The Harsh Penalties of a DWI Conviction

The Harsh Penalties of a DWI Conviction

Jan 03

Before the 80s, the blood alcohol concentration (BAC) limit set by the government for car drivers was 0.10 percent. To intensify the drive against drunk-driving, however, which the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has identified as one of the top causes of car accidents in the U.S., the BAC limit was lowered to 0.08 percent. This means that those caught with a 0.08 percent or higher BAC level were charged with driving while intoxicated or driving while impaired (DWI).

A DWI charge is a serious offense anywhere in the U.S. In Westchester, for example, according to a Westchester drunk driving attorney, first time offenders can face up to 1 year jail-time, $500-$1000 in fines and a minimum of six months license suspension.

For repeat offenders, though, some cities and states also require that an ignition interlock device (IID) be installed in the offender’s vehicle. The IID is wired to a vehicle’s ignition; it will require the driver’s breath sample and will only allow the car’s engine to start if no alcohol is detected in his/her breath. The device also requires periodic breath tests (while the vehicle is being driven) to make sure that the driver is continuously free from the influence of alcohol.

In addition to the IID, the court may also require DWI offenders to fill out an SR-22 or Certificate of Financial Responsibility (CFR) form (also known as FR-44 in some states), if they want to continue enjoying their driving privileges. This requirement usually lasts for three years and one effect of this is higher vehicle liability insurance premiums.

With good and strong defense from an experienced DWI lawyer, who understands fully the consequences of a DWI conviction, some defendants are able to avoid conviction and the unwanted harsh penalties it entails. However, when choosing a DWI lawyer, a person charged should know that one DWI lawyer is not as good as another.

Premarital Agreement: A Wise Financial Security in the Event of Divorce

Premarital Agreement: A Wise Financial Security in the Event of Divorce

Dec 29

A premarital agreement makes clear to those entering into marriage how their assets and properties, acquired either before or during marriage, ought to be distributed in case of divorce, legal separation or the death of one spouse. This agreement is actually a contract aimed at protecting the financial interests and future of both spouses, in case the marriage does not work and gets dissolved.

Though some engaged couples find premarital or prenuptial agreement as something that will only take away the romance in their relationship and substitute it with mistrust, many others see it as a wise financial security that will open more rooms and make couples more financially generous and open to one another.

The practice of entering into a premarital agreement takes it roots during the early 19th century, a time when women, who entered into marriage, were recognized only as “extensions” of their husbands. Back then, there was a law called “coverture,” which required women to relinquish their legal rights to their husbands upon marriage. Due to this law, married women lost their rights to get an education without their husband’s consent; they were also required to transfer their properties to their husbands, as well as sell or give up ownership of anything, transferring everything under the name of their husband. If ever allowed by their husbands to work, they will have to surrender to them everything they will earn. In the event of divorce, however, there was no guarantee that they will recover any of whatever they have given up.

The unjust effects of the coverture law were eradicated by the Married Women’s Property Act, which introduced and enforced the prenuptial agreement in 1848. It was this Act that gave back to married women all their rights, during and after marriage. Some of the real and actual advantages of the agreement were: preservation of inheritance and family ties; security over both business and personal properties made before marriage; and, assured protection of the financial security of the children.

Premarital agreements also allow for swift court decision on division of properties during a divorce case, saving divorcing couples headache, worry, money and time that lengthy discussions and arguments usually take. Financial experts advise engaged couples, though, who will decide to enter into a premarital agreement, to discuss the issue honestly, openly and candidly, so as not to make it sound and appear hurting or insulting to anyone.

In the city of Austin, Texas, particularly, Austin divorce help is made available to couples in settling the issue of property distribution, making this divorce-related issue easier and faster to settle, especially for couples who entered into a premarital agreement.

Understanding Employer Retaliation And How To Prove It

Understanding Employer Retaliation And How To Prove It

Nov 03

When an employer violates employment laws, an employee has the right to lodge a complaint against the company. A worker who files a discrimination or harassment claim against their employer is protected from retaliation from their employer. Under most laws, it is illegal for management to retaliate against an employee for filing a claim. According to records from the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, a third of most discrimination charges include a retaliation claim.

In a retaliation claim, you need to prove three things for your case to be successful. First, you engaged in a protected activity. Second, your employer took action against you. Finally, there is a causal link between your activity and the action of the employer. Texas employment law attorneys of the Leichter Law Firm will tell you that a successful claim may make an employee eligible to receive lost wages, compensatory damages, punitive damages, and attorney’s fees.

Federal laws that make discrimination illegal also prohibit retaliation against an employee who engages in protected activity. There are two types of protected activity namely opposition and participation. In opposition, an employee who oppose any activity that is illegal under employment laws engage in protected activity. Examples of protected activity include directly complaining of harassment or discrimination or participating in investigations.

Participation, on the other hand, involves employees who file charges of discrimination with the EEOC, participates or assist in investigations, or files or takes part in investigations is protected from retaliation.

The second thing you have to prove in a retaliation case is the negative action of the employer against the employee. Examples of retaliation with materially adverse reactions include demotion, discipline, firing, salary reduction, transfer, change in job assignments, and others. However, the Supreme Court does not confine adverse actions to employment or in the workplace. As long as the action will prevent an employee from making a complaint, it can be considered adverse action.

The third thing you need to prove in a retaliation claim is the connection between the protected activity and the negative action. An activity can only be considered as retaliation if the adverse action was completely related with the complaint.

Is Legal Separation Better Than Divorce?

Is Legal Separation Better Than Divorce?

Aug 04

There comes a point in the lives of married couples when they decide that they are better off living separate lives. Separation is an alternative that couples can consider instead of divorce. Although both separation and divorce will have the married couple living independently, there is also a big difference between the two. The former keeps the couple married despite not living together while the latter formally ends the marriage meaning they can remarry if they choose to.

While there are couples who opt for divorce, the website of Marshall & Taylor PLLC revealed that legal separation is a more attractive option than divorce. Staying married than completely divorced is the better choice due to financial reasons. First and foremost, by choosing to stay married, the couple retains any insurance or health coverage that they maintained as a married couple. This can come in handy if one of them experiences difficulty in securing insurance or health care policy. In fact, such coverage is also included in a separation agreement.
For marriages that are 10 years or longer, an ex-spouse may become eligible to receive a share of their ex-spouses social security benefits. Some couples even forego their separation plans for a year or more in order to reach that 10-year threshold or they come up with special arrangements regarding the pension.

Selling a property or getting a mortgage may not be in one of the couple’s plans as it may become a financial burden to the one who applied for the mortgage. They may also have the option to wait for another opportunity to get a better price. The couple may even opt to live together on the property to prevent financial losses related to that property. Another financial benefit of staying together is the opportunity to get possible increases in deductions and other income tax benefits.

Sometimes the reason couples stay separated has to do with social considerations. For couples with children, it will not be too confusing for their kids. Aside from that, they do not see any real benefit to getting a divorce especially if they do not expect to remarry.

The Jones Act: Providing Compensation to Seamen Who Suffer Job-related Injuries or Illnesses While at Sea

The Jones Act: Providing Compensation to Seamen Who Suffer Job-related Injuries or Illnesses While at Sea

Apr 16

Unlike regular workers or employees (whose work is land-based), those whose job description qualify them to the title “seaman” are not covered by the State-required and regulated Workers’ Compensation, a program that provides financial benefits to workers who sustain injuries while performing their job or who develop work-related illnesses. They are however, covered under the Jones Act, also known as the Merchant Marine Act of 1920, a federal law designed to protect American workers who get ill or injured, or who die at sea. Under this Act, seamen who suffer injuries at sea are legally allowed to recover compensation from their employers. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, water transportation workers usually work for long periods and can be exposed to all kinds of weather.

Though the law does not distinctly define just who may be identified as a “seaman,” it is clear that not all those who work on or near the water qualify for the benefits provided under the Jones Act. This concern leaves maritime lawyers consulting texts of court decisions in order to determine whether a crew member may indeed be identified as a seaman (based on court definition, a seaman is someone who works on a vessel or fleet operating in navigable waters, that is waterways that are being used for interstate or foreign commerce).

The ability to file a lawsuit (based on negligence) is probably the most important benefit the Jones Act ensures those who qualify. Failure to prove employer negligence, however, can result to freedom of an employer from being fully accountable for the injury or illness suffered by his or her workers.

A court may rule that an employer (or a co-worker) is guilty of negligence if he or she takes unreasonable risks which result to a worker getting injured. If negligence is proven, the injured seaman can be awarded economic and non-economic damages. Economic damages covers cost of medical treatment, lost income and loss of earning capacity; non-economic damages, on the other hand, pay for the pains and sufferings of the injured.

Sometimes, rather than a direct act of negligence by an employer or a co-worker, injury or illness turns out to be a consequence of an employer’s failure to improve a vessel’s substandard condition, making the vessel “unseaworthy.” Under the Law of Unseaworthiness, shipowners who fail to provide their workers a seaworthy vessel, a vessel that is appropriate for their intended use, will be held liable for personal injuries sustained by their crew. This law otherwise implies that shipowners have a legal responsibility in ensuring that their ship is manned by a competent crew, is properly equipped and, most important of all, in safe working order.

Besides compensation for economic and non-economic damages, the law firm Williams Kherkher mentions in its website another compensatory benefit that injured crew members can collect: compensation for maintenance and cure. Maintenance refers to the monetary benefit paid to the injured crew member. This benefit in meant to cover room and board expenses or necessary household expenses, like mortgage and utilities. Cure, on the other hand, is meant to cover medical and rehabilitative care until the injured makes as complete a medical recovery as possible. This maintenance and cure benefit is very much like the Workers’ Compensation benefits; it is awarded to injured crew members without taking into account the conduct of the employer or ship owner.

Possible Complications from Medical Malpractice?

Possible Complications from Medical Malpractice?

Nov 07

There is a given trust between civilians and medical practitioners. Some cultures even elect their healers and wise men as their leaders due to the faith that is put onto them. Most every worry falls away when there is a doctor on the scene – as if their title of doctor or other sort of medical practitioner thereby strips them of the possibility to err when it doesn’t.

Sometimes, these professionals make mistakes and these mistakes can cost dearly and cause irreversible damage.

Medical malpractice is a subset of personal injury that deals with cases regarding doctors or other medical practitioners committing a mistake due to negligence, at the expense of their patients. It is a complicated battle as a case of personal injury as it is but with the added factor of medical jargon, it is quite a more difficult ball game.

According to the website of the lawyers with Law Offices of Yvonne M. Fraser, it is recommended then that the help you acquire is not only an experienced professional in the legal court but also capable and comfortable with medical terminologies and knowhow that may make or break the case. It is important for the legal team that is helping you with your medical malpractice complaint to know your medical history and the specific case at hand arguably better than your own physicians in order to represent you in the best possible way.

The consequences are tremendous as even the slightest misdiagnosis or piece of surgical equipment left behind after the procedure can cause severe complications in a medical situation. After all, the human body can be a frail and fragile thing – especially when you leave it so open in what you thought were capable hands. In the worst circumstances but unfortunately common as a result of medical malpractice, the victim ends up as dead or terminal due to the negligent professional’s act.

Fight then for your right to make it right. Seek the best Oceanside Medical Malpractice Lawyer available to you.

Volkswagen Software Rigs Emissions Test

Volkswagen Software Rigs Emissions Test

Sep 24

Volkswagen has a stellar reputation for offering some of the fastest, environmentally conscious, and fun cars to drive. Recently it was discovered that the reason behind the above-satisfactory gas mileage and power within the cars was due to the company deviously skirting U.S. Environmental Protection Agency regulations on nitrogen oxide emissions. The EPA discovered that Volkswagen had installed software that lowered the emission levels of their diesel passenger vehicles only during emissions testing. During normal use, the diesel vehicles would emit 10 to 40 times more emissions than legally regulated, according to The Driscoll Firm website.

While only about 500,000 vehicles in the U.S. are affected by this software, as many as 11 million vehicles worldwide carry the “defeat device.” On September 22, the company agreed to set aside about $7.27 billion, almost half a year’s earnings, in order to fund software installations to replace the corrupt software.

Software in vehicles often exceeds 20 million lines of code, more than some airplanes according the The Wall Street Journal. This code is what is capable of controlling emissions of carbon monoxide and nitrogen oxide, both of which are emitted from burning diesel fuel. Nitrogen oxide contributes to smog and ground-level ozone which can cause a number of health problems in humans that breathe it in.

As the EPA further investigates the software features that signaled Volkswagen passenger vehicles to lower emission levels, software experts have reviewed the capabilities of current vehicle software to determine the how the software recognized when there was an emissions test. A car is capable of collecting data such as tire rotation, use of the accelerator, and other use of car functions to determine if the vehicle is being driven on a road or a testing bed. According to The Driscoll Firm, this is when the car would automatically its nitrogen oxide emissions to meet EPA regulations. Further investigation will reveal the full scope of Volkswagen’s customer deception.

Wrongful Death: Pursuing Legal Action

Wrongful Death: Pursuing Legal Action

Jul 26

It may be that very few situations can match the devastation caused by the sudden death of a loved one. The pain caused by such an even can become even more compounded if it was caused by the negligence or wrongful action of another party. Cases of wrongful death are undoubtedly difficult to bear, filled with days of grief and hardship.

Fortunately, those caught in such a situation can pursue legal action against the party responsible for their loved one’s sudden death. Devastated families can pursue a wrongful death claim as a way to pursue justice and compensation for the avoidable death of their loved one. Cases where a victim dies in an accident proven to be caused by another party’s negligent or reckless behavior can be subjected to a civil lawsuit. Here, the family left behind by the victim can pursue compensation for damages they have incurred due to the tragic incident. According to the website of The Law Offices of Portale Law, the compensation awarded to them following proper proceedings can be used to mitigate medical expenses, funeral costs, and the loss of lifetime earnings.

Wrongful death claims are usually pursued against another individual or a particular entity. In car accidents, for example, grieving families can pursue legal action against the driver found to be at fault for the crash. Meanwhile, incidents of medical malpractice will find hospitals and the staff in their employ to be accountable. Regardless of the particular situation, it’s important to point out that most states recognize a statute of limitations for wrongful death cases. This means that families are given only a limited period of time to seek justice through a civil case. Typically, cases of wrongful death will need to be tried within a period of two-years, although statute of limitations differs depending on state laws.

How Does PCB Exposure Affect Children?

How Does PCB Exposure Affect Children?

May 03

The widespread use of polychlorinated biphenyls or PCBs during the 20th century left devastating effects that continue to be felt today. Aside from the fact that the chemicals once used as coolants for industrial and commercial applications have severely polluted a number of American cities, toxic Monsanto PCBs also pose significant health risks.

According to the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry, PCBs entered the air, water, and soil of areas where it had been manufactured, used, and disposed. Inadvertently, this contamination spread through the organisms living in these areas and eventually worked its way up the food chain. Today, individuals can be exposed to PCBs through eating contaminated fish, meat, and dairy products, drinking from contaminated water sources, as well as breathing in air from affected areas. People can also be exposed to PCBs through the use of old electrical devices and appliances.

Children are among the groups most vulnerable to PCB exposure. The threat of exposure for them starts early on, when a pregnant woman consumes contaminated food or is exposed to PCBs in her workplace. According to several studies, pregnant women who have consumed PCB contaminated fish gave birth to babies that weighed less compared to women who didn’t eat contaminated fish. Another study showed that babies born by these women showed abnormal responses to tests measuring infant behavior. The researchers seem to have found that these babies had problems with motor skills and short-term memory that persisted for the next few years. Other studies also suggest that PCB exposure during or after pregnancy caused babies to have issues with their immune system. Aside from prenatal exposure, babies can also come into contact with PCBs through their mother’s breast milk.

The Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry also point out that definitive data on the effect of PCBs to older children are yet to be gathered. For now, the scientific community can only assume that PCB exposure can pose the same health risks in children as it does in adults. Aside from being classified as a probable human carcinogen, PCBs have been found to affect the nervous, reproductive, endocrine, and immune systems of humans and animals.

What is Workers’ Compensation?

What is Workers’ Compensation?

May 02

Worker’s compensation is the primary safety net for employees that endure injuries while on the job. It is a procedure that outlines the necessary steps a business must take to ensure that an injured employee receives adequate financial compensation. According to the website of JMB Injury Lawyers, this compensation could be for lost wages or medical bills acquired from the workplace injury.

Filing for workers’ compensation is similar to filing for any other insurance claim. The request for benefits is not a lawsuit against the employee’s company. States outline specific obligations that companies have when their employee is injured on the job. This most often includes reimbursement for medical care, temporary disability, permanent disability, or rehabilitation.

Medical care includes any medical expenses that an employee may require to treat their injury. Most workers’ compensation includes access to the company physician for up to 30 days. After this, the injured party may choose to use their own doctor. Often, workers’ compensation even includes round trip mileage to the hospital to receive treatment or medication.

More serious injuries may require temporary or permanent disability leave. When an accident results in a physical injury that inhibits an employee from working, they may be entitled to a fraction of their lost wages while they recover. When the injury is severe enough to completely remove the employee from working or competing for jobs in the work force, they may be entitled to significant financial reward. Permanent disability payment takes into consideration an employee’s occupation, age, extent of injury, and wages at the time of impairment.

Vocational rehabilitation is another option for employees with debilitating injuries. Some workers’ compensation programs will include aid in finding a replacement job. This may include financial assistance during the time of unemployment, similar to temporary disability payments.

Workers’ compensation is a necessary financial aid that injured employees rely on during their time of need. If your employer is wrongfully denying access to your workers’ compensation after sustaining an injury at work, contact a personal injury lawyer in your area to discuss your legal options.