The Right to Bear Arms

First Things First: Divorce Or Bankruptcy?

Posted by on 6:45 pm in Uncategorized | Comments Off on First Things First: Divorce Or Bankruptcy?

Couples facing either divorce or bankruptcy may feel overwhelmed, but if you are considering filing for both of these life-changing events at once you may need some help. You should know that the order does matter in most cases, and knowing how to proceed can save you a lot of time and stress in the future. Read on for a better understanding of how to proceed with these two major legal actions. Chapter 13 or Chapter 7? It’s important to know what type of bankruptcy you will be filing, since these two major types are vastly different. Chapter 13 is really more of an organizational plan to repay your debts, and can take years and years to be complete. Due to the amount of time chapter 13 bankruptcy requires, it may be best to file once your divorce is final. Part of divorce will involve the division of debt, and your repayment plan will be based on the debt you have left after the marital division. A chapter 7 bankruptcy, however, can be completed in a matter of a few months. The American Bar Association offers other comparisons for each type of bankruptcy filing. Filing Chapter 7 Prior to Divorce Since the issue of debt can be a contentious one in divorce, a bankruptcy filing that can eliminate all or most of that debt could result in a smoother divorce process. Credit card debt often makes up a large proportion of marital debt, and this is the very type of debt that can normally be discharged with a chapter 7 filing. It should be noted that you cannot use a chapter 7 bankruptcy filing to discharge student loan debt or taxes owed. The Property Issue Another good reason to get your chapter 7 filing complete before you divorce has to do with the issue of bankruptcy exemptions. Exemptions allow filers to keep a certain dollar amount of real estate, vehicles and personal belongings. In some states, married filers who file jointly are allowed to double their exemptions, which could potentially allow them to keep more of their property. Waiting Till After the Divorce A bankruptcy filing is meant to give debt relief for those who do not have enough income to pay off their debts, so filers must pass the so-called “means test” prior to filing. This means that if your income exceeds the median income of your particular state, you may be barred from filing. Since your income is likely to be much lower after you divorce, it may be better to wait and file post-divorce. Both of these legal actions can be confusing and complicated, so consult with both a divorce and bankruptcy attorney for information before you make a...

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Is It Time to Consider Filing for Bankruptcy? 3 Signs That Point to Yes

Posted by on 5:49 pm in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Is It Time to Consider Filing for Bankruptcy? 3 Signs That Point to Yes

It isn’t uncommon to come to a point in your life when you are consumed with debt. This may be a mortgage, car payment, and other living expenses that you simply can’t afford, or it may be medical bills, student loans, and credit card bills that just continue to pile up. Whatever the case may be, if you have found yourself in some sort of financial trouble, it is important that you realize it is possible to put your money woes behind you and move forward with a debt-free future. What you need to determine is whether or not your current situation warrants filing for bankruptcy. Here are a few situations when you should consider filing: 1. You Are Using Your Credit Cards to Survive. If your debt has gotten to the point that it is so bad that you are using your credit cards to survive, then you are in deep. This means that you are paying your living expenses and putting food on the table with your credit cards, not to mention that you are also paying your credit card payments with your credit cards. This is a toxic cycle to be in and incredibly difficult, if not impossible, to get out of. In most cases, you will find yourself getting deeper and deeper into debt as each month passes. 2. You Are Unable to Make Your Minimum Payments. If you notice that you are unable to meet your monthly minimum payments on any or all of your lines of credit, then you are going to realize that your debt is going to increase every month and you won’t be able to use it. Your payments will begin to go toward interest instead of the principal and the interest will continue to pile up. In other words, your financial situation won’t be getting any better; in fact, it will be getting worse. Unless you see a change in your finances in the near future, things are simply going to continue to go downhill. 3. You Have Been Unemployed for a While. If you have lost your job and do not have a way to make the payments on your home, car, credit cards, utilities, etc., you will quickly realize that you are in over your head in the financial department. If you are unable to find new employment and do not have any way of getting your bills paid, bankruptcy can be considered as a last resort. However, it is important to keep in mind that bankruptcy does show up on credit screenings, so it could keep you from getting a job. If you are unsure whether or not you meet the requirements to file for bankruptcy or would like to learn more about the options at your disposal, click here for more information and reach out to an experienced bankruptcy attorney in your...

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What Do You Do When You’re Injured As A Motorcycle Passenger?

Posted by on 11:26 am in Uncategorized | Comments Off on What Do You Do When You’re Injured As A Motorcycle Passenger?

Motorcycle accidents have many moving parts, and if you are injured as part of a motorcycle accident when you’re the passenger, things can get even more complicated. But it’s important to take an active role in getting compensation for any injuries you sustained. Here are some things that you can do. Have a Thorough Talk with the Driver About Next Steps Some of the steps for reporting a motorcycle accident inevitably fall on the driver. But you can play a role in this as well. First of all, create a joint plan of action and follow up to make sure the driver completed all of the steps. For one, taking pictures of the accident, including any damage to the motorcycle and the road conditions, is a good step. Also discuss what the insurance reporting process looks like. Get a Checkup If you were involved in the accident, be sure that you get a checkup from a chiropractor, even if you don’t think you were hurt badly. Neck and spinal injury can be hidden. And now’s the time to get your medical bills covered, since you won’t be able to show as strong of a correlation between your injuries and the accident if you wait until later. So, be insistent about getting your medical needs covered through the driver’s insurance. Consider the Severity of Your Personal Losses In a small accident, most of the insurance compensation will probably go to the driver. But you’ll want to make sure that your needs are heard if you have to take off work for your injuries, or if you had any personal property that was damaged. While basic claims can be covered through insurance, a personal injury attorney is a good person to approach on bigger claims. Consider a Personal Injury Attorney When insurance money doesn’t cut it, a personal injury attorney may be able to help you. They’ll start by determining who was responsible for the accident. If there were no other drivers, the faulty party could be the driver or even the manufacturer of the motorcycle. If there was a collision with the other driver, then an attorney will consider whether your driver or the other driver was at fault. Based on the insurance limits and personal finances of that party, plus the amount of your personal losses, they can advise you on whether escalating the issue to a court would have a much bigger...

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The Cannabis Industry Is Growing Up: Time to Think About Patents for Specific Strains

Posted by on 2:56 pm in Uncategorized | Comments Off on The Cannabis Industry Is Growing Up: Time to Think About Patents for Specific Strains

Are you just getting started in the burgeoning cannabis industry? If so, you need to start paying attention to patent law because that could become the key to remaining competitive within the industry. This is what you need to know. How can you patent a product of nature? You can’t patent a natural creation, which means that nobody can put a patent on Cannabis sativa, the ordinary marijuana plant. However, individual strains of marijuana, which have been carefully cultivated through selective breeding and genetic engineering in order to obtain specific properties, are no longer considered natural. That makes them eligible for a patent. There have already been some forward thinkers in the market who are turning their attention to this important part of the law. While the government has already issued patents on specific compounds derived from cannabis, a patent issued in 2016 was the first to cover a specific strain of the plant. The patent essentially recognized that there was a specific method for the breeding of the specialty strain along with a specific chemical profile measured through things like its THC (the main psychoactive chemical) and terpenes (which give strains their distinctive odors). Why is patenting products and strains of marijuana so important? The growing evidence indicates that cannabis has a broad range of both recreational and medicinal purposes—and growers are responding by breeding strains that are more effective for those specific medical or recreational needs. Small start-ups and independent growers may invest a great deal of time, effort, and money into finding just the right strain for a specific group of clients. Ultimately, the only way to protect that investment and to keep it out of the hands of larger corporations that might want to market it themselves is to put those specialized strains under the protection of a patent. Otherwise, a small company could find that a strain they’ve invested years of labor creating something that is now being reproduced by a big lab, undercutting their prices, and putting them out of business. Even worse, small growers could find themselves unable to market their own designer brand of cannabis if another company comes along and snatches up the patent on a particular strain. Patents are typically awarded on a “first come-first serve” basis—so a company that isn’t keeping intellectual property rights in mind when growing their cannabis strains could be at a significant disadvantage if they come up against a less ethical company that doesn’t mind claiming another’s work. As cannabis use becomes more mainstream, the value of individual strains is likely to increase, particularly among medical users. If you’re an independent grower and you’re investing a significant amount of effort and time into cultivating a particular strain of cannabis, talk to a patent attorney like those at Lingbeck Law Office about what steps you need to take to protect your product from...

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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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