Legal Article Written by HG.org
For generations, bullying has been a problem on the playground and in the classroom. However, with more children having access to electronic devices, a new form of bullying has formed: cyberbullying. This form of bullying can sometimes rise to the level of a criminal offense or a tort in which the parents of a bullied child may be able to recover on a monetary level for the suffering their child has endured.
Debt collectors sometimes use aggressive tactics to secure funds for their clients. However, if they overstep their legal bounds, they may be subject to harassment charges or other causes of action.
Every state recognizes that each parent is responsible for providing support for their children, whether the child lives with each parent or not. However, there are many circumstances when the family court should no longer have jurisdiction of the case or when child support should otherwise end.
Inheritance laws are determined on the state level. These laws come into effect when the person who died left no will or his or her will is invalidated due to not following legal formalities, being the product of undue influence or duress, the testator lacking the requisite capacity or for other reasons as determined under state law. Additionally, some inheritance laws take effect even if a valid will was left and if the will says something that contradicts state law.
Hot checks cost the local and national economy millions of dollars in lost funds that were due for goods and services from individuals and businesses. In response to this epidemic, states across the country have enacted strict hot check laws that are meant to punish the individual who writes worthless checks.
Family courts around the country recognize that spouses own some property that is separate from what they accumulated as a marital couple. Those assets that comprise the marital estate are subject to division at the time of divorce while separate property is generally excluded from a divorce award.
State laws determine how and when a person can be ordered to pay child support. Additionally, these laws dictate the window in which a person can collect arrearages.
The Social Security Administration utilizes a five-step sequential process in which the administration determines whether a claimant meets the definition for being disabled. The steps are followed in the exact order. If a decision is made at any step, the other steps remain uncompleted. However, if the Social Security Administration is unable to make a determination, representatives continue to the next step.
Joint tenancy is one type of concurrent ownership in which two or more individuals own the property simultaneously. Joint tenancy provides a number of benefits to co-owners. However, it also poses certain risks.
Tenancy in common is one form of concurrent ownership in which multiple people own the same piece of property. It contains several unique characteristics and important differences from other types of concurrent ownership. Additionally, severing ownership of the property is different for each type of concurrent ownership.
A subpoena is an order from the court demanding that someone or something be provided to assist in a case. Lawyers who are licensed in the state usually have the power to issue a subpoena. However, individuals who are a party to a lawsuit and other individuals may also be able to issue a subpoena, depending on the rules of civil or criminal procedure in the court that has jurisdiction of the case.
Many financial service providers spout the advantages of a trust, promising that trusts can be used as an asset protection tool and can help your beneficiaries avoid the cost and expense of probate. However, living trusts also carry certain disadvantages with them, which should be carefully considered and weighed against the advantages.
During the course of a marriage, one spouse may steal an asset that the other spouse considers to be his or her own property. Whether the victimized spouse can sue the other spouse for theft depends on a number of factors. State law largely determines this issue.
DUI laws are determined on the state level. Some states allow drivers who have been convicted of a DUI to get limited driving privileges, which is often referred to as a hardship license. However, there may be several criteria that the individual may have to meet in order to obtain such a license.
The probate process is the legal process that is undertaken after a person dies. This process helps to identify the individual’s rightful ownership interests, pay off remaining debts and distribute property in accordance with the will or the laws of intestacy. This process involves several stages.
Probate is a process in which a person’s final affairs are wrapped up, debts are paid off and any remaining assets are distributed according to the terms of a will or the laws of intestacy if there is no valid will. During this time, assets are tied up as beneficiaries impatiently await their share. Probate can also be expensive and time-consuming. For these reasons, many individuals try to avoid probate through one or more of the following ways.
In addition to remedies that are available at the state level, such as garnishment of wages and state tax offset programs, the Deadbeat Parents Punishment Act creates a federal criminal cause of action for parents who refuse to make court-ordered child support payments.
In some circumstances, one spouse may consider suing his or her spouse for particularly egregious conduct. However, whether the spouse can bring a viable claim against his or her spouse depends on the nature of the behavior, the nature of the relationship, state law and the particular circumstances involved.
When individuals hear the phrase “hostile work environment,” they may think that this means that a supervisor or owner of a business curses, hurls things at the wall or is intimating to employees. However, in legal terms, this is not the case. Instead, specific legal criteria must be met for a work environment to meet this legal threshold.
Accomplice liability arises when a person helps another commit a crime with the intent of providing such assistance.
Anyone in need of social security disability benefits knows that money can be an enormous concern when you cannot work. Thus, you may be reluctant to hire an attorney to pursue a claim for social security. Still, there may be both costs and benefits associated with hiring a social security attorney, and you should know what they are before making up your mind.
When a student decides to come to America to pursue an education, he or she often does so with the thought of remaining here to pursue a dream. Unfortunately, many do not realize that it can be quite difficult to obtain a different legal status and the right to work like a naturalized citizen. So, how can one remain in America after finishing school?
Most of us have fallen for it at one time or another. A website offers a “free” or reduced fee trial for its services, but asks for a credit card upfront. It tells you that your membership will automatically renew if you do not cancel before the end of your free trial. You use the service, but do not want to pay for it, so you try to cancel and get charged anyway.
When renting an apartment or other home, you can be at the mercy of your landlord in many ways. Problems like leaks, mold, malfunctioning appliances, and other issues can make your home feel more like a prison. So, what can you do when your landlord fails or refuses to fix serious maintenance issues in your rental property?
Buyers large and small have begun purchasing from foreign sources. Sites like alibaba.com have revolutionized the international market for consumers, while the Internet in general has made it easier for companies to interface and conduct business with others around the world.
Proof beyond a reasonable doubt is the legal standard that the prosecution must meet in order to successfully find a criminal defendant guilty of a crime. This standard applies to each element of the crime.
The laws of intestacy are the default rules that are followed to dispose of a person’s probate estate after he or she dies. These laws are based on state statute. In order to avoid these laws, a decedent can make a will or otherwise dispose of the assets before or at death, such as through a living revocable trust or a testamentary trust.
When accidents occur on the road, we all know that the first thing you do is call the police to report the accident, exchange insurance information, and document the scene. But, what do you do when an accident occurs on private property? Who is liable, especially if the other driver leaves the scene?
In the modern, global world, it is not uncommon for people to migrate from one country to another. Unfortunately, doing so can complicate family issues, particularly after a divorce or when children are involved.
Small claims court provides an alternative avenue for individuals to pursue claims of a lower value, usually for a maximum claim of $5,000. These proceedings tend to be less formal than other types of court proceedings. However, a lawyer’s experience and knowledge may make the difference between winning or losing a case.
Those who board horses in New York, or who allow others to board horses in their stables, occasionally find themselves in legal disputes. Since equine law has grown far less commonplace than it would have been in the 19th Century, it may be difficult to find resources of information on this topic. In fact, most states do not have any statutes expressly dealing with boarding horses outside of animal cruelty provisions and zoning regulations.
Many individuals account for their real estate, securities and tangible property as part of their estate plan. However, much of people’s lives are now online, potentially leaving a person’s digital assets unclaimed or even susceptible to theft. A comprehensive estate plan should address the handling of digital assets.
Having a will helps prevent a testator’s estate from passing through the laws of intestacy. However, if the will is not executed properly, these rules can apply if the will is considered invalid or does not completely dispose of all property under the will.
For torts, crimes and even the collection of debt, there are laws regarding how long a claim is actionable. These laws help provide a sense of finality for affected individuals so that they do not have to forever be worried about potential adverse effects.
Verbal agreements are contracts even though they were not memorialized in a writing. Assuming that the contract is valid, the verbal agreement between two parties is binding. However, verbal contracts may have unique complications to them.
When a couple makes the decision to divorce, it is never an easy choice. Many factors weigh heavily on the decision, and this can be particularly true when there are children involved.
Anyone who has walked down a public street, driven a car, entered a store, or engaged in virtually any other activity outside of their own home has undoubtedly been recorded. Sometimes the surveillance is obvious and other times it is not. So, what are the bounds of privacy and how far can private entities or the government go in surveilling someone without a warrant while they are in a public place?
Individuals who have not received the money that they are due for the work that they have already completed may choose to pursue an unpaid wage claim. This process may be completed through a state agency or a private cause of action.
Marital rape is nonconsensual sex between two spouses. Marital rape is believed to occur in significant numbers but is underreported. However, this sexual crime may be treated differently than other sexual crimes, depending on the law of the jurisdiction where the charge is filed.
As baby boomers represent a higher number of paid employees, the number of age discrimination complaints filed with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. Between the years 1997 and 2007, approximately 16,000 to 19,000 complaints were filed a year. However, the number grew from 23,000 to 25,000 since 2008.
While divorce is often an emotionally-trying experience, at its core, it is a matter of ending a contract between two parties. One of the most contentious aspects of a divorce involves financial matters. In some cases, attorneys or private parties hire forensic accountants to uncover assets and to provide expert testimony at their divorce hearing.
Many homeowners eventually find themselves in the position of wanting to rent their property. Unfortunately, home ownership does not come with a legal manual full of all the necessary forms to set up a lease arrangement.
When it comes to fights with one’s employer, things can be pretty one-sided. Many employees do not know how to fight unfair pay or labor standards, and are afraid to do much for fear of losing their job. So, what are some American wage and hour laws, and how can you go about enforcing them?
Many clients come to attorneys when they have accidentally violated a court order. Whether due to an accident or misunderstanding, the consequences can be quite severe. So, what can be done when you have accidentally violated a court order?
Once known pejoratively as “anchor babies,” the children of foreign nationals born on American soil have traditionally had a right to automatic citizenship. As a result, immediate family members would seek their own citizenship by virtue of the close relationship. But, after years of debate on the topic of immigration reform, are anchor babies still legal?
Wills allow individuals to avoid the state’s rules about who gets what portion of a decedent’s estate. They also allow individuals to name their executors, name a guardian for their children and bequeath specific items to certain individuals. However, if a will is not properly executed, the will can be invalidated and the rules of intestacy (dying without a will) can apply.
Attorneys frequently receive questions regarding defective used cars. All too often, people purchase a used vehicle with verbal assurances that everything works fine and that it will be quite reliable, only to discover that neither is the case. What can you do when this happens to you?
Cases involving train accidents and resulting injuries have a number of significant differences from other personal injury cases. By being aware of the following information, you can make a more informed decision about whether to pursue a train accident case.
Not all forms of discrimination or harassment are illegal. Simply because a person is singled out because his or her boss does not like him or her, this does not mean that the person has an actionable claim. Instead, the individual must be considered part of a protected class by state or federal law. Additionally, the discriminatory or harassing conduct must be because of membership in this protected class.
Everyday, millions of Americans go on interviews, and everyday employers walk through a legal minefield of potentially dangerous questions. While some of the questions may seem harmless and intended solely to get to know the interviewee, they could actually open the company up to liability for various types of discrimination should that individual not receive an offer for the position.
It is quite common for people to want to help their relatives gain US citizenship. But, is it just as easy as marrying someone and they immediately have citizenship? Not anymore.
Attorneys often experience a passionate client coming into their office and insisting that they have a case based on something they read about happening in another country. In other instances, people will invoke rights they believe they have under treaties or international agreements like the Geneva Convention. Thus, many wonder whether American courts must follow international laws?
When litigating a case, it is not uncommon to hear attorneys and judges discuss different remedies. Sometimes, this means different theories as to why the plaintiff should be compensated in cash for a dispute. But, other times this may actually refer to the kind of relief to which the plaintiff should be entitled. So, what are equitable, compensatory, and declaratory relief?
The case is over and you have received a judgment for your damages. Now what? How do you collect a money judgment if the defendant does not simply cut you a check?
Before plunging into the waters of divorce, women can take several steps to help make the process easier. Decisions made immediately prior to divorce can have a financial impact for years to come.
There are thousands of personal injury attorneys available to assist victims who are injured in accidents that are caused by negligent individuals and entities. However, there are vast differences between lawyers. Before hiring a personal injury attorney, interview several and inquire about the following matters.
Every year, individuals are injured due to the negligent acts of others. These types of claims involve individuals who have been injured because of accidents. These accidents could have been prevented. A successful negligence lawsuit provides monetary recovery for the victim and punishes the careless person or entity responsible for the accident.
Some find it surprising, but it is not that uncommon for family law attorneys to hear the question “how does a minor get emancipated?” Reasons for emancipation can vary widely, from unhappy home environments to needing to grant a minor independence to govern his or her own affairs.
The gap between the richest and poorest people in the United States is bigger than in any other country in the world. As a result, homelessness has become a serious and widespread problem in America. But, how has society come to deal with this issue? Are there any special laws regarding homeless people?
Once, expectant parents were quite concerned about marrying before a child was born in order to protect that child's claims to legitimacy. There was a time when legitimacy was a very important legal consideration, particularly when it came to inheritance rights. Today, the role of legitimacy in a child's birth rights is very different than it once was.
The decision to end a pregnancy is rarely an easy one. Social issues, health concerns, or a wide array of other factors may be the reason for terminating the pregnancy, but the consequences can be devastating. Making matters worse, legal considerations have so deeply muddied the waters on a woman's right to choose that it is not always clear when one can have an abortion.
Any trip to the doctor can be scary, but more so when one faces a medical emergency. Still, most people place an enormous amount of trust in their medical professionals, whether doctors, nurses, or other medical staff. Unfortunately, despite that trust, every year thousands of medical mistakes occur. When they do, the consequences can range from nothing happening to the death of a patient.
If you are involved in an accident, being able to take pictures of the scene can make the difference between winning or losing your case. Photographs can help provide a more objective perspective to the case, whether the accident is a motor vehicle accident, a slip and fall injury or another type of injury.
In addition to the testimony of the arresting officer’s observations, the prosecution may introduce evidence during a DUI trial regarding test results that implicate the defendant. However, a number of test results may be challenged during the course of the defense.
As much as getting a divorce is an emotional decision, it is also a financial decision. Once someone has made the decision to pursue a divorce, he or she should immediately take steps to safeguard his financial and legal interests.
Plaintiffs will want to know whether the defendant has the means to pay off a judgment before going to trial. Additionally, plaintiffs will want to know about the defendant’s assets if they have received a judgment against the defendant. There are several legal avenues that plaintiffs can pursue to determine the location and value of the defendant’s assets that may eventually be used to satisfy a judgment.
Anyone who has had a disagreement with a landlord has probably wondered if they could withhold rent until the issue was resolved. To the surprise of many, there are actually circumstances under which a tenant can lawfully withhold rent and not have to worry about getting evicted. So what are those circumstances?
Almost everyone has, at one time or another, come up just a little short when they needed to pay a bill or meet some other financial obligation. For many, services like check cashing and payday advances can be one way to deal with this dilemma, but they come with hefty fees and other considerations. So, what are the laws regarding check cashing and payday advances?
As options for television channels have increased, satellite TV has become a very popular alternative to cable. Unfortunately, to receive these broadcasts, one needs to install a satellite dish on the outside of a building, and this can lead to disputes. Thus, many ask “can anyone stop me from putting up a satellite dish?”
Anyone who has ever found someone else's wallet has probably experienced that momentary moral dilemma of deciding whether to return the wallet or to keep the contents. Wherever you may have come down on that decision, the law actually does have some fairly clear guidelines for how such situations should be handled.
When scanning through ads for used cars, it is not uncommon to spot a few amazing deals that come with a small caveat: “salvage title.” What is a salvage title, how will it affect you as a buyer, and what rights and guarantees will you have if you decide to purchase such a vehicle?
Two individuals or entities may reach an agreement regarding any course of business and put this agreement in the form of a contract. If one of the parties does not uphold his end of the bargain, the non-breaching party may pursue legal remedies for this breach. In order to prevail with such a lawsuit, the moving party must establish certain legal elements.
The term “tort reform” has been a favorite in the news for years, but what does it really mean? What is a tort, why does it need to be reformed, and what kind of change needs to be made?
Every year, thousands of citizens in the United States decide that they would like to make a change in the way the country runs. To do this, they opt to run for office. Whether a local position or a national office, running for election can be complicated. What do you need to know in order to get your campaign started?
The Internet has brought many benefits to modern civilization. Unfortunately, just as with any technology, it also has a dark side. So, when a website publishes embarrassing content about you, what can you do?
Riots have erupted all over the United States in recent years, often in the wake of racial tensions created by police activities. Often beginning as peaceful protests, these demonstrations sometimes degenerate into violent riots where people and property suffer harm, leaving innocent people to pick up the pieces. This has led many to ask who should pay for the damage after a riot?
The American economy has changed quite a bit over the last few decades. One of the biggest changes over the last 100 years has been a shift away from small, family owned stores to the “big box” megastore.
For decades, the federal Employment Non-Discrimination Act has failed to pass, which would sweeping protections to members of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender communities in the workforce. Without this law, transgender employees do have some protections, but not as many as people who have been traditionally protected under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.
Consequences for DUI convictions, especially subsequent convictions, can be quite serious, resulting in a loss of freedom, hefty fines, loss of driving privileges and social and professional consequences. A DUI defense lawyer can discuss whether any of the following defenses may apply in your case to help you get your charges reduced or even your case dismissed completely.
The fruit of the poisonous tree doctrine prevents the prosecution from admitting certain evidence into a criminal case after it has been tainted by a primary illegality. This doctrine is meant to remove illegally-acquired evidence from negatively impacting a criminal defendant.
Injured employees across the country are able to receive medical treatment and have a portion of their wages replaced after being injured in a work-related accident or becoming ill on the job through the workers’ compensation program. Employers and employees both have a number of responsibilities under the program.
After being involved in a motor vehicle accident, it is important that you or someone with you be able to establish an accurate depiction of the scene. This is so vital that many insurance companies included a disposable camera as one of the items in their emergency preparedness handouts to clients. Now, with the advent of modern technology, many people have cameras in their possession at a moment’s notice.
Employees in the United States are protected by a number of key regulations. In addition to any laws on the state level, employees are also protected by more than 180 federal laws administered by the Department of Labor alone. Here are some of the more common forms of protection.
Noisy dogs are a common legal dispute. After all, while pet owners may feel annoyance at a dog that barks at every little noise, a neighbor has absolutely no control over training the dog not to respond in this manner. Thus, as the neighbor, what can you do legally to get the pet owner to quiet his noisy animal?
Attorneys can be very expensive. They are highly trained professionals with in-demand skills that make them able to charge increasingly high fees for their time, knowledge, and services. But, some attorneys are willing to offer at least a portion of their time to help the less fortunate. So, how do you get pro bono legal representation?
Frequently, the people who need an attorney the most are also the ones who can least afford to pay for one. Whether accused of a crime, injured in an accident, or facing the possibility of losing your children, there are many situations where the stakes are so high that you might desperately need an attorney even though you have no way to pay. So, how do you hire an attorney when you have no money?
When preparing to deal with legal matters, many people experience concern over the expense associated with using an attorney. As a result, many have sought do-it-yourself solutions or paralegal services to help them with their cases. This leads many to ask what the real difference is between an attorney and a paralegal?
Imagine someone enters onto your property without your permission. Perhaps it is a child playing in the neighborhood, a stranger who does not belong there, or an uninvited acquaintance that has turned up on the property without permission. Now imagine that person is hurt while on your property without permission. Who is responsible? You? Them? A third party?
People injured in DUI cases often sustain life-changing injuries. Frequently, these injuries mean the victims will require expensive medical attention, either for a short period of time or for the rest of their lives. Of course, individual drunk drivers may not have the resources to fully compensate victims in these situations.
Congratulations on planning to start your own business. But, as many a budding entrepreneur has discovered, it is not as easy as picking a name and opening a shop. To actually establish a business, you need to make a few choices and go through a series of filings. So, how do you setup a corporation?
Attorneys hear this question quite frequently: what makes a contract valid? In truth, many components come together to make a valid contract, but some are essential while others are merely useful or even extraneous. So, here are the components of a valid contract:
The individual who is found to be at fault for the car accident is the party who is ultimately responsible for paying for the damage that was caused by this individual’s negligence. However, when fault is not clear or two or more parties were at fault, fault may be apportioned between the negligent parties. A further analysis under the comparative or contributory negligence laws under the state is also necessary.
Garnishments can result in the withholding of up to 25 percent of a person’s disposable wages, according to federal law. However, there may be a number of objections that a debtor can raise to reduce or eliminate the garnishment.
In a typical debtor/creditor case, a creditor must go to court and get a judgment against a debtor before it can take part in collection efforts on the debt, such as garnishment or property assignments. Parents who are not receiving the support that they are entitled to receive per an existing court order do not typically have to go through the process of getting a judgment to have wages automatically withheld from the other parent’s wages.
Most parents are concerned with the things their children see and hear in the media. It is an ugly world out there, and while it may be inevitable that they will eventually learn about all of those things, most parents do not want their kids to see graphic violence or mature content or hear offensive language at too your an age.
In the United States, every child is entitled to a free public education. Additionally, having a disability triggers additional protections under law for primary and secondary students. Likewise, once a post-secondary student identifies as having a disability, he or she is entitled to additional rights.
Buses are generally thought of as fairly safe forms of transportation. Otherwise millions of school children would not ride buses to school everyday, millions more commuters would not use them to get to and from work, and others would not use them to take cross-country trips or go on tours. They also tend to be in fewer accidents than cars and motorcycles.
Children seem to grow up faster today than ever before. As a result, many teens feel the pressure to enter into sexual relationships with their peers at younger and younger ages. This has created an interesting dilemma in the law regarding whether one minor can be charged with statutory rape for having a sexual relationship with another minor.
Many find it surprising to know that violence has actually been on a steady decline for decades. Unfortunately, it does still happen. Often, altercations occur in a public location, such as a bar or club, a store, or a park or public street. When an attack occurs, what can you do to defend yourself and who is liable for any harm you suffer?
Most people who own a car rely on it for getting virtually everywhere they need to go. That may include school, church, the store, or to pick up the kids; but for most, it primarily includes work. Thus, when you are late on your car payments, it may seem terribly ironic that the bank wants to deprive you of the means of getting to work to pay them back faster, but that is exactly what could happen.
Having an eyewitness testify that he or she saw the suspect commit the crime or some act associated with the crime can be powerful evidence for a prosecutor. Realizing this, the United States Supreme Court and state courts across the country have established strict guidelines regarding police lineups.
While the first step in getting child or spousal support is to get a court order, this is only the beginning of the process. Unfortunately, many support orders go unpaid. However, there are a variety of ways that such orders can be enforced.
Black eyes, broken bones, missed days from school or work. For some, these may seem familiar. Whether they are occurring to you or someone you know, it is important to know that we can all help stop domestic violence.
They are frequently in the news, passing out fliers about not paying taxes, and conducting meetings in local hotels and restaurants about not being beholden to the government. Often referred to as “sovereign citizens,” these groups believe that they have found loopholes that exclude them from following laws by which they do not wish to abide. But, are sovereign citizen groups right, or is their interpretation of the law off base?
There are few things that feel more violating than finding that someone has hacked into your phone or computer. When this happens, the first reaction may be to call the authorities and report the breach. But, many are surprised to find that police are not always terribly interested to hear about the event. So, what can you do if someone hacks your computer or phone?
In an increasingly surveillance-based society, it may seem that cameras are everywhere around us. If you look around, you may find cameras in unexpected places that you pass on a daily basis. But, how far can all of this surveillance go? Are there places that cameras are not allowed? Where is it legal to put surveillance cameras?
One of the most common legal procedures that is also one of the most commonly misrepresented in the media is service of process. Many have heard the term or read about it as a procedure that must be followed in a lawsuit, but few really understand what it is or how to do it correctly. So, what is service of process?
Whether your insurance policy is governed by a no-fault or an at-fault regime can have a direct and significant impact on how your claim is handled and the possible compensation that you may receive after being injured in an automotive accident.
The Americans with Disabilities Act was passed to help the United States benefit from the skills and talents of individuals who happen to have disabilities. It strives to break down barriers individuals with disabilities experienced regarding employment, public accommodations, public services, transportation and telecommunications.
Many cities around the US deal with the problem of graffiti art everyday. Sometimes it may be a name, a threat, an image, a symbol, or a brilliant canvas of the graffiti artist's imagination. Whatever the case, it usually involves painting something on someone else's property. So, whose rights should win out? The artist's right to free speech or the property owner's right to the quiet use and enjoyment of their own property?
As more people move into cities, the popularity of self-propelled vehicles is on the rise. Millions of Americans ride bikes to work or school every day in every one of the United States. Others ride recreationally. Whatever the case, it is important for these bicyclists to know the laws affecting the safe use and operation of their human-powered vehicles before taking them out on the roads and sidewalks.
Most people are familiar with the concept of a criminal commitment (i.e. a prison or jail sentence). But not everyone has heard of the concept of an involuntary civil commitment. So, what is this, how does it fit into the American legal structure, and when is it used?
Sometimes, infatuation can turn into something more dangerous. A person may have such a strong connection in their mind to someone else, even if they have never met them in person, that they can being to act very irrationally. When that person crosses a line, he or she may become a stalker. So, what can one do about a stalker?
Let's face it, bankruptcy is a scary concept. It entails doing something that will erase portions of your debt, restructure other parts, and appear as a black mark on a credit report for seven to ten years. Still, there may be times when it is wisest to simply throw in the towel and get a fresh start. Thus, when it is necessary to do so, how do you declare bankruptcy?
The United States provides a special visa for a person who is engaged to a United States citizen to come to the United States to get married. However, the process works a little differently when the spouses marry abroad.
Hearing that there is an eyewitness to a crime can cause a great degree of apprehension in a criminal case. However, there are several ways that a criminal defense lawyer can challenge such eyewitness testimony.
If you have ever looked at a warning label on food or medicine, you may have noticed something that said “FDA Warning,” or “The FDA requires.” But what is the FDA, what does it do, and how does it enforce its rules?
Anyone who has watched an American crime show (and even some in other countries) probably have heard someone “read their rights.” But, what are these, why do police always say them, and how do they work?
It seems like every year another cult ends up in the media, having amassed weapons, engaged in child sex crimes, or after killing or abducting someone. This has led many to ask how cults remain legal in the United States.
The use of deadly force is an extremely sobering event. Despite dozens of expressions that joke about shooting somebody, choosing whether or not to actually use potentially lethal levels of violence against someone is no laughing matter. If you need to make this decision, it is important to understand when it is okay to take such action and when it is not.
Water skiiing is a lot of fun. The thrill of “standing” on the water, whizzing along at incredible speeds, and the inevitable splash at the end. But, what happens when something goes wrong and someone is injured while out there water skiing?
Class action lawsuits are commonly heard on television and radio commercials. They often involve defective products or predatory lending schemes. They provide several benefits to litigants by allowing them to join together for a common goal.
Some of the most critical mistakes in a criminal case occur after a suspect is arrested. Here is a list of things to do and not to do if you find yourself in this predicament.
Even if a person is embroiled in litigation, he or she can still benefit from the process of mediation. Lawyers can assist their clients with this process in a number of ways before, during and after litigation.
People are injured in accidents every day. When this occurs, individuals are often dealing with a number of stressful events at one time. They may have suffered injuries and are missing time from work to recover. They may have sustained damage to their only vehicle and not have an alternative form of transportation.
When a person needs to hire an attorney, one of the first questions he or she asks is how much it will cost. Different attorneys charge different ways for their work. Here is an overview of some of the possibilities.
Divorce is often an emotionally and financially draining time. However, a qualified divorce attorney can help make the process easier. Here are some of the pivotal roles and tasks that divorce lawyers help their clients with.
It is easy for small businesses to gloss over hiring a lawyer because other matters, such as marketing, operations and advertising seem more pressing. Many legal issues may not be of immediate concern to small business owners who easily justify holding off on paying for these services. However, there are many ways that lawyers can help small businesses.
With a variety of self-help forms and resources available to individuals today, it may be tempting to attempt to do legal work yourself and avoid the often expensive endeavor of having to hire a lawyer. However, many tasks are better suited for a professional.
While every disability law firm handles cases slightly differently, there are many similarities between the firms. Here is an overview of how a disability attorney handles Social Security claims.
Not every personal injury is the same. Likewise, not every personal injury attorney is the same. Before you go through the expense of hiring a personal injury lawyer who is not a good fit, consider these issues.
We just received a phone call from a scammer informing us that we were entitled to $9,000 of Government Grants.
When a person reaches out to a divorce lawyer for the first time, there are certain things that he or she should be aware of. Here is an overview of the initial consultation and some tips to make the best of this experience.
Small business lawyers play a vital role in the formation and retention of a business. They are also a source of trust and expertise for small businesses that must rely on their work and advice. Here are several questions to ask a small business lawyer before deciding to hire him or her.
A subpoena is a court-ordered mandate telling a person to show up in court or a deposition at a certain time or to provide a party of a case with certain information. Individuals who ignore a subpoena can find themselves in civil or criminal contempt of court. However, a person may not need to blindly comply with the subpoena.
While car accidents are often traumatic events, the things that people do and don’t do immediately after a collision often have a dramatic impact on the outcome of their car accident claim. Here are a few things to do and not to do after a car accident to keep in mind if involved in a car accident.
Although some individuals may opt not to hire an attorney to handle their DUI case, there are several situations in which a defendant can benefit from having a private attorney. Here are some issues to consider when making this important decision.
In order for a will to be valid, it must comply with certain legal formalities. There are dire consequences of a will not following these formalities, including the decedent’s estate being distributed according to the rules of intestacy and the will being completely ignored. While the legal requirements vary by state, here are some guidelines that many states have regarding the creation of a valid will.
Cyber-bullying has become a very big problem in America, and it is not just limited to children. Every day, thousands of people have to contend with negative, abusive, insulting, and threatening comments posted on, or linked to, their social media accounts. This has left many to wonder if there is anything they can do – from a legal standpoint – to protect themselves.
Someone has passed away and that person's friends, family, and loved ones are left to sort out what to do with the things that are left behind. This can include both assets and liabilities. Whether a will was left or not, it is often important to understand how inheritance laws work in order to avoid disputes and keep anyone from being left with nothing but debt.
Since the rise of the Internet, the illegal sharing of music, movies, and software have been an ongoing concern. Still, not every peer-to-peer network for sharing various forms of media is illegal, and some companies have even found it desirable to begin distributing materials in this fashion. So, when is it legal to download music, movies, or software via torrents on the Internet?
Ever bought something only to discover it did not work? Usually a larger retailer will take the item back, but some smaller companies are not always so willing to do so. When this happens, what can you, as the consumer, do about it?
They are a routine part of our modern, online world: Internet scams are a daily annoyance for many. Often found in annoying emails, website popups, and other dark corners of the web, these digital scam artists seem to be everywhere today. And, with many of these scams operating overseas, it has left many to wonder what they can do if they fall victim to the tricks of someone from another country.
While individual states may vary as to how they calculate child support, one constant is that states recognize that both parents have the legal duty to provide their children with basic necessities and to provide for their needs. The duration of a child support order depends on a number of factors.
When a creditor wants to ensure that it will quickly receive the funds that it is due, it may go after any funds or assets that it can get its hands on. In some situations, creditors may prefer to garnish a bank account rather than go after an employee’s wages. In many situations, the creditor may be able to access funds in a joint account.
If a creditor knows that a debtor is working, one effective method for the creditor to collect on this debt is to have the debtor’s wages garnished. However, there are several laws that apply that can affect the garnishment process.
If a consumer is injured by a defective product, he or she may have a variety of avenues available to protect him or her.
While a summons may require another party in the case to appear, a subpoena can require that a particular person appear in court or for other proceedings. Additionally, this legal tool can be used to acquire information that one of the party desires.
Many employers use a variety of pre-employment tests to help find qualified employees. However, some strategies may be illegal if the test is targeted to weed out individuals with disabilities.
If there is an order that was entered in your family law case and the other party is not following the order, you may decide to pursue a contempt hearing. This is one method that individuals use to help enforce their order.
After you received a court judgment, you probably thought that your case was over. However, there are several steps remaining in the process, including the collection of your judgment. Fortunately, you have a few avenues to get the money that is due to you.
Every year, thousands of people are hurt or killed in motorcycle accidents. Motorcycles are inherently more dangerous to operate than other motor vehicles because they do not offer any structure to absorb an impact. As a result, many wonder whether motorcyclists must wear helmets or other protective gear, and under what circumstances?
Most people see their pets in a light similar to their own children. So, when a dog misbehaves it may be easy for an owner to overlook the bad behavior and forgive the errant puppy. But, what if the dog bites someone? Are there legal ramifications? What should an owner do?
You have just found the perfect spot. It is right where you need it, the rent is just right, and you love the floorplan. Things seem great until one day you come home to find the landlord or one of the maintenance people in your home without your permission.
Probation is a conditional sentence, meaning that if the defendant does not comply with the conditions, the probation can be revoked and the suspended jail sentence can be imposed. Probation conditions vary widely by geographic region, as well as the type of court that entered the probation. In some cases, a judge may impose specific provisions, while in others, a probation officer may impose certain conditions.
It is late at night, you have to work in the morning, but all you can hear is the thumping of your neighbor's stereo next door. You have asked them to turn it down before, but they do not seem to get it and the racket continues. Now, it is time to take things to the next level. So, what can you do about a noisy neighbor?
It is a sad fact, but every day thousands of companies around the world violate laws designed to protect the environment in order to cut costs and increase profits. If you suspect your company is doing so, or if you have witnessed the pollution yourself, you may be wondering what you can do to prevent it and whether there are any laws in place to protect you from the company's wrath after you do so.
Every year, people flock to different locations for a change of scenery. Whether contracting with a vacation home agency, organization, national chain or individual homeowner, there may be a variety of remedies available if the home is not available upon arrival. However, the first step is usually to try to work it out before seeking legal remedies.
Historically, women have earned less than their male counterparts. Nationally, women make about 78 cents on the dollar that each man earns for the same job. However, a variety of laws have been passed to help ensure women of fair pay. Here is an overview of those laws and the steps you can take to ensure that you, as an employee, are receiving a fair rate of pay.
Anyone who has seen a cop show has probably memorized a person’s “rights.” The common warnings regarding the right to remain silent and the right to consult a lawyer are well known. However, citizens may not be aware of the implications of what happens when these rights are not read or given to them.
Before a class action lawsuit can proceed, the class must be certified. This process ensures that the plaintiffs have enough similarities to proceed with litigation against the named defendant as part of one larger case.
It is rare, but sometimes restaurants either make mistakes or intentionally put their customers in harm's way. This can result in an array of conditions, generically referred to as “food poisoning.” So, if you experience food poisoning, can you sue someone for the harm you have suffered?
Travel is supposed to be enjoyable. The thrill of visiting someplace new, the relaxation of stepping away from the daily grind, and the enjoyment of experiencing something new and different. But, even when away from home accidents can happen. If you experience a motor vehicle accident in a rented car, whose insurance pays?
For many Americans, the right to have and use a gun is quite precious. Viewed as a way to combat tyranny, to protect one's home and person, and as a tool for recreation, guns are a big part of the American way of life. But how far does the right to bear arms really go?
How often have we heard someone say “It's a free country, I can say what I want to?” In most cases, that person is correct. But, America does not always allow free speech without constraint.
Blackmail is a term often thrown around somewhat loosely. Often it is used to mean that someone is making you do something you would prefer not to. That is not technically the definition of blackmail. True blackmail is a serious crime. It can have devastating financial and social consequences, subjecting the victim to intense psychological trauma. That is why it is important to know that if blackmail is happening now, or has happened in the past, there are things you can do about it.
Prosecutorial discretion may be exercised in certain immigration cases to permit individuals to remain in the country. On November 20, 2014, Jeh Charles Johnson released a memorandum entitled “Policies for the Apprehension, Detention and Removal of Undocumented Immigrants.”
Updated March 2015 - If you received a letter from this scammer, please contact HG.org at http://www.hg.org/contactus.asp. We are gathering information about a scam using the HG.org logo. The letters are sent by a scammer using the name of lawyer office Ramon Pérez Lucena. The letters are mailed from Valencia, Spain. The scammer requests 50-50 split on €7.5 million left in an account.
Accidents happen. Whether it is a slip and fall, a car crash, or a sports injury, accidents can happen many ways and in any variety of different places. Typically, after an accident, the first call is for emergency medical attention. That help is usually delivered by an emergency medical technician. But, what happens when these people make mistakes?
Moving out of a rented property can be an exciting time. The thoughts of a new home or office and all that it has in store may be what dominates your thoughts. But, it can also be a stressful time, as well. This is particularly true when you are counting on getting your deposit back only to discover that your former landlord is trying to keep it or even charge you additional fees on top of it. If you believe these charges are unjust, what can you do to fight it?
A cruise vacation is supposed to be a relaxing, enjoyable experience. But, they do not always end that way. An increasing number of passengers in recent years have experienced illness or injuries while on their vacation. Often, this has been the fault of the cruise line, itself. If this happens, what can you do?
After the recent slate of canceled flights resulting from unprecedented snowfall across the northern part of the United States, many passengers have found themselves stranded. This makes many passengers miss important events, lose deposits, or suffer other losses. As a result, many of these stranded passengers find themselves asking “if the airline cancels my flight, can I sue them?”
Surprisingly large numbers of drivers either do not know or do not remember the laws affecting rights of way when on the road. This is evident at intersections every day, where drivers proceed without the right of way, often resulting in accidents with other vehicles or pedestrians. In other cases, there may not be an accident, but it could result in a traffic ticket. So what are the laws of rights of way, and when must a driver yield?
Although some states permit marijuana use for medical or recreational reasons, federal housing is based on federal laws. At the time of publication, marijuana use was still outlawed by federal law. However, guidance from the Department of Housing and Urban Development shows the nuances in laws that federal housing projects are currently laboring under.
In many car accident cases, a central question is who is ultimately liable for the accident. Even if a person is at fault, his or her level of liability may be reduced or eliminated based on the laws of his or her state.
The Immigration and Nationality Act allows individuals to change their immigration status while they are in the United States. They may have begun as a nonimmigrant or a temporary alien but now wish to be classified as a permanent immigrant.
Not all businesses have policies in place that will allow you to have a full refund if you are not satisfied with goods. However, there may be a variety of remedies available to you if you are not satisfied with an order of goods that you received.
When love turns sour, the effects of a relationship ending can be devastating. When the only solution left is to seek a divorce, knowing where to begin is often confusing and may seem overwhelming.
For anyone living in a city where foot and bike traffic are common, the question is often asked: is a bicycle a car or a pedestrian?
For the thousands of people involved in same-sex relationships in the United States, times have really begun to change. After decades of fighting for equal rights, many states have slowly begun to allow gay and lesbian couples to experience the same rights, benefits, and privileges associated with marriage as straight couples have always been allowed.
Moving can be both exciting and stressful. It can be thrilling to imagine new adventures in a new location, but it can also be quite worrisome trying to make sure everything is considered. Switching utility services off and on, setting up mail forwarding, getting furniture moved; it can all be a bit overwhelming.
Children are often the unfortunate pawns of battles between exes. Sometimes motivated by desires to hurt the other parent or out of a selfish desire to be the sole or primary influence on the child's life, these battles can be emotionally challenging for both parents and children alike. So, if you see such a battle looming on the horizon, what can you do? How can you avoid a fight that will harm your child while preserving your own interest in being with your son or daughter?
There are numerous ways in which a product may be considered defective. Once an item enters the stream of commerce and injures someone, the victim may be able to pursue a products liability claim against the party found to be responsible.
Bait and switch is a common deceptive sales practice that advertises an item for sale to entice customers to come to the store. Once the customer arrives in anticipation of the discounted item, he or she is told that the item is not available and is directed toward a more expensive alternative.
While many individuals are aware of their right not to incriminate themselves, they may also be able to prevent another person from testifying against them. The law recognizes several privileges that prohibit certain individuals from testifying against a person.
Even though you do not have a legal education, a pro se plaintiff or defendant is still expected to comply with the same rules of evidence as seasoned lawyers. In federal cases, the federal rules of evidence must be followed. In state cases, state and local court rules must be followed to ensure that the judge receives relevant and reliable information.
Each state has specific rules regarding child support and the amount to be awarded. In some situations, a case calls for a deviation from the norm, causing the amount of child support to be greater or less than the amount specified in the child support formula.
Alimony, or spousal support, helps to provide a financial supplement to a lower-earning spouse to cover some of his or her living expenses. It is not available in all cases and is treated differently than child support, which is to take care of the child’s expenses.
In order for a plaintiff to prevail with a lawsuit, there must be an existing framework for recovery. Simply put, individuals generally do not have a cognizable cause of action based on someone simply being rude to them. However, state statutes and case law determine whether there is a recognized cause of action. The following causes of action may be available to a person who has been slighted, depending on the state law that has jurisdiction over the case.
While parodies often cause a good laugh, their influence can be much more dramatic and long-lasting. Because parodies provide an important historic reference and social commentary, they enjoy certain protections under the First Amendment and in copyright cases.
Some job applicants decide to lie on their application, in their resume or in answers to interview questions in hopes that these lies or exaggerations will help them land the job. However, employing one of these tactics can cause an individual his or her job.
When business owners hear that a customer is going through the process of bankruptcy, they may start to write off the debt. However, this may cause business owners to lose funds to which they are entitled. By being aware of their rights and following these steps, business owners can protect their bottom line.
The Fifth Amendment to the United States Constitution provides individuals the right not to serve as a witness against themselves. Through this amendment, a witness may prevent the disclosure of evidence that can ultimately be used against him or her in a criminal case. There are a variety of situations in which a person may assert this privilege.
While it may defy common sense, a trespasser who is injured on a property owner’s land may be able to successfully sue a property owner. Fortunately for homeowners, this is not always the case. Additionally, several nuances can tilt a case one way or the other.
Much has been made over the last few years about net neutrality. Still, most people are confused by what this term refers to and why it matters. This confusion is understandable given the misleading nature of the name, and the way it is often misapplied in the media. But, net neutrality is actually a very important concept to understand and one that could directly impact the way the Internet works and how we all use it.
The time after a car accident can be frightening and confusing. What will happen to your car? Will your insurance pay, and if they do will your rates go up? Will anybody face criminal charges? Could you be sued? These and many more questions are likely racing around the minds of most people after an accident.
Millions of Americans fear what can happen during a traffic stop. The names “Ferguson” and “Rodney King” have taken on a significance in the national psyche that will not soon be shaken.
When one parent lives in another country, it can be extremely difficult for the other parent to enforce an existing child support order. However, some cases are not quite as complex as others.
Federal laws exist that mandate the cooperation between various child support enforcement agencies in the enforcement of child support orders. While assistance may be available, collecting child support when one parent lives in another state usually takes longer and is more difficult than collection efforts when both parents reside in the same state.
The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act was enacted in 1977 in order to curtail abuses by debt collection companies. The act provides protections to consumers against harassing tactics, empty threats, telephone contact and dissemination of credit information by third-party debt collection companies. It also provides remedies to individuals who have had their rights violated regarding these matters.
Third-party debt collectors must conform to a certain set of rules that are prescribed by a variety of federal and state laws. The primary consumer protection law that debt collection agencies must adhere to is the Fair Debt Collection Act. However, the state where the debt collection agency operates or the state where the debtor resides may carry additional consumer protection laws with which the agency must also comply.
Debt happens to almost everyone at some point in their life. When one falls behind on those debts, it is natural to feel embarrassed, under fire, and alone. Many debt collectors take advantage of these feelings to unduly pressure, harass, and embarrass those with delinquent accounts.
Marijuana has made headlines for the last few years in a new and, to some, unexpected way. Rather than reports of massive drug busts and seizures, the latest news has been about more and more states legalizing the drug. But, this has led many to rightly question just how legal marijuana really is. Has the federal government legalized it? If not, do states have the right to make the drug legal? Is this change permanent?
The First Amendment to the United States Constitution grants individuals the freedoms of speech, the free exercise of religion, the press and the right to peacefully assemble. While many individuals may construe their freedom of speech rights broadly, not all forms of speech are protected. Satire is generally a protected form of speech, but there are certain exceptions.
At the time of publication, there is no federal law requiring vaccinations of children. These laws are left to the state and the local governments. While many areas require vaccinations for children before they are allowed to enter daycare or school, there are exemptions that may apply.
When individuals feel that their reputation is damaged because of a reckless comment made on Facebook, Twitter or other social media channels, they may consider pursuing a defamation lawsuit against the insulting party. Through a libel lawsuit, they may be able to recover compensation for the damages that they have sustained.
In most situations, a person who is injured by another person’s negligence can sue the party that caused his or her harm. This holds true in cases of food poisoning. However, there are certain factors regarding food poisoning lawsuits that victims should be aware of before deciding to pursue this route.
While in many cases one spouse is not liable for the other’s credit card debt, this depends on a number of factors. Of these, the nature of the debt and where the debt was incurred are two primary considerations.
Many individuals are hesitant to appear in court out of fear or a lack of familiarity with the court system. There are several ways that you can get the testimony that you need to assist you in your civil or criminal case.
Due to a number of legal theories, employers may be found liable for their employees’ actions that resulted in harm to coworkers, customers or other individuals. There may be variations or prohibitions against certain causes of action based on state law.
The Known Employer program is a pilot program that is meant to help make travel between the United States and Canada more efficient for business travelers. At the time of publication, this program is only at the consideration level and has not yet been implemented.
In some situations, an arrest may be made after information is provided by an anonymous tip or through the use of a confidential informant. However, the standard is different for the reliability of information derived from these sources in order for a law enforcement officer to establish probable cause.
For those states that have a statute of limitations for rape, some period between three to thirty years is common. However, not all states have a statute of limitations for rape and others have exceptions to their own statutes.
While it seems sensible that parents who have “joint custody” would not need to pay child support because they both have the child, there are many situations in which one of the parents must provide child support. Read over the following information and then discuss what rules apply to your case with a family lawyer in your jurisdiction.
The terms “probable cause” and “reasonable suspicion” are sometimes used interchangeably. However, these are two different standards, with reasonable suspicion being the less exacting standard. Reasonable suspicion is all that is required for a law enforcement officer to conduct an investigatory traffic stop.
A federal student loan is one of the most difficult items to escape. Federal student loans are usually not dischargeable in bankruptcy. Furthermore, the federal government can take dramatic steps to ensure that it receives the money that is owed.
While many individuals are aware of the serious consequences of receiving a DUI, these consequences are even graver for non-citizens. In addition to the same consequences of possible jail time, fines and a loss of driving privileges, a non-citizen’s conviction of a DUI may result in a finding that he or she is inadmissible or is removable.
Individuals who are involved in an automotive accident may react negatively due to fear, confusion or guilt. This is especially true if the person is driving without a valid license, was drinking and driving or otherwise feels culpable for the accident. However, leaving the scene of an accident can have several negative consequences.
When a person is injured because of another person’s negligence, he or she may look to each individual who bore some responsibility for the accident. Negligent entrustment provides for the recovery of damages when a person puts a dangerous device in the hands of a person who is not equipped to handle it properly. Through this tort claim, a person may be able to recover damages from the owner of the device.
Because courts and legislators recognize that minors sometimes lack judgment skills and may have indiscretions in their youth, juveniles are sometimes permitted to seal criminal juvenile records. By sealing or expunging their records, juveniles may be able to get a fresh start when they become adults.
A subpoena notifies a person that he or she must appear in court at a certain location, date and time in order to provide testimony as a witness. Generally, a subpoena is issued to secure your testimony in court and not for out of court purposes, but there are some exceptions. Additionally, a subpoena may direct you to provide certain documents to the court.
The Fourth Amendment to the United States Constitution protects individuals from unreasonable searches and seizures by agents of the government. This does not mean that individuals are free from all searches and seizures, but only that they are protected from “unreasonable” ones.
While many Americans know that they have a right to free speech, the lay opinion often views the degree of protection afforded by the United State Constitution as much broader than it is in reality. The First Amendment does not protect all types of speech.
While many people associate the Fifth Amendment with not incriminating themselves, there are other important aspects of this Amendment to the United States Constitution. This Amendment provides a number of important rights.
A summons provides legal notice to a party about a lawsuit. It is the first official notice that a defendant receives to notify him or her that he or she is being sued. In some instances, the summons may specify a specific court date, but in others, it does not.
Sometimes despite an attorney’s best intentions, he or she may find that a client is not happy with the services provided. In many situations, a client can fire his or her attorney at will. However, there may be times when this right is limited. Before firing your attorney, be sure to consider negative consequences and any alternatives.
Dealing with informants is a controversial aspect of criminal law. Several Supreme Court cases have helped to mold this area of the law. States may have additional requirements under their laws.
While the classic rule was that spouses could not sue each other, the abolition of laws throughout much of the 20th century has all but eliminated this rule.
If you are considering retaining the services of a private investigator, you may want to know some background information regarding these individuals. Here are a few frequently asked questions about private investigators and their answers.
Like lawyers, private investigators may charge in a variety of ways. In order to have a clear understanding, ask for a written explanation of fees.
While many private investigators complete work in the field by conducting surveillance on a subject and photographing them in certain acts, digital private investigators focus more on gathering digital evidence. This information may be used in family law cases, employment disputes, personal injury cases or myriad other cases.
The act of hiring a private investigator does not inherently violate any rules of law. However, there is certain conduct that private investigators cannot engage in or else they will be violating the law. Check with the private investigator that you are interested in retaining to ensure that he or she follows the law of your jurisdiction.
In certain cases, a lawyer may recommend hiring a private investigator. He or she may have existing contacts or may recommend that you find your own investigator. Here are some situations in which you may need a private investigator to assist you in your case.
If you are interested in hiring a lawyer, he or she may mention a “retainer fee.” While you may hire an attorney without a written agreement, there are several reasons why you should insist on a written retainer.
If you are facing a felony conviction, the lasting effects on your career can endure for much longer than any time that you receive. Being convicted of a felony can have some of the following severe ramifications on your career.
After you report an accident to the insurance company, the claims process begins. This process varies for each insurance company, but the following information can provide you with a general overview of the process.
Presenting a case in front of a judge or jury usually requires specialized knowledge about procedural issues and evidence, which is why hiring an attorney is usually recommended. However, in some instances, clients simply cannot afford a lawyer and choose to represent themselves, called “pro se.” There are a few places that you may look to find more information on your legal topic.
Divorce can be a complex legal process. Each state has its own rules regarding getting a divorce, but most follow the order listed below.
Attorneys are restricted to the method and content of advertisements that they can make. These rules are meant to protect consumers who may have a disparate amount of experience in the field and to avoid taking advantage of these individuals.
Individuals who do not have a prenuptial agreement in place are at the mercy of their state laws and subsequent agreements reached during a divorce in which both parties may be less than objective. A prenuptial agreement can provide protections for both parties regarding certain property, rights and obligations.
In order for you to provide notice to the other side of a pending legal action and for notifying the other side of other certain legal information, that side must be served. Jurisdictions typically require that a non-party provide the service of process.
Service of process is the legal notification to one party, usually a defendant, of the receipt of certain information. While each state can establish its own rules regarding the requirements for service of process, the federal rules are required in federal states. Additionally, some states have adopted the federal rules verbatim.
Although federal courts and many state courts only require that a process server be 18 years of age or older and a non-party, most process servers are representatives of private service of process businesses or certain law enforcement officers. For federal cases, a marshal may be used. In state cases, a sheriff’s department officer may be used.
Before a court can have jurisdiction over a defendant, the plaintiff must serve him or her with the legal documents that show that a legal action is pending against him or her. Here are a few ways that you may be able to use to locate the other party and to ultimately have him or her served.
In order for a plaintiff to proceed with a case, he or she must notify the defendant of a pending action against him or her. Through service of process, the defendant can receive this important information.
Due to a number of important Supreme Court decisions in the 21st century, married same-sex spouses are entitled to a number of benefits that were previously outside their reach. While domestic partners may be entitled to some benefits, married spouses are typically eligible for more benefits. Marriage is a factor in many federal benefits.
On November 20 and 21, 2014, President Barack Obama announced an overhaul of the immigration system through a series of executive actions. The actions established new immigration programs, changed guidelines for existing programs and created new proposals for visas.
Yes, a minor can legally enter into a contract. However, whether the contract is enforceable will depend on a number of factors.
If you were pulled over during a holiday or any other time of year, you may have been arrested for DUI. However, there are several defenses that a criminal defense attorney may raise to protect you from a conviction.
Getting a divorce becomes more complicated when spouses no longer live in the same state. In some situations, a spouse has moved to another state right after the couple recently separated. In other cases, the spouses have continued separate lives in different states for several years. Even if spouses live in different states, they can still get divorced.
When a person indicates that he or she is not planning to perform his or her obligations under the contract, this is considered anticipatory repudiation. The party who was not planning to breach the contract can use anticipatory repudiation in order to seek remedies against the other party.
Yes, but the amount of relief that you can receive may be limited by the circumstances of your case. Courts may not be able to make valid decisions pertaining to certain aspects of the divorce, depending on the location of the subject matter and jurisdictional issues.
An attractive nuisance is a dangerous condition on a person’s property that attracts children onto the property and puts their safety in danger. Landowners who have an attractive nuisance on their property are held to a higher duty to protect children. If an attractive nuisance is found to have injured a child on the landowner’s property, the landowner may be required to pay for the damages that resulted, even if the child was technically trespassing.
On November 20, 2014, President Barack Obama announced the implementation of a new program called “Deferred Action for Parental Accountability” through an executive order. The program is similar to Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals and provides temporary immigration relief for otherwise law-abiding citizens.
The United States Constitution provides protection for individuals from illegal searches and seizures. Whether a search is constitutional depends on the particular circumstances of the case.
Criminal convictions are often discovered by potential employers and landlords upon completing a background check. A conviction can follow a person around for his or her lifetime in some cases. Seeking to expunge or seal your criminal record may help this information to be removed from the public eye. However, it may not completely remove the conviction from a person’s criminal record.
If a person is injured on the private property that belongs to another, he or she may be able to sue for the damages that he or she sustained. The ability to recover will depend on state laws regarding premises liability and the relative duty of the host and guest.
Deferred action is the exercise of prosecutorial discretion for certain law enforcement agencies and governmental entities, including Immigration and Customs Enforcement and United States Citizenship and Immigration Services. There are several reasons why deferred action may be exercised.
While the majority of states require that assets be distributed in an equitable division upon divorce, community property states view all property that was accumulated during the marriage to be the equal property of both spouses.
If you have received a bill from your attorney and believe that the fee is too high or if you anticipate that this situation will arise, there are a few ways that you can handle this situation to provide a resolution that you are comfortable with.
Planned obsolescence occurs when a product designer creates a design that is meant to phase out after a certain period of time. This makes the product have a lifespan of a limited duration, often influencing consumers to upgrade to a more expensive model. Many times, the product fizzles out just after the warranty period.
As a client, you put a lot of trust into an attorney’s hands. Knowing that your attorney is someone in whom you can depend is vital to you having a strong relationship with your attorney so that you can work toward the resolution of your claim.
Is It Normal that I First Have to Pay My Lawyer a Retainer Fee Before I Really Know if I Have a Chance/Case?
As a matter of internal policy, a lawyer may request a retainer fee before agreeing to accept your case or complete any work on it. However, you do not have to pay such a fee if you are not comfortable with the idea.
Retainer fees are down-payments on an attorney’s services. Having a retainer fee in place allows an attorney to feel confident that he or she will be paid for his or her legal services.
Due to the more prevalent nature of laws against drunk driving, many states have enacted laws that allow a personal injury victim to recover from the person who provided alcohol to an impaired driver. However, there may be exceptions regarding who can be made liable.
Arizona, California, Idaho, Louisiana, Nevada, New Mexico, Texas, Washington, and Wisconsin use a community property distribution scheme to divide marital property. Alaska recognizes the community property scheme if the spouses agree to the arrangement. All other states use equitable distribution.
When people go to an amusement park, they plan on spending time and having fun with friends and family. They do not plan on getting injured. However, the Consumer Product Safety Commission reported that the rate of amusement park injuries more than doubled in the mid-1990s. However, some states have enacted special laws that almost completely insulate parks from liability.
In November 2014, President Barack Obama established a new executive order that addressed border security and illegal immigration. By statistical estimates, the new executive order would provide for some distinct benefits to about 5 million immigrants who were already in the country.
The prosecutor and the judge may prefer to dispose of cases through a plea bargain because doing so helps to manage case loads and reduce the number of cases that require a full trial. This helps to decrease the expense that the state will pay for this portion of the criminal justice system. Criminal defendants may also realize certain advantages by accepting a plea bargain. However, they must also be aware of the disadvantages.
The story of Manti Te’o caught the attention of millions around the world as the professional football player’s story of his girlfriend, her death and the ultimate discovery of the falsity of it all. Similar stories that popped up in the media and in the life of the leading character in the MTV show of the same name have also brought this new phenomenon to the forefront of the public.
Individuals who are presently in the United States who legitimately fear persecution in their home country may apply for asylum. However, before asylum is granted, an applicant must follow several requirements and meet eligibility guidelines.
When a person hears the term “estate planning,” he or she often thinks about devising a will and maybe setting up a trust. For the most part, these tools focus primarily on what happens after a person passes away. However, much of creating an effective estate plan relies on having a plan in case you become incapacitated and are unable to make important decisions on your own. Two primary tools are used in this regard.
While other countries may require the losing side to pay both sets of attorneys’ fees, in the United States, this is not usually the rule. Requiring the losing side to pay all attorneys’ fees and costs may serve as a deterrent for individuals to access the court system for justice and works against public policy.
In the objective sense, the term “best interests of the child” pertains to the principles that are used to determine what will be best for a child in a particular circumstance. In general terms, the best interests of the child assessment is used to determine which services and orders will best serve the child.
Individuals who are pursuing permanent resident status may be deterred if they are convicted of a crime. While a misdemeanor conviction may not bar a person from still obtaining resident status, certain convictions may prevent a person from being approved for permanent residence status or possible cause the person to be subject to removal.
The Fourth Amendment protects individuals from unreasonable searches and seizures. However, the United States Supreme Court has held that a drug dog sniff that is conducted during a lawful traffic stop does not constitute a search as an individual does not have a reasonable expectation of privacy in illegal contraband within a vehicle. However, there are specific rules that police officers must follow when bringing a dog sniff dog to the scene.
Many individuals choose to use a living revocable trust as part of their estate plan or for other purposes. Such trusts provide distinct advantages over wills or other devices.
Individuals who have been convicted of a felony often experience difficulty in securing employment because many employers choose not to hire them. Just as employers may have policies in place that may result in termination upon the conviction of a felony, they may also have policies that weigh against hiring convicted felons. However, a series of laws may prevent an employer from having a blanket policy against discriminating against employees who have been convicted of a felony.
In many cases, pursing prosecutorial discretion is a last-ditch effort to avoid being removed from the country. This pursuit asks the United States Immigration and Customs Enforcement use its discretion to the benefit of the immigrant.
Individuals who do not have citizenship status do not have as many rights as citizens and must constantly worry about whatever immigration status they have being stripped away from them. Being convicted of a crime may very well mean that an individual can be deported from the United States. Being aware of these consequences from the beginning of the case can help individuals make more informed choices.
When a criminal defendant is confronting a criminal case and is slated to go to trial, it is the criminal defendant’s decision whether to proceed to trial or to plead guilty in order to avoid it. While his or her lawyer can provide information about the pros and cons of going to trial, the lawyer cannot generally make this decision for the client. However, before a criminal defendant decides to plead guilty, he or she should be aware of the consequences of this action and any alternatives.
Bankruptcy exemptions can make a dramatic difference in your bankruptcy proceeding whether you are filing Chapter 7 or Chapter 13. While the result for having an exemption is different for each type of bankruptcy filing, both help the consumer keep more – either property or money.
At times, a criminal defendant may find that he or she is not satisfied with the attorney that was hired for one reason or another. Generally speaking, a defendant who has been appointed a public defender or who hired a private attorney can fire the original attorney and hire a new private attorney when he or she wants to do so. Usually, the defendant does not need court approval in order to take this action. However, there may be consequences to taking this action.
When a person is injured while in the hospital, he or she may consult a personal injury attorney who focuses on medical malpractice claims. One of the first questions that an attorney of this nature will try to answer is who may be sued. In addition to surgeons or other healthcare staff, hospitals may also be sued in some cases for malpractice. The hospital may be able to be sued if one of the following situations is applicable.
A medical malpractice case may arise when a patient’s treatment falls below the standard of care when compared to other surgeons in the same practice area and the patient is harmed. A patient may be injured due to a variety of surgical errors.
A debtor proposes a repayment plan that will allow them to repay a portion of their debt. A Chapter 13 bankruptcy plan determines the amount that each creditor can expect, the duration of the plan, the value of the debtor’s property and the funds that are available to repay the debts. Several factors impact the amount of monthly repayments that the debtor will make.
Inheritances have specific rules that make them different than other kinds of assets. For example, an inheritance is usually treated as separate property, even in community property estates. If family friction has begun due to friction of learning about a future inheritance, steps can be made in the estate planning process to minimize conflict. Additionally, steps can also be taken after the testator dies to help deal with family problems.
While the First Amendment provides for the freedom of speech, this amendment does not protect all forms of speech. For example, it does not give a person the right to injure the reputation of another, or defame, that person. In order for a person to prevail in a defamation of character lawsuit, there are several elements that he or she must be able to prove.
Like many states, California uses child support guidelines to help determine the amount of child support that should be awarded in any particular case. Child support is determined by taking several factors into consideration.
While some individuals are able to reach an amicable decision with another individual in a family law dispute and maintain a healthy relationship, the majority of individuals who go through these types of disputes can benefit from the assistance of having a lawyer.
While many criminal defendants decide to plead guilty early in the process in order to save time or to get a deal with the prosecutor, there are many times when it is reasonable to consult with a criminal defense lawyer. If one of the following applies to you, consider speaking with a criminal defense lawyer.
Every day, individuals are injured while on the premises of a business. Injured individuals may be able to pursue a personal injury lawsuit and recover for the damages that they suffer.
In recent years scientists have learned more about the potential dangers of mold and breathing it in on a daily basis. While some individuals may develop minor respiratory symptoms, such as coughing and wheezing, more serious conditions may develop, such as fungal respiratory infections. In many states, your landlord may have some responsibility to help remediate the problem.
You are legally entitled to receive the wages promised to you. Additionally, you may be entitled to additional benefits and penalties if your employer refuses to pay you in violation of local or state law. If you have not received your pay, the following courses of action may be available to you to help recover your wages.
If you are a victim of wrongful termination, you may have a case against your former employer. A successful lawsuit may mean that you have the right to recover back pay, statutory damages and expenses that you incurred to find another job.
The statute of limitations provides a time limit in which a plaintiff can bring a lawsuit without it being time barred by the court. With few exceptions, if this time limit passes, the plaintiff will be forever barred from bringing the suit. Like other types of claims, there is usually an applicable statute of limitations.
If you have been injured in another accident that was caused by another party, you may be able to pursue a civil lawsuit against the responsible party. However, a lawyer may evaluate certain factors of your case to determine whether or not to take your case.
If you have purchased a vehicle and feel that you got a bad deal, you may have recourse against the dealer by using one or more of the following tactics:
Where do I find a divorce lawyer (where we live now or where we got married)? Many countries, including the United States, allow you to get a divorce there, even if your marriage occurred in another country. Laws can vary drastically between countries, so be sure that you consult with your attorney regarding the steps necessary to get a divorce and whether the divorce will be valid in the country where you are currently residing.
Lawyers may receive accreditation to practice law or to practice in a particular area. While lawyers may focus in particular areas, state ethic rules regarding professional conduct generally prohibit lawyers from advertising that they are “certified” or that they “specialize” in particular areas unless they receive such certification from a particular agency, such as the state bar.
After you get a traffic ticket, you want to know what happens next and what you can do about it. For most people, it simply means paying the ticket and going to traffic school to remove any points on your driving record. It’s expensive, but a fairly simple situation to take care of.
A felony charge is pursued by a prosecutor when a serious crime is committed. A federal felony is category of crime that involves breaking a law at the national rather than local level. Both types of felonies carry similar punishment.
Google search now makes up nearly 95% of all consumer searches for local businesses. As a lawyer that relies on a steady stream of local clients, you can’t afford to leave search engine marketing out of your lead-generation repertoire.
Each day that goes by may present a unique legal problem. You may have a dispute with a neighbor regarding differing opinions on the boundary. You may be fighting for custody of your children in family court. You may have been hurt in an accident when you were heading to work. The following list provides potential resources to assist you if you have a legal question.
A power of attorney is a legal document that gives one person certain rights and responsibilities, the agent, over the person who had the document prepared, the principal. There are generally two different types of power of attorneys: a power of attorney for financial reasons and a power of attorney for healthcare matters. These documents are generally prepared separately, even if the same person is named as the agent in both documents.
If you have been injured in an automotive accident, slip and fall or workplace accident, your immediate reaction may be to sue the party responsible for your injuries. However, not all cases warrant an attorney’s involvement. Furthermore, attorneys may refuse to take a case if it is not worth the attorney’s time or experience.
Most people do not anticipate that they will need an attorney and as such do not save for such an expensive need. While many lawyers charge hundreds of dollars per hour for their services, there are a few options available for individuals who are unable to pay for an attorney.
If you need compensation for injuries due to an accident, you need to be aware of one important thing—insurance companies are in business to make—not give away—money!
When you get a traffic ticket, consider the following issues before deciding whether to fight the ticket:
Millions of Americans use radar detectors and jammers every day. They are sold online and in many stores. But, you may have heard someone say along the way that these devices were not legal. So, what is the truth? Are radar detectors legal in your state?
With the march of modern technology ever forward, interesting new gadgets find their ways into our pockets. Take, for example, the rise of recent gadgets to help keep intoxicated drivers off the road. Of course, when technology makes its way into our lives, the law is often not far behind. So how will pocket breathalyzers affect the law?
When it comes to American football or hockey, there is nothing more thrilling than the sound of two athletes smashing into each other. They put their bodies through unbelievable abuse for the entertainment of the crowd and a sizable paycheck. But what about the rest of us? What happens if a child is injured in a recreational league game, a college student at intramural sports, or adults during a social game? Could that injury form the basis of a lawsuit?
Most of us have probably heard or been told that anything we tell our doctor is confidential. While this may be reassuring, it may have left you wondering why it was true and what the reason for that confidentiality was? How far does it extend? Would it hold up in court?
In our modern, connected age, it seems everyone has a tablet or laptop computer that they use on a daily basis. These computers usually have built in webcams and microphones which, while very useful for legitimate purposes like video calls, can also be a vehicle for embarrassment, identity theft, and spying on your most intimate moments. So, what does the law have to say about using someone's webcam or computer microphone to spy on them?
We are all well aware of the dangers of driving intoxicated or while otherwise impaired. Not only can you seriously injure or kill someone (including yourself), you may also face jail time, fines, and loss of your license. What other possible consequences exist for getting a DUI?
In the United States, a number of products like pharmaceuticals, cosmetics, and detergents are first tested on animals to determine what their effects are likely to be on humans. This has raised a number legal and ethical concerns among consumers. So, what are the laws regarding animal testing?
Few areas of legal practice are as crowded as the personal injury field. In most jurisdictions, billboards, website banner ads, television commercials, radio spots, yellow pages and magazine ads, and other forms of advertising permeate our consciousness with pitches for different personal injury attorneys. With so many choices and so much information, how does one choose the best personal injury attorney?
Nearly every year, the rules of procedure for various types of courts change. Bankruptcy courts are no exception. Bankruptcy courts are governed by the Federal Rules of Bankruptcy Procedure. Often these changes are relatively small and technical, and only of interest to bankruptcy attorneys, but this year the rules changes primarily affect cases filed by individuals. So, what new bankruptcy rules came into effect on December 1, 2013?
More and more Americans are turning to in vitro fertilization as a means of conceiving. Sometimes the sperm donor for these procedures is known, sometimes he is not. In either instance, what are the possible legal issues related to both the mother and biological father as the sperm donor?
In 2004, a Harvard University study found that of 168 countries surveyed, 163 had some form of government mandated maternity leave pay. The United States was not one of them. As a result, millions of American women suffer crippling economic hardships when they must take time off to give birth, and then are forced to return to work prematurely or go without income. Enter the FAMILY Act.
Over the last few years, we have become increasingly aware of the dangers of concussions as several professional athletes have experienced severe emotional problems related to their traumatic brain injuries. Unfortunately, concussions are not just limited to top professional athletes. So what can you do if you or your child suffers a concussion?
When it comes to intellectual property, many of us think of copyrighted works of art, patented products, or trademarked logos. All of these items are intellectual property, but infringing on someone's intellectual property rights is usually handled as a civil matter, not criminal. So, is it ever possible to commit the crime of theft with regard to intellectual property?
In states where unions are strong, it is not uncommon to see posters and other materials related to the union located in company break rooms or other parts of the employer's property. Even in “right to work” states, where unions are less prominent, one can occasionally find such materials. But some employers resist, and would prefer not to have such materials on their property. So, is an employer required to allow union signs on company property?
After reports of domestic spying surfaced, and the possibility that drone aircraft might be used to carry out surveillance of Americans, many reacted violently. This led to what was initially considered an absurd suggestion that “drone hunting” should be legalized. However, several jurisdictions have actually made movement in the direction of issuing permits to shoot surveillance aircraft out of the sky.
Every year, millions of Americans use the services of psychics, mediums, palmists, and others who claim supernatural abilities. While most see such activities as entertainment and not to be taken too seriously, there are many who believe it wholeheartedly and, as a result, often find themselves out thousands of dollars before they realize they have been had. This leads many to wonder whether there are any laws that regulate psychics.
What has been perceived as a rash of inappropriate teacher-student relationships has led to some interesting new legal territory. Concerned about interaction between teachers and students, a number of jurisdictions have passed laws variously prohibiting social media contact to physical contact (such as hugging or spanking). So, how much contact should children and teachers have with one another?
A recent new concept has entered the legal lexicon: “Affluenza.” It was first used in the case of a Texas youth accused of stealing beer, driving intoxicated, then killing four people with his car. So what is “Affluenza,” and how was it used in a legal setting?
I used to attend and speak at events designed to educate youth on the legal profession. I would often start my presentation asking the children if they could think of anything for which there was not some related law. Invariably, several of the kids would shout out “sleeping!” But, as I would point out, there are actually quite a few laws that have some impact on sleeping. Here are a few:
Kids will be kids, or so the saying goes. As such, children often roughhouse and get into small fights in the schoolyard. Most parents, teachers, and administrators, while not pleased by such conduct, know that it is an inevitable part of life in the school system and for many, a rite of passage for the children involved. But legally, when does it go from a simple schoolyard brawl punished by detentions or suspensions to a battery that could be punished by jail or a civil lawsuit?
When renting out a property you own, it is only natural to want to make the most money and incur the least expense. Unfortunately, for some landlords, this leads to cutting corners in the legal department; a potentially very costly mistake. The following are a few common mistakes landlords make during the eviction process and what you can do to avoid them:
Some believe bomb threats to be an extravagant prank, others use them to avoid responsibilities like exams or bills, and still others use them to hide some other nefarious purpose. Whatever the reason, making bomb threats is a very serious crime with heavy criminal penalties. So what are the consequences for making bomb threats?
Bitcoin has become increasingly popular as an alternative form of currency over the last several years. The digital currency offers interesting new options for secure and private transactions, for earning money through “Bitcoin mining,” and, unfortunately, for money laundering. What is the threat of Bitcoin and money laundering and what is being done to stop it?
Once embroiled in a lawsuit, one can often feel powerless, angry, abused, and confused. Indeed, many feel as though they did nothing wrong but that the other party – the one suing them – did. In that situation, it may be possible to actually sue the person who brought the original lawsuit. But how does one do that and what are the limitations?
For millions of Americans, the holiday season is about giving and charity, and few stop to consider the state of their personal finances and taxes. But, the end of the year is also the end of a tax period for individuals, meaning that come December 31, they cannot make any more changes that will help reduce the taxes they will have to pay in a few months.
Anyone who has ever fallen behind on their bills knows just how troubling that experience can be. Harassing phone calls, letters, and emails are the usual tricks of the trade, or for secured debts, repossession or foreclosure. But, America abolished debtors prisons. So, debt collectors are not supposed to be able to put you in jail because you owe money. However, a few have discovered a way to do just that.
Prom, homecoming, and other formal dances are rites of passage for millions of American youth. So, it is perhaps surprising to many that such an activity may be regulated by the law, but in many jurisdictions it is. And, we are not talking about exotic or belly or other suggestive types of dancing. These laws apply to any kind of dancing, including the stuff your grandparents were doing. So, what are some of the more unusual laws against dancing?
We have all heard about how interest rates might be going up when the economy is improving or how interest rates fall as the economy suffers. But how are these rates set? Who determines what the rates should be? What keeps interest rates from continuing to climb while the economy declines?
One of the most confusing concepts to many lay people involved in legal disputes over a contract is the idea of parol evidence. It seems incomprehensible that one should not be able to rely on this evidence to explain what they expected to happen, yet it serves a purpose in the American legal system. So, what is parol evidence and why does it matter?
Although it seems impossible to drive around any city in America without seeing billboards advertising attorneys or hear radio ads for law firms, attorneys are actually one of the most heavily regulated industries when it comes to advertising. Most rules make sense, like avoiding doing anything that would mislead the general public. But, there are a few that are easily and commonly violated, though not often considered until the damage has already been done.
Just as with real world dating, sometimes Internet dating can be dangerous. People may not be who they say or may actually be dangerous. Online dating services may use your personal information and photographs for purposes other than what you had intended. Internet dating sites may actually put tracking software on your computer or expose you to identity theft, computer viruses, or other harm. So, if you have been injured by a dating site in some way, it is common to wonder whether you can sue?
Automobiles are safer today than they ever have been. Airbags, seat belts, crumple zones, computers that monitor road and vehicle conditions, and many other features help to keep drivers and passengers out of accidents all together, or protect health and safety if one does occur. But sometimes those systems are improperly manufactured or installed. Sometimes after-market additions interfere with their proper function.
Over the last few years there have been a number of television shows regarding the polygamist lifestyle. This has led some to wonder whether polygamy may be legal anywhere in the U.S. It also raises questions about why bigamy is outlawed and whether this is a trend that may be changing.
Many remember a time before 9/11 when using a fake ID was almost a rite of passage, and those caught doing so were usually subject only to having their ID confiscated, a thorough scolding, and being sent home to answer to likely irate parents. While still prevalent, using fake ID's is no longer considered a harmless practice and those caught making or using them can face very severe criminal punishments.
As the Internet makes the world a smaller and smaller place, unusual new ways of meeting people have become increasingly popular. While personal ads placed in the newspaper used to be a somewhat embarrassing way of meeting someone, the explosion of the Internet made online dating sites almost the norm for arranging romantic encounters. Similarly, the Internet has also opened the doors to international romance in the form of “mail order bride” services. But what laws affect mail order brides?
Often, when considering marriage couples are thinking only about love and romance, not the more practical concerns like how one spouse's debts might affect the other after they are married. So, the question often arises “can I be held liable for my spouse's debts?”
As an employer, one is often subject to a lot of liability and often from unexpected sources. Not only are there concerns about meeting payroll and keeping your business afloat, an employer must also ensure that all of its employees are properly qualified before hiring and adequately trained and supervised once employed. Otherwise, an employer could find itself liable to a third party for negligent hiring and retention. But what is negligent hiring and retention?
Ever had second thoughts about loaning your car to someone, or wondered what kind of liability you could face if they got in an accident? If so, and probably without realizing it, you may have been worrying about the idea of negligent entrustment.
Movies and television shows often glamorize the world of espionage. But, in reality, is it quite so exciting? Aside from the lack of martinis and frequent shoot outs to save the world, the reality is that espionage is a crime in the United States.
As more and more states are opting to pass laws authorizing either medical (or in the recent case of Colorado) recreational marijuana use and sales, it has become increasingly common to wonder what the new legal limitations are on the product.
Much of what most people know about the American justice system is derived from television and movies. Unfortunately, these are entertainment and not as focused on conveying the truth about the legal system as delivering a compelling story. Even the news has a tendency to “spin” the truth in a way that makes it more interesting to the audience in order to increase the audience. As a result, here are 5 common myths about the American justice system:
Ever stopped and wondered where your various household goods came from? Not just the country of origin, but who actually worked to produce it? Most products, even those from other countries, are produced by adults, and though their standard of living may be different than that of their counterparts in America, they are working of their own free will. However, some products and services, even today, are still being produced by children and forced labor.
One common area of confusion for those outside the legal profession is the difference between various job titles among legal professionals. After all, in many jurisdictions there are now paralegal firms that offer services that to some might seem similar to what an attorney can do. So what is the difference between an attorney and a paralegal, an attorney and a lawyer, and other legal professionals?
Over the last few years, a number of unscrupulous websites have developed around Americans' increasing comfort with sharing private, intimate photos with one another. While the photos are usually not intended for public consumption, often after a rough breakup or other event in which the recipient is left unhappy, that person will post those photos for the world to see. But is this legal? More importantly, can the site where the photos are posted legally charge you to take them down?
Every year, hundreds of thousands of people are injured while using a power tool. Many of these injuries are self-inflicted and the result of inexperience or recklessness. Still, others are the result of a defectively designed or manufactured product. So, what should you do if you fall into the second category and have been injured by a faulty power tool?
Those who have dabbled with tax laws much at all are probably familiar with the general mantra that any money received may be taxable income. They may also be familiar with the idea that payments over a certain amount or in certain types of relationships (like employer/employee) often require that the payer ensure taxes are taken out before the balance is given to the payee. But what about gifts? Is there any tax liability for giving a gift?
Whenever cold weather approaches, there is an increase in the number of people who leave their cars running unattended in an effort to warm them up before driving anywhere. While this might be good for the engine and make for a toasty commute, it may not always be legal.
Everyday, millions of women have various services performed at beauty salons. Hair cuts, dying, threading, manicures and pedicures, massages, and a host of other services are now available. While one rarely thinks about it, though, beauty salons are actually very dangerous environments. So what should you do if you are injured at the beauty salon?
It is an ugly reality, but it is known to happen: petty people misusing the very serious charge of rape as a way to gain an upper hand, get revenge, or otherwise harm another person. The results of such a false accusation can be devastating, even if the person wrongfully accused is ultimately acquitted. So, what can the innocent person do in such a case? What are the consequences to the false accuser?
Ever had the house guest you just cannot get to leave? Maybe someone you thought you could share a relationship with and things did not work out, or a friend or family member who just cramps your lifestyle, eats your food, and does not contribute to the bills? Whatever the case may be, getting someone out who has overstayed their welcome can sometime be a very difficult task. So, how do you throw someone out of your house?
Traditionally, one benefit of marriage was being able to share in a spouse's employment benefits, like health, vision, and dental insurance. Unfortunately, many same-sex couples have struggled for years to receive the same level of benefits and even the right to be married. With more and more jurisdictions recognizing same-sex marriages, are employers now required to provide same-sex couples with the same level of benefits as heterosexual couples?
The arrival of 3D printing technology has led to some amazing new possibilities for things like replicating broken parts, creating amazing works of 3D art, and manufacturing entire items from patters found online. But, as is usually the case with any new technology, someone finds a way to use it for something sinister. Several creators invented 3D printed plastic guns and made plans available online. But, are these 3D printed plastic guns legal?
Many have read about legal battles fought between large technology companies and entities referred to as “patent trolls” and wondered, “what is a patent troll?” Obviously, it has something to do with patent laws and infringing on someone's patent rights, but what does it really mean? Who does it apply to? Is anyone who asserts a patent infringement a “troll,” or just certain people and entities? Where did the term come from?
Everyday, millions of people login from all over the world to experience various virtual worlds. Some are part of a video game, others are intended to allow for social interactions, and still others include elements for commercial dealings. Whatever the purpose, any environment in which people interact can lead to friction and disagreements of various sorts. This has led many to ask whether the laws of the real world can or should apply to virtual world problems.
Social media is everywhere today; from Facebook to Twitter to LinkedIn, it would be almost impossible for an employer not to have someone working for them that has some form of social media presence. While you might be able to keep an employee from updating their Facebook status from the office, can you do anything about what they say or do about you or your company on their social media in their own time? Indeed, can you fire someone for their social media complaints about work?
Following the terrorist attacks on 9/11, the U.S. federal government enacted a number of measures meant to combat the threat of terrorism on American soil. Among these measures was the implementation of the No Fly List, created and maintained by the Terrorist Screening Center (TSC). Often the subject of jokes in TV shows and movies, many wonder what it really is and how it works. So, how does the U.S. No Fly List actually work?
Easily, one of the most complicated subjects for law students to grasp and one of the most commonly misused terms in the English language is hearsay. Many incorrectly use it to refer to something that is speculation or rumor. What is hearsay? Is it admissible in court? Are there exceptions?
Have you ever wondered why, in a system of justice that relies so heavily upon people telling the truth, every witness is not strapped to a polygraph machine (i.e., a lie detector)? It is a logical question that leads to others about how interrogations and investigations are conducted when polygraphs are used. So, is a polygraph test admissible as evidence?
A common question among small business owners is who will be responsible for debts and other obligations if a business entity folds or reorganizes. Many things can happen in the life of a business entity, whether a corporation, LLC, partnership, or sole proprietorship, and this can lead to questions about who will be left holding the bag.
Being in any accident can be a nightmare, but when you are the driver of a vehicle that collided with another from the rear, it can be particularly troubling. Conventional wisdom will usually tell you that the driver in the back is always at fault, and in most instances this will be true, but not all.
One of the most common questions attorneys get while representing a client is “when will this case be over?” This is an obvious question given that the attorney probably costs money, the lawsuit takes time and energy, and living with worries about the outcome of the case can be a constant source of stress. Still, lawsuits take time, and parties who expect a case to be over in a few weeks are usually disappointed. So, why does a lawsuit take so long?
Contracts talk about them, statutes mention them, even TV sitcoms joke about them, but what are acts of God? Many people might think they have a good idea, but given that insurance is often designed to protect against most catastrophes except acts of God, how confident are you that you actually know what is covered?
The United States has statutory minimum wage laws intended to ensure that even the least skilled of workers are able to earn enough money on which to live. As of July 2009, the federal minimum wage was set to $7.25 per hour, which equates to weekly earnings of just $290 per week (before taxes) for a full time job. However, many feel this number has not kept up with inflation and that this number is no longer a livable figure.
Since the dawn of civilization, there has been an ongoing philosophical and political debate about who or what can legally be considered a person. Traditionally, this took on the debate of whether certain human minority groups should be afforded the same rights and obligations as those in power. But, the debate has shifted in recent years to one involving non-humans. So, what makes a “person,” legally speaking.
Going to court can be a stressful experience, especially if you have never been. Aside from the fears of what may be at stake or concerns about a new social setting, many are scared of embarrassing themselves by not knowing who does what, what things are called, etc. There are actually a number of traditional rules, terms, and procedures many are unaware of, and though not usually that important for the lay person, knowing what they are could be useful in putting one's mind at ease.
Every year, millions of Americans engage in office parties around the traditional holiday season. Sometimes these are at the boss's house, a country club, a nice restaurant, or even somewhere at the office itself. But, is the party considered a work function? Could there legally be a consequence for not attending, even if it is after hours? And, what happens if someone is injured, either at the party or on the way to or from it?
With the rise of social networking, many have lost some of their concerns about personal privacy. Indeed, millions of Americans share the intimate details of their lives with an audience of dozens to thousands to sometimes even millions of people everyday, and think nothing of it. But what happens when someone begins to use this information against you? Are they violating any laws by following you online or bothering you on the Internet?
Millions of Americans have found themselves in this situation in the last few years: looking for work, they fill out an application only to find a portion asking for permission to run their credit report. Some refuse because they fear identity theft. Others lose the job, despite being otherwise qualified, because they have bad credit. So is it legal for an employer to ask to run your credit during a job interview?
Recently, I was approached by someone asking me about a situation that occurs all too often. Her grandmother's estate had been bled dry by someone who was supposed to be taking care of her. My friend wanted to know what the legal rights and responsibilities of the parties were in this situation and what could be done about it.
Whenever jobs become scarce, one of the first industries to see a boost is higher education. In order to compete, many job seekers return to college (or go for the first time) to get a degree in a particular career field in order to better be able to compete for jobs. Unfortunately, there are a few unscrupulous institutions that take advantage of those in this position, selling replica degrees from actual universities or offering degree programs despite lacking any accreditation.
It is not uncommon, particularly around the holidays, for children to visit family members in other states. Sometimes this means taking a flight. But, for many families, it is just not financially feasible for a parent to accompany the child on the flight. So, what are the laws and rules regarding when children can fly alone?
Millions of Americans work from home, either all of the time or on occasion. But, if a fire, flood, or natural disaster were to hit your home, would your insurance cover the lost business revenues, office equipment, or property belonging to your company?
Divorces are commonly very messy affairs, with hurt feelings and concerns about the future leading former lovers to take very aggressive and hurtful actions against one another. But, when another person is involved, the matter can become even more heated, and in some jurisdictions the adulterer may actually face civil liability under a cause of action called alienation of affection.
Finding someone who does not have a Facebook, Twitter, Google+, LinkedIn, or other social media profile is getting harder to do. Granted, there are still a few stalwart holdouts, but the vast majority of Americans use social media everyday (in fact, you may have come across this article in your social media feed). With social networking such a huge part of our lives, are there any social media laws? How are common legal issues resolved when they occur in a social network?
Recently, there have been a number of stories in the news about the development of autonomous automobiles, or self-driving cars. In fact, a number of states have taken interest in this technology and have passed legislation approving the deployment of self-driving vehicles to their roads. So what are these laws? What do they allow or prohibit? Which states currently authorize self-driving vehicles?
Sharia law is the Islamic system of moral codes that govern all aspects of Muslim life. Since 9/11, a wave of anti-Sharia legislation has swept across America. But what is Sharia law, and is it really something that Americans should be concerned about? Is anti-Sharia law actually more dangerous to American freedoms than the moral code it seeks to prohibit?
Perhaps you are one of the fortunate few who has achieved a level of wealth where you are legitimately concerned that the ebb and flow of the U.S. economy could have a dramatic effect on your personal finances. Or, perhaps, you have heard that there are ways to avoid certain taxes if you keep your money offshore.
When traveling abroad, one set of laws tend to concern and confuse people more than others: customs laws. When entering the United States, certain items must be “declared” (i.e., one must alert customs officials that they are in the that person's possession). This could lead to the requirement to pay a small “duty” fee to bring the item into the country, or it may be seized and you may not be allowed to bring it into the country at all.
It is a nightmare scenario that occurs all too often: after a breakup or divorce, your ex picks up your kids when they are not supposed to or disappears with them after a visitation. Sometimes this is done to hurt the other parent, sometimes it is done out of a sincere desire to spend time with the child(ren). Whatever the case, the effect is the same: terror, confusion, concern, and often a nagging question about what one should do. So, what do you do when your ex kidnaps your kids?
Imagine this: you go to the car dealership, financial information in hand, ready to buy a car. A few weeks later you discover that someone has stolen your identity. Based on the information stolen, you realize that it was taken from the car dealership. Maybe you get some of the damage undone, maybe not. Aside from the actual thief, who you may never be able to identify, can anyone else be held responsible?
Has someone close ever asked you for a loan? A lot of feelings and thoughts probably hit you all at once: an urge to be helpful to someone you care about, concern about getting repaid, wondering if you can afford to help this person, questions about why they are in need of a loan in the first place, and possibly even questions about the laws regarding the loan. So, what does the law say about loaning money to friends and relatives?
Since its inception, the U.S. has been required to take military action of one sort or another under every president and administration, even before the United States of America had a Constitution. Since the creation of the U.S. Constitution, however, the United States has had laws regarding declaring war. Certain military actions can be taken without formal declarations of war, others cannot. So what are the laws regarding declaring war?
Psychologists and sociologists will tell you that humans have a natural tendency to want to trust one another. Unfortunately, there are many who would exploit that natural tendency for illegal personal gain. Whether the famous “Spanish prisoner” scam or the phony charities that seem to pop up after natural disasters or around the holidays, fraudulent activity is an unfortunate reality of the modern world. So, how can one avoid those scams?
For young attorneys, those who do not go to court often, or pro se litigatnts (those representing themselves), running up against an experienced litigation and trial attorney can be a stressful experience. Regardless of how much merit your case may have, a good litigator can derail your case, even before trial, using a few procedural tricks. Following are a few of them, how you can use them like an expert litigator, and things you can do to fight back.
Over the last few years, a number of drugs have made it to the market that, while not technically illegal, had the same effects as taking other, outlawed narcotics. Unfortunately, many of these drugs only made the news after something unfortunate happened, like an overdose, an accident caused by someone intoxicated by the alternative drug, or a celebrity disclosing their addiction to it.
Sometimes, after one finishes the trial, the case is still not over. One side or the other (or sometimes both) may feel that the court made an error in either allowing or preventing something to be shown in court, applying the law, or in some procedural matter. When one files the appeal, they are asked to describe which standard of review they believe will apply to the higher court's review of the case. So what is a standard of review and why does it matter?
Of all the concepts in the field of criminal law, few are more hotly debated, and more subject to constantly inconsistent results, than the concept of constructive possession. But what is it? How can someone be held responsible for possessing drugs or guns that are not on their person (especially if there is a perfectly reasonable explanation of who may actually be the owner)?
Every year, millions of Americans buy a range of diet and exercise products. After obesity became one of the most prominent health concerns in the United States, the market for these products exploded. Unfortunately, each year a number of these products is discovered to have a harmful effect on the health of the person using them. So what do you do when you find out that your diet pills are hurting your health?
Everyone has seen a few cents on the ground, likely dropped while someone pulled a ring of keys from their pocket. While we would probably not think twice about picking up a penny, what if it was a bank envelope full of $100 bills? It may seem like a dream come true, but there are certain legal obligations when one finds misplaced money.
It is an age old question that many of us have debated at one point or another: should executions be legal? Are they an effective deterrent and means of punishment, or is it an expensive and anachronistic practice from a less civilized time? Regardless of where you come down on the debate, one key factor that always seems to come up is cost. So, which is cheaper: execution or life in prison without parole?
After a natural catastrophe, riots, terrorist attack, or other devastating event, it is not uncommon for some members of society to take to the streets and begin taking almost anything they want. Sometimes looters only take necessities, like food, water, and toilet paper, but more often than not, looters are taking items of value like televisions, computers, jewelery, etc. How does the law deal with this and what are a person's rights when trying to prevent looting?
When any sort of natural disaster hits, it can be terrifying. Once it has passed, though, victims are often left wondering what they need to do to pick up the pieces. Is there anything they need to do in filing their insurance claims to make sure that they will get paid soon and as much as possible? This is especially important for those whose houses are destroyed and who have lost everything.
The term “insider trading” seems to pop up in the news with a fair degree of frequency. Celebrities have even been accused of engaging in it, like Martha Stewart. But what is insider trading and why is it illegal?
Many have been asked to sign non-compete agreements or thought they might be a good idea to protect their business interests when hiring someone. But, what do they do? How are they enforced? What legal requirements do they have to follow?
Losing someone you were close to is always difficult. But, it can be all the worse when you find that the lost loved one may have cut you out of their will, either intentionally, accidentally, or as a result of someone exerting undue influence over the person before their death. So what can you do it you get cut out of a will?
When starting up a business, one thing virtually every business owner runs into is a need for funding. There are a few ways one can acquire these funds, like dipping into personal savings, taking out bank loans, or through traditional stock sales. But, for a lot of money fast, one approach that is increasingly popular in the Internet age is venture capital. But what is it and how does it work?
Aside from the board game, a lot of people may not really know what a monopoly is. They make their way into the news once in a while, but what does it really mean when something becomes a monopoly and why do we care? Everyone says they are bad, but why?
Many have heard of people who hold themselves out as “animal rights activists,” but what does that really mean? Can animals really have rights? If so, how do they exercise them and what are they? Obviously they can not be the same as human rights or anyone who had a burger would be an accomplice to murder, so what is protected?
Each year, millions of Americans consume billions of gallons of water. The boom in the bottled water industry was fueled, in part, by beliefs that bottled water was cleaner and more heavily regulated than tap water. But then a backlash by others in the media showed that much bottle water was simply tap water in a bottle. So, is one form of water more heavily regulated and safer than the other?
Every year, millions of Americans visit the little bodegas and shops, often located in ethnic ghettos of large cities, to purchase counterfeit or knockoff designer goods. Others buy these items online, at flea markets, or dozens of other locations. Wherever one goes, there is some question as to the legality of such transactions. After all, one is knowingly buying a product that is a copy of a trademarked and copyrighted work. Is this legal?
As the real estate market in the U.S. has made a strong indication of recovery, some outside of the United States have begun to look again at American real estate investments as a possibility. This leads some to wonder, though, whether it is even possible for a foreigner to buy real estate in the U.S.? If so, are there any special laws to be aware of or taxes that must be paid?
Many have wondered as they drive along the road and see signs for so-called Indian Casinos how this could be legal in a state that otherwise outlaws such forms of gambling? Others may have heard of Native Americans having their own tribal laws and police and wondered if these are separate and apart from the laws of non-Indians in the area. Do Native Americans have special rights that other American citizens do not?
There are thousands of people who would love the opportunity to have a child of their own but, for whatever reason, are not able to do so. Many of these parents turn to adoption, but some would still like to have a child that is biologically their own. For these parents, surrogacy can sometimes be an option. But what are the laws related to surrogacy? How does the process work? What does one need to think about when considering using a surrogate?
Anyone who has done much travel has had to contend with delayed flights or cancellations. Though often unavoidable due to weather or conditions beyond the airline's control, the ones who usually suffer the most are the stranded passengers. So what are your rights if a flight is canceled or delayed?
Many of us have drooled over exotic racing cars, fantastic movie prop vehicles, or futuristic looking concept cars, only to learn that we could never own one for our daily commutes (as though money were no object) because it is not “street legal.” What does that mean? What is required for a vehicle to be considered “street legal?”
Virtually anyone who has used the Internet outside of China has heard of the search engine giant Google (China blocks Google and has its own domestic search engine). But, many did not know that in 2002, one of Google's founders, Larry Page, had a plan to put every book ever written on the Internet. The plan stalled after legal troubles, but may now be back on track thanks to the Fair Use Doctrine.
It is the end of a long week, and you find yourself at home wishing you had something to do. But, tired of being a fifth wheel to all of your friends in relationships, you decide it is time to join the millions of other people who are online looking for a date. Unfortunately, some of those millions may not be real people after all. Is it legal for dating sites to use fake content to lure in new members?
In this modern digital age, it is often common for romantic partners, particularly those in long distance relationships, to exchange revealing photos of one another. These photos are often intended for the eyes of the receiver only. But, how can you be sure? What happens if you break up or the other person turns out to be less discrete than you had hoped? Is it illegal for someone to share those photos with others?
Have you ever wondered what the difference was between a human right and a civil right? After all, if some Americans had to fight to obtain civil rights as recently as the late 20th Century, what are all of these human rights we and other nations are enforcing in other countries through military action? Is there a difference between the two terms?
For many, it can be a nightmare scenario: driving safely and minding their own business when another vehicle hits them, causes damage and possibly injuries, then flees the scene. What do you do? Who will pay for the damage?
When dealing with an arrest or a criminal conviction, a lot of things may be on your mind. Being able to find a job may not be the first thing that comes to mind, but it can be a serious problem. Many employers will not even consider someone with an arrest, let alone a conviction. But is it legal for an employer to discriminate based on one's criminal background?
Losing a loved one is never easy, especially when the loss could have been avoided. Often in cases of medical malpractice, those who are left behind after a loved one's passing wonder why the doctor is not going to jail for murder. Is it possible for one to charge a doctor with murder when their treatment of a patient was so poor as to result in death?
Anyone who has grown up near a park, nature preserve, or in a rural setting probably came across a wild animal that he or she wished to adopt. Whether it was a baby duckling, a squirrel, a raccoon, or even a bear cub, there are laws affecting raising wild animals.
Most people have seen the effects of affirmative action in one place or another. For example, most job and school applications now ask a person's racial and ethnic background, gender, and veteran status. But what is affirmative action really, and why was it created?
Over the last decade, stories of shootings on college campuses have dotted the headlines. This has led many to call for legalizing the carrying of guns on campuses. Of course, this has also created a serious backlash against guns on campuses, leading many to ask if this is the answer or just a way to contribute to the problem. So where is it legal to carry a gun on a college campus?
Admit it, you have probably thought about it. What can you legally say to a cop and get away with it? Maybe an officer pulled you over on the wrong day, maybe you distrust cops, or maybe you just like living on the edge. Whatever your reasoning, you might be surprised to find out that getting a little mouthy is not technically an automatic one way trip to jail.
For those who have never been to prison, considerations of prison food are probably not high on the list of concerns about prison conditions. But, many a prisoner has suffered through daily rations of “nutriloaf” and probably has a very different take on the matter.
Often an argument raised by inmates or others who feel they have been wronged but are not sure what rights to call upon, the Geneva Conventions are frequently misidentified as the source of a variety of “rights” one does not have. The Geneva Conventions are actually a series of agreements, not a single document, and among the most misapplied by legal novices. So when do the Geneva Conventions really apply?
An all too common occurrence in the modern workplace is the sexual harassment. This can take many forms, like unwelcome sexual or romantic advances, sexual blackmail, offensive touching, discussions of intimate activities that make others uncomfortable, etc. While there are a number of laws to protect those who complain of such activities, what of those who are accused, particularly if the sexual harassment claim is determined to be unfounded or used as a means of embarrassment or retaliation?
Obviously, going to jail or prison involves having one's rights curtailed. But, that does not mean inmates in the United States are without basic human rights. Even the most hardened criminal has basic rights protected by the U.S. Constitution. If you or someone you know may be facing incarceration, you should know your rights, or what your friend or loved one's rights are or will be while behind bars.
Incarceration of any kind is designed to be an unpleasant experience. But, the policies, rights, and daily life of an inmate can be very different between these two types of institutions. So, what is the difference between jail and prison.
Most people understand that piracy of copyrighted works is illegal. But, many do not understand what piracy is or whether their role in the act of downloading pirated materials is a crime. Immense amount of data are downloaded everyday using file sharing programs called “torrent clients.” That means that millions of Americans are using torrents to share files, often containing pirated materials, which may leave you wondering, “Is it legal to download torrents?”
I recently spoke to a friend, who is a personal trainer, about diet and exercise. Her advice, while well-intentioned, was wildly off-base from a scientific standpoint. This got me to wondering, what if I had taken her advice to heart and suffered a loss? Would the consequences of choices I made about diet and exercise be mine alone or would she have some liability for her inaccurate assertions?
Over the last few years, the American palate has broadened considerably with flavors from every corner of the globe popping up everywhere. But some foods that are considered common fare or rare delicacies in other countries are actually banned in the United States. This could be because of safety concerns, issues over the treatment of animals, environmental impact, or a number of other considerations. Whatever the case, these foods are banned in the USA:
Child abuse and neglect are ugly realities. Turning a blind eye to the act can doom a child to serious injury, emotional trauma, or even death. Children are the victims least able to stand up for themselves since they depend entirely upon their parents for food, care, and legal status. So what do you do if you suspect child abuse or neglect? How can you report it and protect a child in danger?
It is an unfortunate reality of our modern age that there are times when a minor would be better off being able to conduct their own affairs free from the control of their parents. When this is the case, the minor is able, in some instances, to seek what is known as “Emancipation.”
For many years, people have relied upon the kindness of strangers to get where they needed to go by hitchhiking. Hitchhiking is the practice of soliciting rides in road vehicles, usually from strangers. It dates back to the time of the Great Depression, but concerns over safety for both passenger and driver have led to the implementation of a number of laws pertaining to hitchhiking. So, is it legal to hitchhike?
Perplexing and scary, the concept of plagiarism has long been the bane of students everywhere. Whether something is plagiarized and what that means has long been a matter of some uncertainty, however. So what exactly is plagiarism and is it against the law?
After the recent economic downturn, the news was filled with stories about various Ponzi schemes. Bernie Madoff became notorious for defrauding millions of dollars from high-profile investors through such a scheme. So what is a Ponzi scheme and why is it illegal?
Bitcoin is a form of electronic currency that functions without being backed by any governmental authority. Bitcoin is often called a “cryptocurrency” because it is decentralized and uses a complicated system of cryptography to prevent double-spending. This form of currency has become a matter of great public interest as authorities debate whether it is legal and, if so, how they can regulate its use in illegal transactions and monitor it for tax purposes.
For years, frequent commuters have complained about the inability to use their electronic devices on planes. Several years ago, the restrictions relaxed somewhat, allowing the use of approved electronic devices while at cruising altitude, and a recent rule change will allow the use of electronic devices, even during takeoff and landing, in the near future. But, why were these things banned in the first place? Why can one still not make a phone call from their cell phone during a flight?
While billboards and television ads with lawyers faces and slogans may be commonplace today, just a few years ago such advertising was not permitted for attorneys. Over the last two decades, restrictions on lawyer advertising have relaxed somewhat, allowing the proliferation of ads we see today. Still, these advertisements are not without restriction.
Frequently, we hear people refer to a right to privacy, and many surveys even show that most Americans even believe that it is a specific right under the Constitution (though they cannot agree as to which amendment it is). In reality, there is no amendment that specifically protects privacy, though it has been recognized in several U.S. Supreme Court cases.
It is often a coming of age event: getting that first job, usually to pay for something irresponsible like a sports car or a video game. But how old does one have to be to start working? How many hours can they work every day and week? Who gets to control the money (i.e., the child or the parents)?
Insurance is often a very complicated topic for many to understand. Riddled with unique jargon, overlapping and sometimes contradictory concepts, and inconsistent interpretations, it can be quite confusing to the average person. One example of where this confusion may arise is in the distinction between short- and long term-disability coverage.
One of the most challenging decisions parties often face in a legal proceeding is knowing when to negotiate and when to litigate. Should they slug it out until the bitter end to get that huge judgment they think they will win, or should they be trying to resolve the dispute, avoid expense, and work things out? Or, are they coming to the table too soon? Is it going to be seen as a sign of weakness?
Whenever someone dies it is normal for the survivors to want to find an explanation and a person to blame. Unfortunately, in some cases, nobody is to blame, and it was just that person's time. But, in other cases, when the death could have been avoided and someone else was in a position to prevent it, a wrongful death may have occurred.
All too often stories appear on the news of children in trouble with the law. Some bring guns or knives to school, others are shoplifting or stealing cars, and of course, there are always the ones who get into fights. Often, public outcry demands that something be done against the parents as well as the child. So, who is responsible when a child breaks the law?
Most of us are familiar with the concept of driving under the influence (DUI) or driving while impaired (DWI), but how do these translate to boating? Is it illegal to boat while drunk? If one is cited for boating under the influence, will that affect their driving license? Can you be given a breathalyzer on your boat?
A liquor license is, as the name implies, a license for the service of alcohol. But, many have referred to the procurement of a liquor license in almost reverent terms, as though it is a rare prize. So what is a liquor license and why is it such a big deal to have one?
Many have wondered whether body paint is sufficient covering to be considered clothing such that a person could not be arrested for public nudity. This question becomes popular particularly around holidays like Halloween, but has often come up with relation to art projects, political protests, and even sporting events. As with so many things in the law, the answer is unsatisfactorily vague.
In the United States, bounty hunters are sometimes employed to chase down those who miss their hearings or trials in criminal cases.
Sometimes, after a divorce has been finalized and a court has issued its final judgment or decree declaring the marriage severed, one of the spouses finds that they need spousal support. Perhaps the divorce was entered into too hastily or while the spouse was under duress, perhaps the circumstances have changed for the spouse. Whatever the case, in some instances it is necessary to re-open the question of alimony after the divorce has been finalized.
Over the last few years, establishments known for their payday loan services have popped up on seemingly every street corner. With promises of helping the cash strapped get by until payday, these businesses seem imminently helpful. That is, until one reads the fine print and notices that they may be paying interest equivalent to an APR (annual percentage rate) of several hundred percent!
So, you have won your lawsuit, but the other side has not simply cut you a check. What do you do? How can you go about collecting your judgment? These are a few tips to help you with the collections process:
It is one of the most common questions attorneys receive: how does one sue to get back their attorney fees in a lawsuit? Whether a family law case, a contract dispute, or a tort action, many believe they are entitled to recover their attorney fees from the other party if they win. But, is it that simple?
If you have seen something at work that must change, but your employer is unwilling to do anything about it, what can you do? Will you be protected or can your employer immediately terminate you? How much will you jeopardize your job by doing the right thing?
When accepting responsibility for the welfare of a child, there are many difficult questions to consider. But one that often confuses people is the difference between adoption and guardianship. Does one have to adopt a child in order to act like a parent and be responsible for the child, or is there a simpler way?
The phrase “mandatory binding arbitration” sounds very final, but what does it really mean? How binding is an arbitration proceeding? Can one appeal an improper ruling? Can one avoid arbitration all together?
For years, gay and lesbian couples have fought for the right to have their relationships legally recognized like heterosexual couples. Unfortunately, as with most civil rights movements, the march towards equal rights for those of different sexual orientations has been a long and difficult one. Nevertheless, several states have recently taken to recognizing same-sex marriages over the last few years, opening the door to a new era of equality for these individuals.
Whenever one engages in sports, there is always an inherent risk of injury. Most athletes accept this risk as part of the game. Most injuries are accidental and relatively minor, like sprains, twists, and the occasional bone break. But what happens if an injury occurs as a result of a deliberate hit or someone acts so recklessly that injury is almost certain to occur?
Many in legal trouble have needed the aid of an attorney but did not have the resources to pay for one. Some have heard of legal aid organizations but may wonder what services these organizations can provide and how useful they really are.
Any car accident can be scary, embarrassing, and financially draining. But, those sensations can be greatly enhanced when the accident involves only one vehicle. Obviously, factors like road conditions, hidden obstacles, and weather conditions can adversely affect one's ability to control a vehicle and can result in an accident. So who will be liable?
When registering a vessel for international travel, one must choose a nation under the flag of which that vessel will sail. The term “flag of convenience” refers to registering a ship in a sovereign state different from that of the ship's owners.
Imitation may be the sincerest form of flattery, but when it comes to stealing someone's product design it may be the basis for both civil and criminal liability.
Food fraud is the deliberate mislabeling of food products for financial gain with the intent of deceiving the consumer regarding what is actually in the package. The United States Pharmacopeial Convection (USP) reports that these acts of fraud have increased by 60 percent over the last year alone.
Disputes over child custody can be among the most heated. After all, the stakes are incredibly high when the issue of being able to see your own children is on the line. As a result, it may seem like the prospect of ever reaching an agreement with your child's other parent is highly unlikely, but mediation can often lead to surprisingly positive results.
The question of which parent is more likely to get custody is an ever evolving one. Once, there was a policy of ensuring that the mother always received custody, called the “tender years” doctrine, which assumed that young children needed to be with their mothers in their early, developmental years. But more recently, courts and lawmakers have realized that the mother is not always in the best position to provide a safe and healthy environment for children.
Many people are confused by the process of determining child custody and visitation. It can be a stressful time, so confusion is only natural. But, many ask who gets to determine how much visitation a parent gets? Is it the court? The parent with custody? The parent seeking visitation? The child? A government agency?
Millions of Americans experienced bullying at some point as a child. I personally experienced bullying between 5th and 8th grade when I went through a phase where I stopped growing up as much as out for a few years. Psychologically, I saw myself as a short, fat kid for years after, well into college when I was actually 6'3” tall and well built. The effects of bullying can be damaging and long lasting.
Many professional athletes over the last two decades have been subjected to humiliation and ridicule after it was revealed that they used steroids to gain a competitive edge. From the Olympics to cycling to professional baseball, it seems no high level sport is safe from the use of such banned substances, a practice often called “doping.” But why are steroids illegal?
For most, estate planning is not an enjoyable experience. For many it is a recognition of their own mortality. For others, it is simply an exercise in annoyance and frustration as one tries to navigate the complicated twists and turns of tax laws, healthcare regulations, trust laws, etc. To make things simpler, the following is a list of the top 5 things you should consider adding to your estate plan.
When hiring an attorney, a potential client is often asked to pay an upfront fee called a “retainer” in order to hire the client. Many clients wonder why they should have to pay such a fee, particularly when they are sometimes non-refundable and they have not yet received any benefit from hiring the attorney. What happens if the case settles shortly after paying the retainer fee and before the attorney has done much work?
The phrase “consumer rights” is thrown around rather freely these days. But what are consumer rights? Are they written down somewhere? Where do they come from? What are the rights?
Filing for divorce does not have to be a hostile event. If you and your spouse have simply drifted apart and decided it is time to move on, there is no reason that a divorce needs to be a contentious battle full of expensive legal fees. In fact, it is possible to get a divorce on your own without an attorney.
We have all seen police shows where, immediately upon arrest, a police officer begins telling the suspect “you have the right to remain silent...” The list of rights the officer is about to recite are known as Miranda Rights. So what happens if the officer does not read you your Miranda Rights at the time of arrest?
It is well known that in American law, in order to convict someone of a crime, the prosecution must prove the defendant's guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. But that is only one side of the equation. The defendant also has an opportunity to present evidence to support a defense. So what kinds of defenses can one raise in a criminal case?
You may have heard of someone using an alibi to avoid criminal liability, either in real life or on a television show or movie. But what is an alibi? How does it work? What are the legal consequences fo claiming an alibi?
Getting arrested is an incredibly stressful, confusing experience, both for the person under arrest and their friends and loved ones. And, once taken to jail, there is probably just one thing on everyone's mind: getting that person back out of jail. So, how is that done?
Most people do not hire attorneys everyday. This may leave them at a bit of a disadvantage in knowing what they should find out from an attorney before hiring them. Before hiring a lawyer, you should get information about these aspects of the attorney-client relationship:
Medical malpractice is when a healthcare professional breaches their duty of care to a patient, resulting in injury or death. Fortunately, these cases are fairly rare, but when they do occur the consequences can be devastating. Some people wonder what kinds of treatments might lead to medical malpractice. These are some of the most common types of medical malpractice.
Historically, one often thinks of a bygone era where child custody was always seen as a woman's right. But, times have changed and a more enlightened world has realized that a mother as the sole custodial parent is not always the best solution. Thus, what are a father's custody rights today?
Often, people may have viable bases for lawsuits but fear that they are not allowed to file their claim without a lawyer. As a result, concerns over paying attorney fees may keep some from following through with their claims, meaning that the legal wrong may go unaddressed and the person who was wronged may go uncompensated. But, it is possible to file a lawsuit without a lawyer. This article will tell you how.
Whenever someone hires an attorney, an attorney-client relationship is formed, and a privilege is created. But what is the attorney-client privilege? What makes the relationship between a lawyer and a client different from other professional relationships?
One of the biggest concerns of people in need of the assistance of an attorney is how much it will cost. The type of fee arrangement that is available to a client will often have a lot to do with the type of legal issues you are bringing to your attorney. There are several common types of attorney fees and fee arrangements:
When one visits a doctor, they usually expect to get better. But in a few cases, mistakes are made, and the patient ends up with a misdiagnosis, an improperly performed procedure, or a mistake with medication. These errors can result in not getting better, new injuries, or even death. This could be medical malpractice.
Mediation, a form of alternative dispute resolution (ADR). In mediation, a neutral third party called a “mediator” tries to facilitate negotiations between two or more adverse parties.
After the recent financial problems of the first part of the 21st century, it is natural for investors to be wary of those who handle their financial investments. So what should you do if you notice something questionable in your account statements or trade confirmations?
When dealing with a contract dispute, particularly in the case of an oral contract, one may hear the term “statute of frauds” used. This does not refer to the commission of an actual fraud, but rather, whether the contract had to be in writing or not. So what is the statute of frauds and when does it apply?
Graffiti is an unusual topic in the art world. Several artists have become iconic for their graffiti art works, like Keith Haring and Banksy. But how does the law deal with the debate between free expression, art, and the crime of defacing others' properties?
Many states have small casinos associated with a Native American tribe. This often leads one to wonder why casinos are legal when associated with an Indian Tribe, but not under other circumstances. Which laws apply to these Indian casinos, as they are often called, and how are they regulated?
Have you ever been walking along a sidewalk or walkway and taken a fall? Maybe a step was uneven or there was ice on the ground, or a root had broken through the concrete. Whatever the case, it is possible to seriously injure yourself, even through no fault of your own, just walking down the sidewalk. But, who should be responsible for those injuries?
Every year, millions of students are convinced to take on student loans with promises of huge salaries upon graduation, but often the reality is a bit different and these same students are left with an enormous debt and little or no means of repayment. Indeed, these debts can last for decades.
The term assault is used with relation to any number of different crimes and civil offenses, often incorrectly. So, what is assault, actually? And what are the different types of assault?
Leaving a job, whether intentionally, by being fired, or through circumstances beyond your control (such as layoffs), is almost always tinged with at least a little (and often a lot) of stress. One of the biggest concerns faced by many in this position is what sorts of benefits they are entitled to? Will their insurance continue? Are they guaranteed a severance? What happens if they cannot immediately find a job?
In many stores today we see the signs warning about being on camera and advising that shoplifters will be prosecuted. Despite these measure, every year billions of dollars worth of products are stolen from retailers. So what is shoplifting, how is it different than other types of theft, what are the possible consequences, and what impact does it have on society?
Getting married can be exciting, but it can also lead to a loss of good sense. It is easy to become wrapped up in the excitement of love and a wedding and to forget about what exactly could be at stake should things go wrong. It may not be terribly romantic, but it could be very wise to think through both the good and the bad of a marriage.
Many have asked the question “what is international law?” It is an understandable question given the way that it is thrown around as though it is an easily identifiable thing. However, “international law” is largely a misnomer, given that it primarily refers to a body of treaty agreements and their resulting rules, regulations, and practices, and not the codification of laws passed down by a centralized government or legislative body.
Few changes to the rules of procedure have been as groundbreaking as those pertaining to discovery of electronically stored media, or e-discovery. Although e-discovery has been slow to make much impact on some areas of legal practice, its effects on litigation are beginning to spread to even the most simple of cases, requiring more and more people to form at least a basic understanding of what it is, how it works, and what their obligations could be in a lawsuit.
Like virtually every other activity Americans engage in on a daily basis, even video games are subject to the restrictions and protections of the law. This is also an area of increasing interest as hundreds of new companies come into the video game market every year by developing the wildly popular game apps played on mobile phones and tablet devices.
It may have been a decade ago, but the fallout of the accounting scandals of the late 1990's and early 2000's continue to resonate through both of the accounting and legal professions. The largely self-regulated accounting profession has enacted numerous changes that continue to evolve in response to the scandals and pressure from government agencies and the public.
Different Types of Bankruptcies in America and the Bankruptcy Abuse Prevention and Consumer Protection Act
The recent economic downturn put many in a difficult financial position, unable to repay all of their obligations. This has been true for not just individuals, but businesses and cities, as well. When this occurs, the law provides a mechanism for getting out of control debts back under control, either by restructuring debt or wiping out certain types of obligations. This is bankruptcy.
It is an unfortunate reality of our modern culture that divorce is common and widespread. If you are going through a divorce, much of the terminology and general process of divorce can be confusing and intimidating. Understanding the fundamental concepts of the American divorce system can help you in navigating through the process of divorce or legal separation.
Squatting is the act of taking over custody and possession of someone else's real estate without permission. It can often be difficult to oust squatters, and in many jurisdictions, if the squatter does things in a certain fashion, they may even be able to take away ownership of the property through a process called adverse possession.
While American women are generally treated with little distinction from men under American law, it has not always been so. Indeed, it is still not this way in many parts of the world. A recent survey of countries ranked the legal standing of women in various nations and compiled a list of the nations with the most legal distinctions between the rights of men versus those of women.
A fan who got hit in the eye by a hot dog thrown by the Kansas City Royals mascot in 2009 could get another chance to convince a jury that the Royals owe him for his injuries. The case went before the Missouri Supreme Court on September 11.
After decades of live fire exercises on the island of Vieques in Puerto Rico, the US government ceased to fire on the island in 2003. Nevertheless, the legacy of those training exercises linger on, and now a group of residents have filed a lawsuit against the US government claiming human rights violations.
Most lawsuits settle rather than going all the way to judgment. In fact, the vast majority (often estimated around 90%) of all cases will settle before a trial, and a substantial number of those remaining cases will settle before the verdict is returned.
What happens when famous pieces of art are stolen and law enforcement leads run dry? Private recovery agencies are called upon to bring back these multimillion dollar masterpieces, often taking years to track the work, earning staggering fees, and blurring the line between legal and illegal activities.
The Obama administration has been cracking down on environmental regulations, particularly with regard to global warming. Faced with this increased pressure, the coal and electric industries are applying a new legal strategy they believe will allow them to take advantage of a loophole and prevent most EPA enforcement measures.
Attorney advertising is a fairly new phenomenon in many jurisdictions. Rules of various state bar associations have eased over the last two decades to allow more and more freedom for attorneys wishing to advertise their services just like any other profession. However, the rise of new technology has presented a new twist and new source of liability for attorneys wishing to advertise online.
Detroit was one of the most heavily hit cities during the recent economic downturn. Although it has started to rebound, based in large part upon federal subsidies provided by the Obama Administration which many credit with saving the American auto industry, the city continues to deal with financial woes as it struggles through the larges Chapter 9 municipal bankruptcy in US history.
In any civil action, including divorces, both parties must have notice of the case. This is accomplished through service of process. While this can take many forms, some form of service must occur or the case cannot move forward and a judgment either will not be entered against that party or could be easily vacated.
Ending a marriage is never a simple process. However, it can be simpler in some situations when the spouses are able to remain civil and agree between themselves how to divide the marital assets, deal with custody and support issues, and handle any other matters. Also known as an uncontested divorce, it may be hard for divorcing couples to accomplish in many instances, but the benefits can be great under the right circumstances.
Domestic violence can happen anywhere and is not bound by race, religion, or socio-economic status. But, recent studies show that African American women are at three times the risk of experiencing a lethal domestic violence event than any other racial groups in America. Indeed, domestic violence murders are among the leading causes of death of black women ages 15 to 35.
On September 19, President Barack Obama announced that Diane J. Humetewa was a nominee for the US District Court for Arizona. The nomination was made in response to widespread requests for representation on the federal bench of Native American interests.
Johnson & Johnson, well known pharmaceutical company, announced a recall for its anti-psychotic drug, Risperdal Consta. The recall was due to concerns that the drug may not be sterile. The Risperdal recall is just the latest of dozens of recalls by Johnson & Johnson in recent years, costing the Brunswick, N.J.-based company hundreds of millions of dollars, and damaging its reputation in the medical community and among patients.
The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (commonly known as the “ATF”) is responsible for regulating guns in the United States. A current loophole allows individuals to obtain weapons such as machine guns and sawed-off shotguns through corporations, trusts or other legal entities.
A jury in Myrtle Beach, SC has awarded what is expected to be one of the state’s largest judgments in a medical malpractice lawsuit against an orthopedic surgeon whose actions left his patient a paraplegic.
A battlefield is a dangerous place, and tens of thousands of US military veterans have come home from Iraq and Afghanistan with injuries suffered on the battlefield. Naturally, many seek treatment at Veterans Affairs hospitals. But, CBS News reports that some veterans are dying of accidental overdoses of narcotic painkillers at a much higher rate than the general population.
One of the most common questions often asked of corporate attorneys by small business owners who are just setting up their first company is how to write off expenses. Usually, two of the most important expenses these people want to write off are meals and entertainment expenses.
Every state is responsible for passing laws regarding local standards for moral conduct. As a result, each state has enacted its own laws regarding sex crimes. Most are common to every jurisdiction, such as laws prohibiting rape, sexual contact with minors, and public exposure. But some laws are so unique and so inexplicable that they are worth review.
The heyday of lead poisoning cases may be past, but they still pop up from time to time. Often, lead paint is discovered in older homes when renovations are underway. The effects of lead poisoning are often slow to develop and require difficult proofs.
Richmond, California has developed a unique solution to the problem with homes that are underwater after the mortgage crisis. It is using the government's authority to take title to property through eminent domain to reduce the underwater mortgage debt in the city.
Gambling is restricted in America, though its popularity is increasing. Laws regarding gambling are important not only for those involved with gaming operations, like casinos, bingo, or poker tournaments, but also for the average person who wants to know whether he can legally start a betting pool among his friends or at his office, has an idea for a new business model involving some form of chance, or if he can legally participate in an online poker tournament.
Perhaps you have seen an advertisement at a restaurant suggesting that you can open your own franchise and make a lot of money. Or, have you seen an advertisement on TV or the Internet talking about franchising opportunities? Or has someone approached you about buying into a multilevel marketing franchise? Whatever the situation, an understanding of what franchising is and its legal ramifications can be important for a successful business.
Determining the responsible party for a car accident can sometimes be tricky. There is often a difference between who actually caused an accident and who legally is at fault. Understanding who is at fault will have ramifications on whose insurance will be required to pay for damage to vehicles and properties, and which driver might be held liable for personal injuries.
Every year, thousands of people are arrested on drug possession charges. Many of these charges relate to very small amounts of controlled substances in a person's car or on their person. These cases are an enormous percentage of the criminal court dockets of every state, leading to almost routine behavior of drug possession defendants and sentencing. But, it is possible to fight these types of charges and obtain a more favorable outcome.
When consumers see or hear an advertisement on the Internet, radio, in print, on a billboard, on television, or anywhere else, federal law says that the ad must be truthful, not misleading, and, when appropriate, backed by scientific evidence.
We all understand that when someone wrongs us, we can contact an attorney to obtain assistance in filing a lawsuit to obtain relief. But what do you do when your attorney is the one who has wronged you? How do you obtain relief when your attorney drops the ball and commits malpractice?
On Monday, September 16, 2013, Aaron Alexis opened fire in the Washington Naval Shipyard, killing 12 naval and civilian personnel before he was ultimately killed himself by law enforcement. However, much to the surprise of the general public, the weapon that Alexis used to kill 12 innocent people was legal, since when he purchased it, Alexis had no record of either a misdemeanor or felony conviction.
Secret Court Ruling Explains Government's Legal Justification for Warrantless Collection of Phone Data
Since the revelation by former government contractor, Edward Snowden, that the federal government had been spying on US citizens for years, the opinions of both the public and a number of elected officials have shown strong disapproval for this conduct.
A provision of the Affordable Care Act (also frequently referred to as “Obamacare”) requries that corporations of 50 or more employees must issue FDA-approved contraceptives as part of their health plan. However, a legal advocacy group has announced that it will ask the US Supreme Court to take up a Michigan manufacturing company’s challenge to the requirement.
The recent floods in Colorado have brought a problem to the forefront: post-disaster price gouging. While 35 states have made this a crime, there are still 15, Colorado included, where this is merely considered capitalism.
Millions of Americans engage in creating fantasy football teams. It can be a fun way to add an extra layer of enjoyment to the season and, for some, to add an extra investment in the fan's favorite players and teams. While most fans only worry about who they will start on their fantasy team on Sunday, if their league has an entry fee or awards prizes, they may be engaging in illegal activity.
Samantha Perelman is a 23-year-old student at Columbia University, working on a masters of business administration and as a summer production assistant on the set of the HBO show “Girls.” Impressive credentials, to be sure, but more impressive is the legal battle in which she finds herself: she is fighting with her uncle for a share in an estimated $700 million inheritance.
In recent years, incidences of public nudity have increased. In some instances, this is innocent fun, like ritual moonings in Orange County, California, and worldwide naked bike riding events.
Corporate attorneys are frequently asked to assess various contracts that their clients bring to them. Generally, clients only want to know whether it is a “good” contract, or if it “covers everything.” But, this is only a small fraction of what an attorney should analyze. So, what do lawyers look for when evaluating contracts?
Two Orlando, Florida car dealers recently made headlines when they were caught in a scheme to defraud customers. When you buy and sell cars at a dealership, you expect things to go smoothly; expect the dealer to follow the law. But if the dealer defrauds you, what are your options?
And You Thought Your Legal Fees Were High...Banks' Legal Fees Top $103 Billion After Housing Bubble Burst
If you have ever complained about your legal fees, or been reluctant to hire an attorney because you did not think you could afford it, just be glad you are not one of the six largest US Banks recovering from the collapse of the housing market and resulting financial crisis. Bloomberg reports that together, they have amassed a whopping $103 billion in legal costs since the beginning of the Great Recession.
So-Called Baby Veronica is now four years old, and has already been the subject of a case that has traveled all the way to the US Supreme Court and back down through several state courts. The case is a twisting tangle of different legal principles intermingled with social policies, making for a great primer on both adoption laws and Native American affairs.
Many will long remember the death of Princess Diana in 1997. She passed away as a result of a fatal car crash during a high-speed paparazzi chase. This led to a number of laws in both England and America relating to the paparazzi.
On February 20, 2011, a teenage driver was sending a text message when he accidentally swerved across the middle line and killed the driver of a vehicle heading in the opposite direction. The incident was clearly an accident, but was the teen's action of composing text messages while driving so wanton and reckless that it could amount to criminal homicide?
America's largest banking institution is facing charges under the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act for a practice of hiring the children of foreign officials. The case will test how broadly the federal law can be applied to practices as common as hiring an influential person's children in order to gain a small advantage in negotiations.
In my former legal practice, I found that few cases were more prone to absurd happenings, bizarre government policies, or overly expensive litigation than pet cases.
We are all familiar with the idea of individuals committing crimes and facing the consequences of those actions. But, what happens if a corporation commits a crime? Who is responsible?
In 2012, the US federal government passed a bill called the JOBS act. Among its provisions was one allowing for small investments in exchange for equity in that company or project without having to go through the SEC or qualify as an investor. What is the difference between crowdinvesting and crowdfunding, what is Kickstarter, and how does it all work from a legal standpoint?
Anyone who has ever been to a doctor has probably seen a form relating to informed consent. But what is informed consent? What happens if you are asked to consent to something that you do not understand and are later injured?
Leases are tricky things. They are a combination of contract laws, agreements between the parties, and laws and regulations that relate to landlords and tenants, housing standards, zoning, safety, etc. As a result, although a lease agreement may say you have to pay rent always and under every circumstance, there are plenty of times when one of these other laws may intervene.
On a Saturday night in September, 2013, an emotionally disturbed man ran through Times Square in New York City mimicking the action of firing a gun at police. Believing in the heat of the moment that they may actually be under fire, the officers responded with actual bullets, hitting two innocent bystanders. Just a few months earlier, nine bystanders were hit by police bullets during a shootout with a disgruntled man who shot a former coworker in the financial district.
Have you ever been out of the office or away from home, meet someone, strike up a conversation, and realize you want to do business with that person? Maybe you even had the feeling after leaving that if you could have given them a contract right then and there you would have closed the deal. Well now you can, with a new smartphone and tablet application called Shake.
Encrypted Email Service Begins Appeal of Surveillance Order in Wake of Revelation of Government Surveillance
Lavabit, a company that offers encrypted email services to its customers, has formally appealed the secret surveillance order that led it to close its business last month, but the case was immediately placed under seal in the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals.
We have all heard the saying that you cannot fight city hall. But, what do you do when a public service like electricity, water, sewage, or trash pick up breaks down and nobody does anything to fix it? Who do you pursue and how?
In September, 2013, a man from Missouri was charged with child sex trafficking in the case of a developmentally delayed girl from Massachusetts who disappeared a few days before week and was later found safe in Rhode Island. Cases such as these raise a number of questions, including which state has jurisdiction, which laws apply, and what can be done.
It seems like the headlines are constantly filled with new stories of politicians quite literally caught with their pants down in scandals with prostitutes. This often raises the question of why we do not treat prostitution in the same was as pornography. Why is sex for money okay in one setting and not another?
Whether you believe the current administration's handling of the dispute in Syria has been well handled or not, and whether you are for or against intervention, the back and forth process provides interesting insights into the processes of both international and constitutional law.
Most businesses need a plan for dealing with unexpected situations. Usually, that plan includes insurance policies. But law firms and lawyers face unique circumstances most other professions never face. So what sorts of insurance should law firms obtain to best manage their risks?
A bankruptcy judge in New York has endorsed a plan to merge American Airlines and US Airways. That approval, however, is contingent upon the outcome of an anti-trust lawsuit filed by the US Department of Justice which asserts that such a merger would deprive the marketplace of choice and competition.
Those with sick and elderly loved ones forced to live out the end of their lives in pain have often wondered why physician assisted suicide is illegal and what laws prevent it. The answer is a mix of politics, historic legal precedent, and the black letter of the law.
On September 12, 2013, a New York City driver reportedly hit the accelerator instead of the brake as he pulled into a parking space. The result: he ran over 5 teenagers standing on the sidewalk. Fortunately, none of the teens was seriously injured. But, to the shock of many, officials announced they did not intend to press charges in what they considered a purely accidental incident.
George Zimmerman: Domestic Violence Raises Questions About Use of Violence and Florida Stand Your Ground Law
On September 9, 2013, George Zimmerman, infamous after his slaying of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin and subsequent acquittal, made headlines again over a domestic violence dispute. Shellie Zimmerman, George Zimmerman's wife, told a 911 operator that her husband George "was going to shoot" her and her father at their Florida home. So, would she have had the right to shoot George Zimmerman had he threatened violence?
We all know the dangers of intoxication or drug use before getting behind the wheel of a car, but when else can intoxication be against the law? It might surprise you to know that there are ways to commit DUI without even being in a car. In fact, there are many laws affecting intoxication and being aware of some of the more unusual ones could be the difference between a fun night out and a legal nightmare.
British manufacturer Dyson, famous for their revolutionary vacuum cleaners and bladeless fans, has instituted legal action against electronics giant Samsung, citing patent infringements.
A former Abercrombie & Fitch employee has won a major discrimination case against the popular clothing company. Umme-Hani Khan, a 19 year old Muslim woman obtained the assistance of the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.
It is a horrifying situation. You buy a car, motorcycle, or RV by financing it at the dealership. You sign the paperwork and drive it home with the dealer's blessings only to discover a few days later that the financing has suddenly and unexpectedly been denied. Now the dealer wants its vehicle back and you are left holding the bag, maybe even out a down payment or other fees as well as the cost of any aftermarket additions to your vehicle. What do you do?
For those who have either been injured by a hit and run driver, or those who have lost a loved one, it is clear that hit and run accidents can turn an already unpleasant event into a truly horrible one. For those who caused the accident then fled the scene, usually in a panic, the consequences can be severe.
Building codes establish standards for the construction of buildings and other structures. Virtually every structure in a modern building is subject to at least one, and usually several different building codes.
The single most common cause of construction litigation for non-private, residential projects is delay. Delays may cascade from one contractor or trade to another, causing a domino effect that can lead to a very expensive conclusion. After all, time is money, and delays on commercial projects can mean thousands or even millions in lost revenues to the property owner.
Many companies have developed their own unique means of doing what they do, making their product, or handling their information. If your way of doing things is better than your competition's, they may naturally want to find out how you are doing it. So, protecting your competitive advantage – your trade secrets – can be critical to growing your business. And, one of the best ways to do that is through the use of the nondisclosure agreement.
In order to avoid potential problems in the clearance of your merchandise, understanding US customs laws is very important. In fact, this knowledge is key before you begin trying to import/export products, or they may be subject to delays or even seizure.
Much has been made over the last few years about a push to legalize marijuana. In 1996, California voters passed Proposition 215, making it the first in the union to allow for the medical use of marijuana. Since then, 19 more states, and the District of Columbia have enacted similar laws, for a total of 20 states and the District of Columbia with public medical marijuana programs.
Negative credit can have many far reaching consequences. Although you may not realize it, the health of your credit history will determine whether or not you are suitable for all sorts of things, including basic needs like renting an apartment or getting a job.
If you have lost a loved one, there are many things on your mind, not the least of which may be what to do with the belongings that have been left behind. Sadly, family can become very attached to different items that may bear a sentimental value to them, or feel entitled to a portion of the estate's value. These problems can be greatly magnified in situations where there is no will.
Construction work can be very dangerous. Heavy equipment, heights, dangerous obstacles all around: construction work presents unique hazards most other occupations do not. As a result, injuries on construction sites are all too frequent an occurrence.
Gun laws are largely a matter of state law. Although certain federal laws regulate some guns, like automatic weapons, states are generally able to control the issuance of concealed weapons permits.
Many have questions regarding whether it is legal to carry a knife (or a particular type of knife) in their location. There is a good reason: laws vary widely from state-to-state and from municipality to municipality. As a general rule, most states will allow the carrying of small utility knives, but even then they can only be carried in certain places. Following is a quick primer on common knife carrying laws.
Children are often the most difficult factor to sort out when a relationship ends. There is very little stronger than a parent's love for their child, making visitation issues very emotional and volatile.
Whenever you step onto a bus, whether a city bus, a tour bus, a shuttle, a school bus, etc., you are entrusting your safety to the bus driver and the owner of the bus. For some reason, we feel safe and secure on a bus; so much so that many buses do not have or require seat belts. But even when in a bus, accidents do happen.
Motorcycle accidents, though not necessarily more common than other motor vehicle accidents, can be more shocking and devastating. But, they can also be caused by some unique circumstances. A number of studies and surveys have discovered some interesting facts and statistics about motorcycle accidents:
According to the Federal Railroad Administration, approximately 3,000 train accidents occur each year in the United States, and nearly 1,000 people die each year as a result. Railroad accidents may be in the form of a collision with another train, a car or bus, or even a derailment or fire.
In Illinois, employers have a duty to their employees to provide a safe work environment that protects them for injury on the job. This is even more true where industrial equipment or manufacturing machines are in use. But, industrial workplaces like factories, energy plants and warehouses have a higher than average rate of injury and death for their workers.
A tort is a civil (as opposed to a criminal) wrong committed by a person or company that results in some sort of harm to another, whether physical injury, emotional distress, or financial loss or property damage. The person or entity that commits the tort is called a “tortfeasor,” and is legally responsible for the harm their wrong causes to the victim(s).
Sadly, the news is constantly filled with reports of various sex crimes, like rape, teachers having sex with underage students, and child pornography rings. Another frequent story is that of the sex offender or predator who offends again and hurts somebody. But what is the truth behind sex offenders and predators? Which crimes will result in registration? How can you find out about sex offenders near you? Just how big of a threat do these people pose?
In our modern digital age, even having a mug shot, let alone a conviction, can create difficult and embarrassing circumstances. Employers may be unwilling to hire, potential romantic partners may be hesitant to even meet, and landlords may not be willing to rent to you. So what can you do about getting a conviction expunged from your record?
Both DUI and DWI have made their way into our common speech, but often we forget exactly what they mean. Moreover, there is often confusion over the distinction between a DUI or a DWI that can be enhanced by the variations between differing jurisdictions.
Virtually any civil lawsuit has one thing in common: damages. That is the injury, financial harm, or damage to property for which one is entitled to recover money from the other party. Personal injury claims related with helping drivers and passengers receive compensation for injuries they suffer in auto accidents are no exception. However, several factors can affect the amount of compensation received and the time it takes to receive it.
In virtually every jurisdiction, the owner of an animal will be responsible if it injures someone, whether that animal is a pet, a service animal, or on display, such as at a zoo or exhibition. But, people get injured by wild animals, too. When a wild animal attacks someone, who is responsible for the injuries? The injured person? The property owner where the attack occurred? The government?
Credit card fraud is a form of identity theft that involves an unauthorized use of someone's credit card information for the purpose of charging purchases to the account or removing funds from it. State and federal laws both come into play with relation to credit card fraud, as may your agreements with your credit or debit card issuer.
In criminal prosecutions, one often hears various drugs referred to by different schedules. But what are the schedules, which drugs are on them, and what do they mean?
It may seem unthinkable that anyone would want to injure a defenseless elderly person, but it happens everyday. Nursing home abuse takes many forms, but all of it can be damaging, whether emotionally, physically, or financially. Knowing the signs of nursing home abuse and contacting a nursing home abuse lawyer if you know or suspect your loved one has been abused or neglected is critical in protecting both your loved one and others who may not have family or those as attentive as you.
Statistics show that there are 450,000 emergency room visits due to burn injuries every year in the United States. After emergency treatment, 10% of those injuries (or some 45,000 people) will be admitted to long-term care or treatment at burn centers. Unfortunately, about 3,500 of these burn victims will not survive.
It is a nightmare scenario nobody wishes to face: what should be one of the happiest moments of their life becomes one of the most tragic when their newborn experiences injuries during birth. These injuries can be permanently debilitating or even result in death. But, very often, birth injuries are also preventable and unnecessary, resulting from improper medical care.
You are divorced, or were never married, but have children with your ex. You share custody or, at the very least have visitation rights. But now your ex tells you s/he is moving someplace with the kids that would make seeing your children as regularly as you would like much more difficult.
The purpose of a discovery deposition is for an attorney or a party in a case to find out as much as they can about the facts of a law suit. If you are a party to the case, you will likely have a good idea of what to expect, ideally through the advice of your attorney. But, if you are either unrepresented or not a party to a case, this guide should help you understand how to behave, what is at stake, and what your obligations are.
You have been stopped, either in a car, in a public place, or walking down the street, and an officer asks you to do something you do not think you should have to do. This would probably be a request to search your person or vehicle. So, when an officer asks you to empty your pockets, allow a search of your car, or for some other consent to search, how do you say “no” without bringing on more suspicion and a possible arrest?
For those who have only been married for a short time, the question of whether an annulment is available versus a divorce is a common question. When things sour so quickly, there is often a desire not to share what would otherwise be marital assets or even acknowledge the marriage was real. But, is it available in your case and how is it different than a divorce?
Do you have a trouble employee that can never seem to make it to work when they are supposed to? Either they are always late or they are not there at all? How should you go about disciplining this employee, particularly if you have let it slide in the past? Is there any risk to firing someone for claiming too much sick time (even if they are entitled to those days under the terms of their employment)?
We have all had the situation at some point: a neighbor that cares for nobody but themselves. Stereo blasting late at night, dogs barking or attacking others, construction that causes damage to our property...the list goes on. So what do you do in those instances when reasoning with the neighbor just is not working?
The Social Security Administration (SSA) is the organization responsible for paying disability benefits to American adults and children deemed to suffer from long-term disability. The law states that disabilities must be the result of a medical condition that has prevented, or will prevent, you from working for a year or that will ultimately end in death.
Many of us have heard of Medicare and Medicaid, but never really understood what they were. Who is eligible for this coverage? What does it cover? Does it cost anything?
Americans have a non-explicit right (often called a “penumbra right”) to privacy. We find its origins in things like the right against self-incrimination, the right against illegal search and seizure, etc. In the modern era, the general nature of a right of privacy is the right of a person to be free from unwarranted publicity or the unwarranted appropriation or exploitation of that person's image, voice, or likeness.
A common topic on spy shows and mobster movies, money laundering may be an unclear concept for many. What is it? Is it illegal? If so, why? What are the elements of this crime?
You own a business and have come up with a great new logo or phrase you want to use that will be synonymous with your company's place in the market. What do you do to protect it from others who might try to borrow from your company's reputation or good will in the market?
Getting behind on rent and receiving an eviction notice can be a traumatic experience. While every state is different, most share certain characteristics, and it is important to know how evictions work in order to know what you should do.
Eminent domain, or the process by which the government takes property from private owners, can be a confusing process for many. The most common use of eminent domain is to obtain title to property used for roads and other public facilities. But, this is changing. Cases have held that eminent domain can also be used for the purpose of economic development. So how does eminent domain work?
The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) is a set of statutes designed to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of the US health care system. Much of it pertains to privacy issues related to your health records and what doctors and insurance companies can share with one another and with others. This is, to many, the most important part of HIPAA and creates a number of new rights for patients and new obligations for those in the medical profession.
If you have already been sued, it is probably too late to do anything to protect your assets. But, if you are a planner and looking to protect your assets before you have a problem, this article is for you.
Traveling by air is still one of the safest forms of transportation. Although airplane crashes are extremely rare, they do still happen ocasionally. When a major airline disaster occurs, the federal government provides support services to the families of victims and to survivors.
One of the most difficult situations for parents with special needs children can be ensuring that those children get the education to which they are entitled. Some children experience difficulties in school, ranging from problems with concentration, learning, language, and perception to problems with behavior and/or making and keeping friends. Others have more serious problems, including physical or psychiatric disorders, emotional problems, or learning disorders.
At some point, we all have a negotiation. In the legal setting, this often occurs when negotiating during a mediation, but you probably also have negotiations in many other settings, as well, like when buying a car, interviewing for a job, or working out the terms of a home loan. Since negotiating is a necessary skill for everyone's life, it is a good idea to understand a few tips to give you the advantage for getting what you want.
So, something has gone wrong in your trial and now you need to take an appeal. Or maybe the other side was unhappy with the outcome and they are taking the appeal, leaving you to make a response. An understanding of the appeal process and what it really means to take an appeal can be crucial to your success at this point in your legal dispute.
For those who have ever engaged in creative pursuits, the term “fair use” is often greeted with equal measures of delight and disdain. Fair use is an important part of copyright law that provides some flexibility for how copyrighted works can be used by others. In essence, fair use ensures that there are some kinds of uses that do not require someone to obtain permission or pay licensing fees to use certain works in certain ways.
If you live in a homeowners association, condominium, co-op, or other community association, you are probably already familiar with the concept of paying assessments, dues, service fees, or whatever your association may call them. But what happens if you get behind in paying your assessments? Can you stop paying these fees if you think your association is not treating you fairly?
We have all seen commercials making claims that our common sense told us simply cannot be true. For example, miracle weight loss supplements or exercise equipment. And yet, somehow these commercials make it to television and are not immediately removed as part of a lawsuit. How is that? What is the difference between false advertising and simply inflating the truth about your product (a practice called “puffing”)?
We often discuss jurisdiction, or hear it used in TV crime shows, but what does “jurisdiction” mean? For that matter, when is something a federal, state, or local matter and who can enforce which laws? How is this determined?
Have you purchased a piece of land only to discover after the sale that there was pollution on the property? Are you thinking of selling a house and wondering how much you need to disclose? Understanding the laws related to environmental disclosures can mean the difference between a costly lawsuit and a smooth transaction.
Listen, getting married can be a very exciting time filled with love and excited anticipation of a future with your loved one. But, it does not mean that you should throw all reason to the wind. If you or your soon-to-be-spouse have either a large number of assets or a number of debts, and you live in New Jersey, it may be wise to consider in advance what you will do about those assets/liabilities just in case anything should happen, and these tips will help you do that.
Considered by many to be the most important rights established by the United States Constitution, the First Amendment rights cover some of the most fundamental freedoms Americans enjoy. They include free speech, press, religion, petition, and assembly. These rights are fiercely protected but also not without limitation.
The other day I saw a bicyclist get hit by a woman in a large SUV as she inched into traffic. The driver of the SUV was not aware that she had hit anyone at first, and continued rolling forward, crushing the front fork of the bike while the rider scrambled away. It was not until he began screaming at her that she realized what she had done.
We have probably all received one of those notices in the mail advising us that we are part of a class action lawsuit. Maybe it requires some sort of registration or maybe you do not have to do anything. A few months or years later you receive a small check and never hear anything else about it. What was that? Did you do the right thing? Could you have gotten more money? It is really not as scary or complicated as it might seem.
Few sex crimes bring more negative connotations to mind than those related to child pornography. In our computer age where information, images, and videos can be rapidly and easily accessed, this has become a growing area of concern. Although search engines have become better at filtering out inappropriate materials, it is still possible to occasionally come into contact with these matters, either intentionally or not.
By far, one of the most common class of crimes to pass through the American legal system is the drug case. Whether possession or distribution, drug cases have gotten a lot of attention from both the media and legislators since the 1980's and the beginning of the “War on Drugs.” However, these laws are changing for some substances, like marijuana, so it is important to get a basic understanding of the state of the law related to controlled substances.
If you or someone you know has been in a boating accident, you understand how scary the whole event can be. Not only is someone injured, a boat may be damaged, and there may have been a very real fear of drowning as part of the accident. This can lead to long-term anguish and other injuries. Moreover, since it is not the familiar scenario of a car accident, who is responsible? Who do you report the accident to, if anyone? Is there insurance coverage? Who is liable?
Many have heard the term “alternative dispute resolution” associated with both arbitration and mediation, but may not have understood the difference. Indeed, many use the terms interchangeably even though they are very different procedures.
Are you an Arizona resident that has fallen behind on credit card debt? Is the credit card company harassing you with phone calls, letters, or worse, filed a lawsuit against you? If you find yourself in this situation, you have several options, and some are better than others. So what are your options?
If you are injured in Illinois by someone while they are working for someone else, who is liable? For example, if you are in a car accident with a delivery truck, is the driver liable or the delivery company? This is the concept of “Respondeat Superior” and can have very serious consequences for your personal injury case.
If you run a website, you may already be familiar with the concept of website's terms of service (“TOS”). If you are just starting out with your own site, you may not be familiar with these and need to get a handle on what is involved. In either case, terms of service can help to protect the owners of a website from liability to those who use the site or others, and should be an essential part of any website you own or design.
If you have been exposed to asbestos and been diagnosed with mesothelioma, you may want to know if you have a case against someone for your injuries, and if so, what the process for making that claim will be.
A construction (or "mechanic’s") lien gives builders, contractors, and suppliers legal recourse to get paid for their work as well as any materials or supplies purchased for a project. This recourse is in the form of a right to interfere with your ability to convey clear title to your real property and/or to foreclose the construction lien to take title to that property.
As the world becomes increasingly connected to the Internet, concerns from the real world are spilling over into the Web. For example, what are the legal concerns when registering a domain name? Can one violate a trademark or copyright with a domain name? If so, what kinds of remedies and protections exist?
It is a difficult topic to discuss or even think about, but rape is a real part of every civilization. Although improvements have been made in the legal system, prosecution of a rapist can still be a drawn out and painful process, and often the victims of rape have no idea what to expect. This article will discuss what rape is and what a victim should expect from the prosecution of the crime.
Computer crime is one of the fastest-growing types of illegal activity, both in the U.S. and abroad. Indeed, much of the computer crime Americans face is from foreign sources, making regulation of these activities by police authorities exceedingly difficult. While the Internet links people together like never before, it also provides endless opportunity to criminals seeking to exploit the vulnerabilities and trusting nature of others.
It is a common topic on the local news, and every year, thousands of Americans are bitten by animals. More often than not, these animals are dogs. Obviously, dog bites can lead to a number of expenses, including tests for rabies, medical treatment for injuries, etc. As a result, victims of dog bites often have claims for damages against the owners of the animals, the owners of property where the dog bite happened, and sometimes others.
As many judges are fond of saying, ours are courts of law, not courts of justice. “Justice” is an often subjective term that fails to take into consideration the best practices for society at large. Laws are generally intended to create the best outcome for all people in all situations. But, what happens when the best intentions go awry?
Usually, when one is injured they are entitled to usual compensatory damages, or money intended to return the person to the position they would have been in had the injury not occurred. But in a few instances, someone's conduct can be so bad that the law has determined that simply paying someone back is not enough; that they should actually be punished for their conduct.
In general, domestic violence restraining order laws establish who can file for an order, under what circumstances, what protection or relief a person can get from such an order, and how the order will be enforced by the authorities.
If you have been involved in a product liability dispute (or some other types of cases), your attorney may have mentioned that your claim is subject to the “economic loss doctrine” or the “economic loss rule.” That could leave you asking what that is and when it applies.
Arson is the malicious burning of the dwelling of another. Some states also include other places and things in the scope of items that can be burned and constitute arson, such as cars, businesses, churches, etc. In any event, arson is usually considered a second degree felony and is very serious.
Child abuse is never acceptable. Of course, what constitutes child support and what is discipline may sometimes be a gray zone. While the government stays out of our personal relationships in most instances, when it comes to child abuse and domestic violence there can be serious legal consequences. Thus, it is important to know what type of behavior is considered abusive and against the law, and the legal consequences those accused of abuse may face.
Often we use terms like separation and divorce almost interchangeably, but in many jurisdictions these terms can have very different legal significance. Indeed, there are even differences between separation and legal separation. When going to court, it is often important to use very precise terms to describe a situation in order to make sure your rights are protected, so it is important to understand the distinction between these three terms.
When a married couple has a child, most jurisdictions presume that the husband is the father of the child (even if he is not). When an unmarried couple has a child, on the other hand, it is usually necessary to establish paternity as soon as possible after the baby is born. This protects the mother, the baby, and the father, by establishing everyone's rights with regard to one another, such as visitation, support, and inheritance.
Bankruptcy is a legal proceeding that helps some people who cannot pay their bills get a fresh financial start by temporarily, or permanently, preventing creditors from collecting debts from you. Bankruptcy is generally considered the debt management tool of last resort because the results are long-lasting and far-reaching. A bankruptcy stays on your credit report for 10 years, making it difficult to acquire credit, buy a home, get life insurance, or sometimes get a job.
Nobody likes finding mold in their homes or businesses, but it is more common than you might expect. Unfortunately, a mold problem can be more than just annoying, it can be financially devastating to a property owner who must make expensive measures to eradicate the mold and to prevent its return.
Are you a New Jersey resident considering adoption? Or are you involved in a dispute trying to prevent someone else from adopting your child? In either case, it is important to understand the process of adoption and its legal ramifications.
In most states, crimes are classified in one of two categories: felonies and misdemeanors. Sometimes, there are also a third class of crimes called petty crimes or violations, and are usually punished by a fine with no jail time (these often include traffic infractions). Understanding the difference between a felony and a misdemeanor can be critical in understanding charges against a person, terms of plea agreements, and potential punishments.
Prostitution is one of those legal issues that creates an intense debate and will likely remain an issue in America for years to come.
RICO stands for the “Racketeering Influenced and Corrupt Organizations” Act. It was a groundbreaking piece of legislation passed in the United States in 1970 with the goal of financially crippling the Mafia. However, it has evolved to have a variety of applications today against many organizations aside from the Mafia.
Juvenile crimes are the fastest growing area of criminal activity in America. Juvenile crimes are considered those crimes committed by people who are under the age of eighteen. Juvenile offenders, or “juvenile delinquents,” as they are sometimes referred to, are usually handled differently than adult offenders, but an increasing trend toward harsher sentencing may erode this distinction in the near future.
Extradition refers to the transfer of an accused criminal by one state or nation to another. The recent Snowden case has brought this issue to the forefront again, as the American government has expressed its desire to regain jurisdiction over Edward Snowden for leaking top-secret information about American intelligence gathering efforts.
Food poisoning is in the news again, and it seems to be an increasingly common occurrence as more and more of us eat meals prepared by others on a regular basis. So what should you do if you have become ill after eating contaminated food? The answer will depend on the particular circumstances of your illness.
After you finally received word that your case had settled, your first thought was probably when you would receive your settlement check. While you can ask your attorney to give you an estimate of when you can expect your check, the answer to this question depends on a number of factors, such as the defendant’s policy, the type of case that it is and whether there are any extraneous circumstances affecting payout.
You have been pulled over but you are not sure why. You do not think you did anything wrong, but you get a ticket anyway. How do you fight it?
Homicide is the taking of a human life. Every state in the US has its own unique classifications of homicide, but these classifications generally fall into three general categories. Those general categories are murder, manslaughter, and justifiable homicide.
Insurance bad faith, also known as “insurance fraud" is the term used to describe the mistreatment of consumers and businesses by insurance carriers. It usually applies to situations in which an insurance company refuses to pay out a settlement pursuant to the terms of its insurance contract with the person or entity they claim to insure.
U.S. immigration law is very complex, and can be very confusing. In order to understand the process, you need to understand the factors related to the law and policies of immigration.
A "whistleblower" is someone who reports a violation of the law by his or her employer. The violation may be against the reporting employee, as with sexual harassment claims, or may be a general violation like illegally polluting, securities violations, etc. While the law is supposed to protect people for doing the right thing, often whistleblowers are fired after reporting the inappropriate situation. So what should you do if you have been fired after blowing the whistle?
The concept of grandparent visitation rights is a fairly new one. Historically, only parents could ask for visitation rights, but now states allow a variety of different family members to ask for visitation of related children. Below is a brief state-by-state summary of grandparent visitation rights as of the date of publication of this article. Should you have a question regarding visitation rights, you should contact a local family law attorney.
Have you ever heard someone talk about larceny and wondered why they called a theft by that name? What about robbery? How about fraud or embezzlement? What's really the difference between all these different types of theft? It can be an important question if you or someone you know is facing criminal charges or have been the victim of a crime. Following is a description of eight (8) different types of theft and what their respective elements include.
Sexual harassment is usually defined by Courts and employers using the definition of sexual harassment contained in the guidelines of the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). This language has also formed the basis for most state laws prohibiting sexual harassment. The guidelines define sexual harassment as:
When we talk about discharging debts in bankruptcy, we are usually referring to a Chapter 7 bankruptcy. Typically, a Chapter 13 bankruptcy involves a restructuring of debt rather than a discharge, or forgiveness of debt. For that reason, for most people the main goal of filing for Chapter 7 bankruptcy is to discharge / wipe out their debts. For example, while there are many other types of debt that Chapter 7 will discharge, credit card debt is one of the most commonly discharged debts.
It is important that each person have a will that directs their family members and loved ones on how they want their final wishes to be carried out (i.e., burial, cremation, etc.), as well as how they want their estate to be divided after their death.
Buying a car is usually an exciting experience. But, when your new car does not function properly, it can be a frustrating experience. When a car dealer sells you a lemon, how can you get to the “lemonade” of a properly functioning car and possibly even receiving a cash settlement?
We often hear that someone owes us a fiduciary duty, whether in a business setting, certain transactions, or even a condo/co-op or homeowners association. But what is a fiduciary duty, how does a fiduciary relationship arise, and what are its implications?
Have you ever seen a bike rider in the street blocking traffic and wondered whether that was even legal? Or maybe a bicyclist caused you to have a car accident by riding recklessly in traffic and you are wondering whether they will be considered a car or a pedestrian for purposes of attributing fault? Unfortunately, the answer can be complicated and depend on where you are.
The goal of damages in tort actions is to make the injured person “whole” through the award of money to compensate for injuries caused by the accident or incident.
When a plaintiff in a personal injury case puts an aspect of his or her physical or mental health at issue, such as by claiming disability from an injury or claiming emotional distress, the defendant will most likely and to obtain medical or psychiatric evidence to challenge those claims.expect?
Anyone who has ever had to rely on the testimony of others, whether in a criminal, civil, or administrative proceeding, has probably felt the cold knife of panic and disgust slice through their gut as someone testified in a manner they considered untruthful. Of course, many people can have many different interpretations of the same event, including some that seem wildly different than your recollection, simply because they had a different perspective.
When determining which parent should have primary custody, whether custody should be shared, and how much visitation each parent should have, courts must look at a number of factors. Of course, these factors vary from state to state, but the overall question is generally the same: “What is in the best interests of the child?" Answering the questions below will give you insight into the specific questions courts may ask to determine which parent (or both) should be granted custody.
Employment law can be confusing and it can be difficult to learn what your rights are and what you are entitled to. When an employer does not pay for something (whether regular wages, overtime, tip splitting, reimbursements, or something else) it can be very frightening and confusing. Is the employer right? Should I even bother fighting? This is a list of ten workplace violations that employees should be aware of and for which legal help may be available:
The quick answer is everyone is protected from employment discrimination. But, more specifically, who are the protected classes? Which businesses are subject to employment discrimination standards? What constitutes discrimination?
Have you, or someone you know, been injured while visiting someone else’s home or place of business? Such injuries can occur as a result of wet floors, uneven steps, falling objects, defective elevators, defective parking lots and sidewalks, poorly lit staircases, inadequate security, dog bites, or some other dangerous conditions on the premises. If this sounds like you, you may have a basis for a lawsuit against the property owners.
Have you or someone you know been involved in a car accident? Was the accident caused or made worse by a defective part? We expect our cars to keep us and our families safe, but with a system of hundreds of moving parts, it is not uncommon for something to fail, often with dangerous results. Indeed, each year, millions of cars are recalled because of manufacturing defects or defective parts that can cause fatal car crashes.
A vacation aboard a cruise ship can be a memorable experience, an affordable, all-inclusive vacation option, and a great way to see exotic ports of call. But, what happens when something goes wrong and your memories end up being of sickness, injury, inadequate medical care, fire, being stranded, crime, or even the wrongful death of a loved one?
Congratulations on your decision to start a new business. The question you may be asking, though, is what kind of business you should form? What is the difference between a corporation, an LLC, and a partnership? Why form one and not another?
How often do we hear the compound term “assault and battery” thrown around in courtroom television dramas or the nightly news? Were you aware that assault and battery are actually two different things? That they can have both civil and criminal implications? So what exactly is the difference between them, and why is this distinction important?
The U.S. Copyright Office describes copyright as “a form of protection grounded in the U.S. Constitution and granted by law for original works of authorship fixed in a tangible medium of expression” covering both published and unpublished works.
Discovery is the pre-trial phase in a lawsuit in which each party investigates the facts of a case, through the rules of civil procedure, by obtaining evidence from the opposing party and others by means of discovery devices including requests for answers to interrogatories, requests for production of documents and things, requests for admissions, and depositions.
Bankruptcy can be a complicated process with many technical requirements and provisions. Understanding the basic steps for a bankruptcy in Arizona will help you know how to prepare and what to look out for as you move forward.
In New Jersey a spouse may obtain alimony from their former spouse. Alimony is designed to keep a spouse in a living condition comparable to that which they experienced while married.
At some point in our lives most of us will be involved in some sort of car accident. Most of these may be small fender benders, but some can be very serious or even fatal. Many people do not know what to do when they are in a car accident, and Illinois law has several specific requirements of which you should be aware.
If you, or someone you know, have/has suffered an injury during medical treatment, you or they may have a claim for medical malpractice. Illinois malpractice law dictates a number of requirements for bringing these types of claims as a lawsuit, including how much time an injured patient has to file that lawsuit.
Illinois workers' compensation laws allow employees who are injured in the course of their work on a job to seek payment from their employer's workers' compensation insurance carrier for their injuries. If you believe you have a workers' compensation claim, you should try to gain a basic understanding of laws dealing with workers' compensation in Illinois.
Often, when involved in an accident or after sustaining an injury, one can suffer more than just physical pain. Many individuals will also suffer emotional harm from the experience. Under Illinois law, it is possible to obtain money damages as compensation for emotional harm (also called emotional distress). This money is paid by the person or company who caused the injury or, in most cases, by that person’s or company's insurance provider.
Mortgage foreclosure is the process by which the bank takes your home for not paying your loan. It can be a long, difficult, and confusing process for many homeowners, and if you are facing a foreclosure you should contact a local, qualified attorney for advice on how to respond. In the meantime, here are 10 common mistakes people make during a mortgage foreclosure:
When preparing to file for bankruptcy, there are often many things on your mind. How will this affect my credit? Will I be able to pay for this? What will I lose? What will I gain? But one question that many people do not even know to ask is “what is the difference between a Chapter 7 and a Chapter 13 bankruptcy?” The answer can have profound repercussions on your case.
One very often used tool in the law enforcement tool box is the power to intimidate citizens into voluntarily giving up their rights, usually without even realizing they are doing it.
Defamation is when someone tells one or more persons an untruth about you, and that untruth harms your reputation. Defamation is the general term, while slander and libel refer to particular types of defamation. Libel is a written defamation, and slander is verbal. There are three key factors to consider when deciding whether a defamatory statement should be taken to court.
Domestic violence is an unfortunate reality, and many are surprised to find just how prevalent it is.
This is a step-by-step guide as to what you should do if you get pulled over for a DUI (Driving Under the Influence) or a DWI (Driving While Impaired). This is not a substitute for using common sense and avoiding behavior that might put you in jeopardy of being stopped for a DUI or a DWI. It is also not a substitute for getting assistance from a qualified, competent attorney. When in doubt, contact your lawyer.
The moments following an accident or other injury are confusing and overwhelming. You may not know what to do or where to turn if you or a loved one has been injured due to someone's negligence or wrongdoing.
Accidents rarely come with any forewarning, leaving most victims unprepared and unsure of how to proceed. When you or someone you know is injured, you will have a lot of uncertainty and need to make a lot of decisions very quickly. You should always seek immediate medical attention for any injuries and also seek the assistance of qualified, experienced legal representation. But, how do you know who the best attorney is for your case?
When one parent acts as the primary guardian for a child, the other parent is generally required to contribute to the financial needs of that child. Generally, in New Jersey, the amount of child support one parent pays another is based on the New Jersey Child Support Guidelines. These Guidelines are found in Appendix IX of the New Jersey Court Rules.
One can only bring a lawsuit for negligence if they can establish all four of the required elements. If any one of the elements is missing, then there is no negligence from a legal standpoint, and a lawsuit cannot be sustained. Of course, there are often defenses and other technicalities involved with proving such a case, so it is always best to contact a qualified, licensed attorney to help answer your questions and guide you through the process of analyzing your claim or defense to negligence.
The decision to end a marriage can be a very complicated one. Emotionally it may be painful, a relief, or a complicated mixture of both sensations. Practically, many things need to take place before the process can be finished and you can begin to move on with your life. So where do you start and who can you turn to for information? How do you know what steps are right for your situation? What other things do you need to consider that you may not even know about?
Let's face it, being arrested can be a terrifying, stressful, confusing experience. From that point forward, things can move fast, get very complicated, and it may be very hard to know what to do or who to turn to.
Along with facing criminal penalties and fines, a person who is arrested for DUI may also face the possibility of losing his or her job. Whether this possibility becomes a reality depends on a number of specifics, including the type of job you have and the terms of that employment.
While many individuals may confuse the terms “statutory rape” and child molestation, the two are very different from each other. Both terms are defined under state law, so there may be variations in the terms from one state to another.
Unfortunately, people decide to drink and then get behind the wheel every day. While every state has DUI laws that law enforcement agencies across the state enforce, the degree of enforcement and the punishment that someone who violates the law can face is different for each state. In some situations, the exact same conduct can have a very different result in two different states.
California Penal Code 459 discusses burglaries and proscribes which type of activity may result in a conviction for first or second degree burglary. Subsequent statutes discuss the legal ramifications of a conviction under this section of the criminal code.
If you or a loved one was given probation, the judge who handled your initial case probably described what your probationary period would consist of. He or she probably set forth certain rules that you were supposed to follow, such as meeting with a probation officer on a regular schedule, abstaining from drugs and alcohol and following all laws.
After a person has been involved in an auto accident and called in a claim to the insurance company, he or she is likely to wonder when the case will settle. A person can be in a sort of limbo as he or she waits for the settlement to occur.
When two parties make a contract and one breaches it, there are generally two types of remedies that are available to the non-breaching party: equitable remedies and legal remedies. Each type has several subtypes of remedies that may be available.
The time following a vehicle accident may be quite confusing. Disoriented from pain and unfamiliar legal processes, many accident victims find themselves more susceptible to influence by people or organizations they think they can trust. Unfortunately, insurance companies often take advantage of this condition in order to avoid paying victims everything to which they are entitled.
If you or a loved one has been refused a visa under Sections 214(b) or 221(g) or through administrative processing, a difficult road lies ahead. This denial signifies that a consular officer has already made the determination that insufficient evidence is present to warrant the issuance of a visa. However, this finding can be overcome.
One of the first questions that arises after a motor vehicle accident is who was at fault. The answer to this question can have a dramatic impact on the parties involved, including which party’s insurance will cover the repairs and damages that the innocent party incurred. Additionally, the party at fault may be subject to fines or criminal liability.
In order to entice talented individuals to work for them and to retain qualified staff, some employers offer fringe benefits and other perks to employees. Knowing about fringe benefits can help employees and employers have a better understanding of what a new or existing job provides in the way of benefits.
Absenteeism is a common vocabulary faced by almost all employers. Continued absenteeism can be damaging to an organisation, as there is potential loss of efficiency and effectiveness as well as a fall in customer service and not to forget a strain on the absent employee’s co-workers. Absenteeism not only impacts on production levels; it impacts on other staff.
While many individuals may believe that the main distinction between a legal separation and divorce in California is that separation is considered temporary and divorce is considered permanent, this interpretation is not accurate. Many separation agreements later serve as the foundation of the divorce agreement, so negotiated terms may indeed wind up being permanent, even if they were hammered out during a separation. Read on to learn more about what a legal separation might mean for you.