense claim. Retreat When Possible Panic at the sight of a clown is definitely understandable, but consider it best to simply retreat the scene as quickly and carefully as possible. Contacting law enforcement by dialing 911 is also suggested. Turning the situation to those trained to deal with such matters could avoid any number of legal problems. Those who have found themselves in a highly-bizarre situation involving a clown hoaxer and have been charged should seek legal representation. Despite the strange and horror movie-like nature of the situation, the legal woes one faces are serious and real. For more information about the legality of issues like this, contact a firm like Begley Carlin & Mandio...

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Tips For Women Who Are Preparing For A Criminal Court Case

Posted by on 10:12 am in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Tips For Women Who Are Preparing For A Criminal Court Case

Criminal charges can be hard to work through, especially if you are hoping to avoid a conviction as the final outcome. If you are a woman facing criminal charges, you have a unique set of challenges ahead of you. Here are four tips to help women work through criminal charges and face court in the best light possible. 1. Find the Right Criminal Defense Attorney If this is your first run in with the law and you haven’t been in a criminal case in the past, finding the right lawyer can seem daunting. When meeting with attorneys, seek out a female-friendly law firm. Attorneys that have a good record helping women, families, and those who may need more acute representation than standard criminal cases may offer more refined services for your specific needs. 2. Dress Professionally and Conservatively Be sure to put some thought into your outfit for court. It is important not to draw too much attention to yourself. Avoiding bold colors can bring a more conservative air around you. While looking nice is important, keep your attire out of the racy category completely, even if the look is in style. If you aren’t sure what are the best outfit options for court, ask your criminal defense attorney for advice. 3. Discuss Your Family Support System One strategy your criminal attorney might take is to bring your family details up in court. This can showcase you as person, and not a possible criminal. As a woman, you may be able to show a strong case for people who can support you and others who might be relying on you. If you are a mother or have a family that will vouch for you, judges might lessen your charges so you can go home to your family support system. 4. But Leave Your Family at Home While it is a good idea to discuss how your family can help you rehabilitate and why they need you home, you don’t need to bring along everyone to court. This can be distracting and can make a judge form opinions on your case before you even get chance to fight your charges. Be sure to work out childcare ahead of time so you aren’t stuck bringing along children to your court case. Criminal charges can lead to serious outcomes. If you are working towards lessening charges or fighting a conviction in court as a woman, you may have a different set of rules and standards than men in the courtroom. Make sure you are prepared for court with your attorney to put your best foot forward before the...

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Strategies for Avoiding Speeding After Going Through Legal Troubles

Posted by on 5:33 pm in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Strategies for Avoiding Speeding After Going Through Legal Troubles

If you’re a motorist with a heavy right foot, you might commonly find yourself sitting on the side of the road with flashing blue and red lights in your mirror. And you might subsequently find yourself enlisting the services of an attorney who specializes in speeding-ticket cases. If you pick the right attorney, he or she can likely reduce some of your fines and possibly help you avoid losing demerit points that could cause your car insurance to increase. If you’ve just been through this process, it’s important to learn from the experience—and the lesson here is to speed less. Here are some strategies that can help you keep within the speed limit. Use Your Cruise Control Many of today’s cars are equipped with cruise control, but not all drivers use it. While it’s not ideal in city driving, it’s extremely valuable as a speed-limiting tool when you’re on the highway. Figure out the speed limit, set your cruise control at the desired speed, and breathe easy—you won’t have to worry about getting a ticket when you’re using this setting. One of the benefits of using the cruise control is that it will slow you down when you’re traveling down a hill, which is otherwise an easy way to speed up, get a ticket, and find yourself hunting for an attorney to represent you. Check Your GPS If you’re not in the habit of using your GPS unless you’re traveling somewhere new, it might be time to change your approach. In addition to its navigational benefits, the GPS is valuable because it always displays the current speed limit. If you’ve occasionally received tickets because you weren’t sure of the limit in a given area—perhaps you were driving at 55 miles per hour but the limit had dropped to 40 miles per hour and you missed the sign—this should prevent such future issues. Leave In Better Time Many motorists speed because they’re constantly late. If you find that you’re never able to get out of the house on time, it’s useful to consider your routine and learn how to change it. For example, if mornings are a struggle, try to get up a bit earlier. You could also make changes such as making your lunch the night before or even laying out the clothing that you’ll wear in advance. This can translate into your leaving the house in better time and not feeling so compelled to rush. These simple strategies can help you avoid getting a ticket and going through the legal process. If you do need the assistance of an attorney, contact a law firm that has speeding-ticket attorneys, such as Campbell Law Group...

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Extras Like Second Homes Or Season Tickets: Sell Or Divvy Up?

Posted by on 2:53 pm in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Extras Like Second Homes Or Season Tickets: Sell Or Divvy Up?

Dividing assets is often one of the more time-consuming parts of getting a divorce, and it can be one of the more distressing if there are a lot of fights around a particular item. Many people focus on things like the house, the cars, the pets, and so on, but there are other items that need to be taken care of quickly so you can get them off your plate. Things like second homes, timeshares, season tickets, and so on eventually have to be dealt with. Greater Percentage of Payment or Use One option is to let one spouse pay off the other spouse if the first spouse uses these items most or put the most money toward buying them in the first place. It allows the first spouse to keep using the home, ticket, or what have you while not cheating the second spouse out of the equivalent money. This works best when one spouse is not that concerned about what happens to the item as long as the spouse who is keeping the item pays out appropriately. One Less Thing, Plus More Money Of course, selling the item entirely and splitting the proceeds is another option, and this works best in two cases. One is when neither spouse is that interested in hanging onto the item. May as well sell it, then, and just take the money, which can help with legal bills from the divorce. The other option is when the cost of buying out the item would be so great that the spouse who wants to buy it just can’t do it. It may be better to sell the item and then look for another version that the one spouse can afford. Trades If the divorcing couple have a lot of extra items like these, a trade could be a good solution, too. One spouse takes the season tickets while the other takes the long-term cruise tickets, for example. Or one spouse takes the second home while the other takes several other items in exchange. It’s always possible to negotiate all these yourselves, but it’s easier to have a lawyer work with you. Not only will you end up with an agreement that was carefully negotiated, you’ll also end up with a legal document that can help you should the divorce turn sour later on. If you and your spouse are not handling the divorce well, though, then talking to lawyers — each of you should have your own — is a must if you want to reach the fairest settlement. Contact a firm like Law Office of Dalia Rasha Kejbou, P.C. for more...

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Roadside Drug Tests: The Unreliable Truth

Posted by on 8:43 am in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Roadside Drug Tests: The Unreliable Truth

Can a virtually useless and legally meaningless roadside lab test send you to jail and leave you with a permanent criminal record? Absolutely. To avoid ending up in a desperate situation, it’s important to understand the facts about roadside drug tests. Roadside drug tests are unreliable. There are a number of popular roadside drug-test kits available to law enforcement—and all of them are unreliable. Many of these kits were designed in the 1970s, and their chemical components can be affected by everything from the weather to inaccurate handling by the officer. The chemicals themselves aren’t even reliable indicators of drugs. One popular test for cocaine contains cobalt thiocyanate, which also reacts to several household cleaners and acne medication, instead of just cocaine. In fact, if you’re using or carrying any one of more than 250 common over-the-counter medications or prescription medications, you could be the victim of a false-positive from a roadside drug test.  Roadside testing for drugs is so unreliable that tests have come back positive for amphetamines—an ingredient in crystal meth—when the substance being tested was actually flakes from the sugar glaze on a doughnut that had been eaten in the car.  The courts are aware that roadside drug testing is unreliable. As a result, roadside drug tests aren’t admissible in court. In order to use the evidence, whatever substance the officer suspects of being drugs has to be sent to a lab in order for more accurate testing to confirm the results. A plea deal can destroy your life. Unfortunately, many people aren’t aware of the unreliable nature of the roadside testing. Even though they did nothing wrong and know that they didn’t have drugs with them, they’re often demoralized by the arrest process and already convinced that the chemical evidence against them will lead to a conviction. Keep in mind that the arresting officer doesn’t have to explain that the tests are unreliable and aren’t admissible. Nor do they have to tell you that the results have to be independently verified by a lab. If you aren’t aware of these facts, you could find yourself in the same position that many others have before: accepting a plea deal for something that you didn’t do. It’s estimated that at least 100,000 people a year plead guilty to drug charges based on the results of roadside drug testing. Many of them are likely innocent, but first-time offenders are often scared into accepting a plea that will get them out of prison within a few weeks instead of going to trial and risking a much longer sentence. Some studies indicate that over half of those convicted who are later proven innocent of drug charges plead guilty within the first week—long before the labs are able to return their results. Most of them don’t realize that their guilty plea means that they could lose future opportunities for housing and jobs or even put the custody of their children at risk. Legally, a guilty plea is the same as a conviction—and it will follow you everywhere for the rest of your life.  Don’t allow a roadside drug test to scare you into accepting a plea deal. If you’re ever in that situation, talk to a criminal-law attorney such as one from Hurth Sisk & Blakemore LLP about your case...

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Do You Have To Force Your Child To See The Other Parent?

Posted by on 11:03 am in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Do You Have To Force Your Child To See The Other Parent?

What happens when your child doesn’t want to visit his or her other parent? Even if you’re faced with a visitation order that gives your ex-spouse the right to visitation, surely there must be an exemption if the child doesn’t want to go? Before you give into your child’s demands to stay home for the weekend, this is what you should know. The judge can force visitation to take place and punish the parent that doesn’t cooperate. More than one case involving forced visitation has made the news lately and judges are showing that they are inclined to take a hardline approach to cases where there is no evidence that the children are endangered by the visits—even if they don’t want to go. In some cases, judges are chastising the parents who may be encouraging the alienation between the children and the non-custodial parent. In a South Carolina case, the judge held the mother of the Noojin children in contempt and forced her to pay the father’s $41,000.00 legal bill, saying that state policy was to make sure that children don’t become estranged from their noncustodial parents. It noted that the children’s mothers failed to facilitate the visitation and encouraged the children to disengage from their father by doing things like blocking him from their phones. One case so exasperated a judge that she ordered the children involved in a case into custody and eventually into a parental-alienation program after they refused to visit with their father.  While every case may not be so extreme, your refusal to make your children attend court-ordered visitation could easily result in a citation against you for contempt of court—which can lead to fines or even jail time. You also run the risk that the judge could decide to change the custody arrangement and give primary custody to the other spouse in order to prevent the children from becoming further alienated. You can go back to court and request a legal modification. If your child has a good reason to want to avoid visitation with his or her other parent, your best option is to seek a modification to the visitation order. Keep in mind that you’ll have to explain the reason for the request to the judge and, more than likely, your child will be asked to testify about his or her feelings.  You may also be asked to seek counseling with your ex-spouse—or your child may be ordered into counseling with his or her parent—to try to resolve any issues in a more agreeable way. It may also be necessary for the court to appoint a guardian ad litem for your child. The guardian ad litem acts as your child’s representative, and will testify to the court on what he or she feels is genuinely best for your child. Don’t try to resolve an issue like this on your own. Instead, seek the services of a family lawyer who can help with your situation. To learn more, contact a family lawyer like Susan M...

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Be Clear About Your Disability Duration To Make Sure Your SSDI Benefits Are Approved

Posted by on 10:05 am in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Be Clear About Your Disability Duration To Make Sure Your SSDI Benefits Are Approved

One factor that determines whether you are eligible to receive social security disability insurance (SSDI) benefits is that you will be unable to work for at least one year while you recover. It’s important that your application and all supporting documentation is clear that you’ll be off of work for a year of more. This is one reason why it’s a good idea to have one of your local disability lawyers help you with your initial application for benefits. Here are some of the ways an attorney will help make your case to receive benefits. Your Diagnostic Tests Must Support the Expected Duration of Your Disability   The tests that the doctors do to determine the precise health problem must show that you have a long-term issue that will keep you from working for at least a year. Your lawyer will make sure that the results clearly document your disability. When there is ambiguity in the diagnostic test notes, your attorney can ask the doctors to clarify their findings. When tests are repeated, they must also be documented as to why the tests were redone and the final diagnosis based on all of the available information. Your Doctor’s Treatment Notes Must Also Support Your Claim When your doctor recommends a treatment, they must note that it will require time to reverse your disability, if it will at all. Doctor’s notes in your medical records to the effect that treatment could have you on your feet and back to work in less than a year will get your application denied. If it’s unlikely that you’ll be back to work in less than a year, your lawyer will work with your doctors to make sure your medical records reflect that in the physician’s notes. You Must Show Compliance With Treatment Recommendations or Document Clearly Why You Haven’t The SSDI reviewers want to know that you have done everything you can to be treated for the medical condition and get back to work. If you were unable to receive some form of treatment, your attorney will make sure the reasons are documented clearly. For example, your doctor may recommend a treatment available only at a facility in the next state. This treatment may get you back to work sooner than a year. But the cost of the treatment is not covered by your insurance and you don’t have transportation to get you there, so it is not possible for you. This scenario or others like it need to be documented thoroughly so the reviewers believe that you are doing the best you can to have your condition treated. For more information,...

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Challenges You May Face If You Don’t Get Legal Custody Of Your Live-In Grandkids

Posted by on 10:43 am in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Challenges You May Face If You Don’t Get Legal Custody Of Your Live-In Grandkids

If your grandkids currently live with you because their parents are not taking care of them properly, it might be wise to talk to a family lawyer about obtaining legal guardianship of these kids. Without this legal title, you may encounter a variety of different challenges, including the following three. Health care Even if your grandkids have health insurance, you may not be able to utilize it to the fullest. While their doctor might treat them for normal issues, you will not have the right or legal ability to make any medical decisions on their own. This could pose huge issues if there is an emergency that needs immediate medical attention and decisions, or if you would like the doctor to answer questions you may have about the kids. In addition, if the kids do not have health insurance, you may have trouble adding them to your policy if you do not have guardianship rights for them. Psychiatric care When kids must move into a home other than the one they are used to, they can develop problems. They can have trouble adjusting to a new home and new life, and they often have a lot of anger built up inside. Because of this, many children in this situation will require some type of counseling service. If you take them to a counselor, the counselor might have the ability to talk to the kids. Unfortunately, you would not have the legal right to be involved. The counselor would not have the authorization to give you details about the visits or recommendations for the child. This is something counselors can only do with a minor’s legal guardian. Visitation rights One other thing to consider with this issue is visitation. If you do not have legal guardianship, it will be hard to stop the parents from showing up whenever they want to or taking the kids with them if they feel like it. Not only can this be confusing to the kids, but it can be hard for you as well. With legal guardianship, you can set up a visitation schedule. This will put boundaries in place for the parents, yet it will give them the opportunity to spend time with their kids at certain times or days. If you want to avoid these issues and feel like this is a long-term problem, seeking legal guardianship rights might be a good step to take. To learn more, contact a family lawyer, like one from Spillman and Partners,...

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The 3 Most Important Things to Do to Prevent Complications with Your Estate

Posted by on 9:59 am in Uncategorized | Comments Off on The 3 Most Important Things to Do to Prevent Complications with Your Estate

The recent death of the rock star Prince has brought to light a big problem—the musician died without any known will or “intestate.” This oversight is likely to throw his estate into a long and protracted court process, further complicated by the sort of legal issues that can go along with having no direct heirs and a large extended family. Learn how a few simple steps can prevent your heirs from facing the legal complications Prince’s family will have to handle. 1.) Get a will. This is the most basic step of all. Many people familiar with Prince are surprised the singer didn’t have one. He was known for being very protective of his assets, particularly regarding the rights to his artistic works. Whether you’re also an artist of some sort or just have more ordinary assets, take the time to get a will made. You want to name someone specific as your executor—the person who will handle your estate with the court and see that everyone gets what they are entitled to receive—and distribute your assets however you feel appropriate to the people you love. 2.) Put the will where it can be found. Right now, there’s been no official ruling that Prince died without a will. That means that his family and the court will continue to investigate and search through his belongings while they try to locate one. In the meantime, not much can happen with his estate. If you don’t leave your will where it can be located, your heirs could be in for a frustrating (and financially difficult) time. The simplest thing to do is to leave a copy in your lawyer’s office, in your desk or filing cabinet at home, and with the person you chose as your executor. Also, put the original will in a safety deposit box and make sure your executor know where the key is and what bank you use. While courts prefer to use the original document, the judge may allow your estate to use a copy if the original is accidentally lost or destroyed. 3.) Periodically review the will to see if it needs to be updated. Don’t just write your will and forget it. You need to review it periodically to see if there are any updates or changes that should be made. There’s no set schedule that you need to follow, especially if your life is fairly constant. However, consider updating your will if there are any major changes in your family composition, such as the births of nieces and nephews or grandchildren or great-grandchildren or a divorce or remarriage. If you named friends to receive personal items of yours, you may want to update the will every few years in order to make sure that it still reflects your current feelings. While most people won’t leave an estate as big and complicated as Prince’s, your heirs can still run into unnecessary problems if you die without a will. Plus, there won’t be any way to make your wishes known to the court. Take the time to contact an estate planning attorney today from a firm like Seiler & Parker PC to get...

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4 Tips For Making Child Custody Exchanges Go More Smoothly

Posted by on 9:05 am in Uncategorized | Comments Off on 4 Tips For Making Child Custody Exchanges Go More Smoothly

Child custody exchanges can be extremely stressful for both parents and children. There are safety concerns, procedural issues and a large amount of conflict. It can be emotionally and physically exhausting. Luckily, the tension can be minimized with these four custody exchange tips:      1. Avoid Being Late. One of the first things you should is to avoid being late to the exchange. Actions will almost always speak louder than words, so make sure you arrive on time. Better yet, arrive early. Tardiness will only increase hostility. If you are run late on a regular basis, you may actually be committing a crime known as custodial interference. This crime occurs when you are disrupting the custody rights of the other custodial parent. In Tennessee, if it is determined by the court that you are indeed committing custodial interference, you may be faced with a class A misdemeanor or a class E felony. 2. Make Use of Surveillance Cams and/or Witnesses. If you tend to have difficulty when meeting with your ex, you may want to consider meeting on neutral ground where there are plenty of witnesses and/or surveillance cameras. This will come in handy in the event that you need proof to support your story of how your ex behaved toward you or your child. With witnesses present, it may help to thwart violent outbursts of behavior. 3. Pick Your Child Up at Daycare or School. If you and your ex would rather not even cross paths, you may want to arrange for pick-up at your child’s daycare or school. This way you and your ex don’t even have to see one another. 4. Arrange for the Pickup Near a Police Station. If you have had previous problems regarding abuse with your ex or even issues with prior custody exchanges, you may want to consider handling the exchange close to a local police station. It will be nice to be near a safe place in the event that the situation escalates and the proper authorities need to be called. It is always a good idea to try to keep the peace as good as you can in order for the best interests of your child. After all, that is the main goal of all child custody disputes and arrangements. However, if you need assistance in modifying a current child custody arrangement or need guidance on navigating a new one, don’t hesitate to contact a professional child custody lawyer in your local area who is knowledgeable about state...

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