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Category Archives: Laws

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5 hours ago Law School , Laws

Law Studies: Different Types of Attorneys and Why You Might Need One

Statistics from the American Bar Association state that a total number of 23,401 law students who graduated in 2018 secured full-time employment. This represents 68.4% of all students who took their bar examination. These figures show that law is still an attractive career for many and the rate of employment high.

Not all attorneys are the same. Understand the different types of attorneys and find out if you need one for yourself or your business.
In this article, we highlight different types of attorneys and why you might need one.

Law Studies

Lawyers in the US go through rigorous three-year training. Unlike many other countries, law school in the US is at the graduate level. The curriculum for law school aims at building a career of a lawyer that can handle different matters in the public.

Not all lawyers spend their time in a court of law, but at times, qualified lawyers can be called upon before a judge in what is called litigation. Law is a very diverse field that not a single lawyer can master all the laws and statutes hence the need for specialization.

A lawyer picks on a single area and specializes in it. This way, they are able to become experts in this field. Once you know the types, you will be in a good position to know how to find a good lawyer.

Below we will list and expound on the types of lawyers.

1. Civil Rights Lawyer

These are sometimes called constitutional lawyers. They specialize in matters that touch on basic human rights, violations of rights, gay rights, and compensations. They also work with lawmaking entities like Congress to develop national and local laws.

2. Immigration Lawyer

This category of lawyers helps people seeking legal status to be citizens of any country. They also fight deportation orders or violation of immigration laws.

3. Criminal Defense Lawyer

This is a major cadre of lawyers as it deals with matters about criminal conducts of their clients. These include murder, theft, gun rules violation or drug-related charges. Based on the work they do, they are most sought after in helping individuals avoid jail terms or harsh fines.

They are known as the best lawyers when it comes to litigation or performance before a judge or a jury.

4. Corporate Lawyer

A corporate lawyer deals with business matters. They help you incorporating companies, ensuring licenses are in order and generating contracts. They are also involved with issues of mergers and acquisition. They are also involved in ensuring the company shares are in order.

Besides, they defend a company that has been sued by another in cases of breach of contract. They safeguard the legal interest of a company both before a court of law (litigation) and in the boardroom.

5. Traffic Lawyers

Traffic lawyers concentrate much with issues touching on road accidents and compensation thereafter. There are various lawyers who pick a subtopic of this and specialize further. For example, in this article, a law firm has specialized in bicycle traffic rules.

6. Real Estate Lawyer

This is a type of lawyer who is interested in ensuring a firm or an individual acquires a property lawfully. They facilitate the proper signing of deeds that will be proof of ownership. Real estate lawyers help you meet local authority requirements when having a real estate development.

7. Personal Injury Types of Attorneys

As the name suggests, these types of lawyers work with you when you get a body injury, either through an auto accident or at home. They work with medical insurance companies and other insurance entities to compensate you in case of a physical injury.

8. Bankruptcy Lawyer

This is a growing class of lawyers in tough economic times. A bankruptcy lawyer will advise you on the best way to file a bankruptcy suit and what you stand to lose by this move. They shield you against losses that you might find yourself in when your income is in jeopardy.

9. Tax Lawyer

A tax lawyer works with you to ensure you meet your obligations of both state and federal tax requirements. Tax lawyers also work with you in case the IRS comes after you for a purported tax offense.

Tax lawyers can work for an individual or a firm. They are sometimes considered commercial lawyers as they advise firms on tax matters and how to sort tax disputes.

10. Employment and Labor Lawyer

If you need to know how to deal with your employees or sort a labor dispute, contracting an employment lawyer might be the right decision. They are trained in reading through labor-related contracts and labor laws to ensure you get a fair hearing. And in case you are an employee, a labor lawyer will handle your dispute with your employer to ensure you get the compensation that suits you.

Sometimes people hire labor lawyers to help them go through employment contracts to avoid disputes in the future. This action ensures that you only sign for a contract that you understand what it entails.

11. Family Lawyer

A family lawyer deals with family matters including marriages, divorce, and custody of children. They also deal with disputes on ownership of children, abuse related matters in children courts and inheritance.

Most of these lawyers operate in civil courts but can also find themselves in criminal cases. These cases include issues of abuse of children that are criminal in nature.

Lawyers Are Diverse

We have seen the different types of attorneys and what they do. Understanding the area a lawyer specializes can help you know how to find an attorney. Sometimes it is good to look through the categories provided in lawyers’ listings and decide which one suits your need.

We provide an online directory of lawyers that can help you sought out your legal problem. You can visit our site to learn more on various issues about lawyers.

The information includes types of cases, legal matters, means of defending yourself and other issues that might worry you about the law. Check out our blog for more information for more legal information!

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21 hours ago Elder Law , Laws

Respect Your Elders! Here’s 5 Rules That Elder Law Says Nursing Homes Need to Follow

Several state and federal laws protect residents, including the elderly, in nursing homes. These regulations entitle nursing home residents to privacy, security, and optimal health.

The elder law requires that nursing homes should offer quality services. These services should promote the mental and physical aspect of residents. This should be according to the documented plan of care.

The Nursing Home Reform Act makes up the main guidelines for nursing home laws. The Act has guidelines for each funded nursing home. State and federal laws also allow residents and their loved ones an important right.

They have a right to speak out their complaints about the facility. At times, the elderly can get harmed because of abusive or negligent behavior. If that happens, they can take legal action and hold the nursing home accountable.

Below is a simple guide to the Elder Law and its implications.

History and Background

The Nursing Home Reform Act came into force under the Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1987. The role of the Nursing Home Reform Act is to regulate nursing homes. The regulations target nursing facilities that seek funding for Medicaid or Medicare services.

The Act ensures that residents get protection in various aspects. These aspects include dignity, privacy, individuality, and medical needs.

Elders in a nursing home should receive the best care. Such care should be free from abuse, isolation, or unsuitable medical treatment.

Rules that Elder Law Requires Nursing Homes to Follow

The Nursing Home Reform Act put in place guidelines for the functioning of a nursing home. Residents in a nursing home must receive a good care plan. The plan should cater to their physical, mental, and psychological welfare.

Each of them stands to enjoy the following rights.

1. Aging Residents Have Basic Rights

Persons in a nursing home should enjoy basic rights like those listed in the U.S. Constitution. Nursing homes should promote the quality of life of patients as much as they can. The physical, psychosocial, or mental state of a resident may not decline if it is avoidable.

Residents have a right to keep banking or personal property funds with the nursing facility.

Residents should bathe, eat, dress, communicate, groom, ambulate, and transfer. Their ability to do these things should not deteriorate unless it’s unavoidable. If the residents are unable to carry out certain tasks, the facility should offer help.

Besides, each nursing facility should have enough employees to meet the residents’ needs.

The elders in a nursing home have a right to take part in the creation of their care plan. Moreover, they have the right to choose their best physician. They should also access their medical documents.

Residents in a nursing home may plan or take part in a resident or family council. Furthermore, residents should be free from inappropriate physical or chemical residents.

2. Health and Safety

The federal nursing home regulations need nursing homes to meet nutritional parameters. This includes providing adequate fluid intake to patients to maintain hydration. They should also provide pharmaceutical services to residents.

It’s essential for nursing homes to undergo inspection. The inspection will enhance the residents’ safety and hygiene. Inspectors ensure there’s proper handling of medication, food, and contaminated materials.

Nursing homes should help patients not to develop bed or pressure sores. Residents who develop these sores must receive appropriate treatment. The treatment should hinder infection, enhance healing, and prevent the recurrence of sores.

3. Full-Time Medical Care Cut-Off

Most states don’t need a person in need of constant nursing care to live in a nursing home. Most nursing home facilities can provide residents increased help with various medical tasks. The tasks include insulin administration, blood glucose testing, and medical management.

But, even quality nursing homes may not admit people that need constant medical care. Thus, if a loved one requires continuous care, consider taking them for home health care. You could also place them in a different skilled nursing facility.

4. The medication adherence rule

Residents reserve the right to control the receipt of medical services. This happens based on informed decision making, including the refusal to take medication. But, in some states, residents must take the prescribed medication or risk discharge.

A reputable nursing facility will record the refusal. They will also get in touch with the resident’s doctor and allowed family members to find a remedy. But, the facilities are not under any obligation to keep elders who put their own health at risk.

The rules on who should provide medications in assisted living homes can be challenging. You should establish which workers have permission to help residents with medication.

Besides, determine the extent of help the law allows them to help and how they deal with related issues. This will help you decide which prospective nursing facility offers adequate help. And their help should suit your senior loved one.

5. The Care Plan Mandate

Most states need workers in a nursing home to assess the needs assessment of every resident. This should happen after admission to create a personalized care plan.

In Georgia, for example, this should happen within 14 days after admitting an elder. The plan is subject to evaluation every year, and whenever the elder’s care requires change.

In California, the care plan of an aging adult must contain a list of their likes and dislikes. It should also contain suggestions for their preferred community-based social activities.

It’s also essential to inquire about the care plan policies of a prospective facility. You should access a document of the current plan whenever you want. Feel free to request the team in charge of care to address any issues and possible changes.

Elder Law

The elder law has many rules for nursing homes. But, only a few of these may apply to an aging person looking to join an assisted living community.

Even so, knowing more about the policies surrounding residential care is important. It will help you to figure out the type of questions to ask potential nursing home providers.

Contact us for any information regarding elder laws.

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1 day ago Laws

An Insight Into Laws on Credit Bureaus that you must know

Most people are not aware of legal rights when it comes to credit reports and credit bureaus. To make informed choices and decisions, one must know what they mean and how important they are when it comes to lending and borrowing. A credit bureau is an organization that collects and maintains the credit information of an individual and sells it to consumers, creditors, and lenders. This information is sold in the form of credit reports.  

There are several credit bureaus in the USA; however, the biggest names are TransUnion, Equifax, and Experian. These credit bureaus not only collect and maintain credit reports of people, but they also offer several solutions that enable a business to make better and informed decisions.

What kind of information do credit bureaus collect?

The credit bureaus collect a lot of information about an individual. This information relates to the credit history of a person, and it begins from the time that the credit account is opened. For example, credit bureaus will collect data that pertains to the sum of credit that one uses, , the amount of available credit, public record details like foreclosure, tax liens and repossession. These credit bureaus also keep information like the present and past addresses, present and past employers, birth date, information on salary, and more if available. With this information, the credit bureau will not calculate your credit score but will use it to verify your identity.

Where is this credit information sourced from?

Credit bureaus rely on banks and other businesses to get consumer information. Most of the companies that you conduct business with send reports regularly on accounts that are open. These credit bureaus derive information from public court records as well. When it comes to getting information, these credit bureaus deploy different methods, and they will never share information with one another.

Credit bureau data- who uses them?

The most common users of credit bureau data are issuers of credit cards and banks. Several other companies check with credit bureaus to make key decisions on you. Insurance companies, employers, landlords, and other debt collectors request information from these credit bureaus.

Banks and insurance organizations are able to get pre-screening lists from credit bureaus. These companies need this list for reaching out to potential customers with product and service offers. For instance, a credit card issuing company might request a credit bureau for a list of individuals that have a high credit card balance so that they can send these consumers promotions as well as offers for credit card balance transfers. This is why you get credit card offers that have been pre-approved in your bank account and how an unsolicited mortgage refinance offers lands on your doorstep.

Understanding the laws pertaining to credit reports and credit bureaus

Credit bureaus come under by The Fair Credit Reporting Act or the FCRA in the USA. This Law is a Federal Law, and it provides guidelines on how credit bureaus must function. The Law provides consumers to get an exact credit report; however, if one finds disputes in their credit report, they can approach the credit bureau for rectifications. Here, the credit bureau conducts an investigation and corrects the mistakes that have been reported by you.

Free credit reports by credit bureaus

One can also get a free credit report from these credit bureaus. However, note that the credit reports of two credit bureaus are not similar. For instance, an Equifax free credit report will differ from that of a TransUnion free credit report. Again, in some cases, the whole account might be missing from a credit report. One has the right to request a credit report from any of these three credit bureaus. Under The Fair And Accurate Credit Transactions Act of 2003 which is an amendment to the FCRA Act, an individual has the right to one free credit report every year from each one of these three credit bureaus along with agencies that offer consumer reporting. You are entitled to get a free credit report from any one of the above three credit bureaus if-

  • You have a rejected application due to the wrong information posted on your credit report
  • You are unemployed and plan to look for a job within 60 days
  • You are supported on welfare
  • You have been a victim of identity theft

There are errors in your credit information

You should never take your credit report for granted. Do not assume that everything listed on your credit report is accurate. There can be errors in your credit report, and it has been seen that at least one in every 20 people have mistakes in their credit report. There are instances where the mistakes of another person will land up in your credit report. This takes place mostly when the name or personal information is more or less the same as yours. However, under the Federal laws of the USA, you can apply to rectify a dispute. The process might be complex; however, it does give you the chance to rectify mistakes in your credit report with success.

Note that a credit bureau can only give you information. This data is used by creditors and lenders to accept or reject an application. The bureau does not have the legal right to make any decisions relating to credit. In case, you believe that a decision has been done in error, you may request the business to re-check the credit report to make sure there are no further mistakes that will impact your ability to get approval.

Therefore, from the above, it is evident that credit bureaus and credit reports provide information to creditors and banks when it comes to any lending matter. One should be aware of one’s legal rights when it comes to the access and viewing of credit reports. In case, errors are spotted, one should make sure that they are rectified by notifying credit bureaus and have them make the corrections post verification with success.

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1 day ago Laws

Is It Against the Law to Stream Unauthorized Content on a Jailbroken Firestick?

Amazon FireStick is a popular streaming device that allows you to easily convert your TV with HDMI compatibility into a smart TV. FireStick allows you to stream content from an array of online entertainment services like Amazon Prime Videos, Netflix, Hotstar, Hulu, and many TV Networks. Here’s the rub. Owning an Amazon FireStick only grants you access to content offered by Amazon.

Owners have learned, however, how to “jailbreak” their own FireStick to gain access to programming not offered by Amazon.. If you’ve been wondering if it’s illegal to jailbreak an Amazon FireStick, let’s clear that up immediately.  The answer is a resounding NO! It is absolutely legal to “hack” your own FireStick simply because the FireStick is YOUR PRIVATE PROPERTY. In fact, when people refer to an Amazon Fire TV Stick as “jailbroken,” it simply means that they have installed media server software (typically KODI) to expand their viewing choices. What makes this question tricky is that you can enjoy your Fire Stick in whatever way you choose–until you infringe on the rights of another or you violate a national statute such as viewing pirated content.

Sometimes, it can be tough to know what’s been pirated, however, when searching for content., and that’s where FireStick users can get themselves into legal trouble.  In order to protect themselves, many users create a Virtual Private Network (VPN) to circumvent the possibility that they are “spied” upon while viewing. A VPN offers many advantages to its users by encrypting connection to prevent hackers or their ISP from spying on their on-line activity. It is also the best way to circumvent government censorship and banned websites. So, a question may arise whether VPNs are legal. For the most part, the answer is yes. But depending on your location, the laws might get a little more complicated.

VPN helps viewers to access the internet without leaving any trace of their online activities which are usually under close monitoring when using Wi-Fi and open networks. By using a VPN, you can access any website or video streaming service such as major sporting events like the NFL for free. No one can ever detect your online presence, and you are at liberty to access the internet in the way you want. In the process, viewers can avoid subscription costs, and the money-saving aspect adds to the enjoyment of viewing selected programs without any fear of trespassing the law. However, you may have to sacrifice speed when using VPN as it is not possible to get the best of everything.

VPNs are an essential tool for safe internet access. They protect you from hackers and snooping parties like your ISP or government. Not only that, they allow you to bypass geo-blocks so you can always stream your favorite content. Finally, they give you the most important thing—privacy in the online world. So if you want to browse safely and if you stick to legal activities, then using your jailbroken FireStick is guilt free fun!

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1 week ago Law Firms , Laws

Does Your Law Firm Website Meet ADA Compliance Standards?

When people are in a pinch and looking to hire legal services or check attorney references, they typically chose to do so online. And with the introduction of smartphones, most people can bring up a law firm’s website from almost anywhere they go. Clients can access your company’s website in the car, on a plane, and even on their wrist from a smartwatch. While all of this accessibility is great for most of your potential clients, without a website that meets ADA compliance standards, you could be alienating a large group of people who choose to search for legal help online. So, what is ADA compliance and why is it important for your law firm’s website? Keep reading to learn more about the importance of maintaining your ADA compliance status and the benefits of working with a reputable IT service company to handle the hard work for you.

Is Your Website ADA Compliant?

Did you know that the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) was enacted almost 30 years ago? This important civil rights law was designed to protect the rights of people with disabilities, prohibiting discrimination against them in terms of employment, public services, public accommodations, and telecommunications.

When the ADA act was signed into law in 1990, it paved the way for people with disabilities in a very physical sense by requiring businesses to offer designated accessible parking spaces, raised markings on informational signage, accessibility ramps and more. But up until recently, these accessibility guidelines did not extend to the online space. In January 2018, new ADA regulations were put into effect to ensure that people with disabilities are able to access business websites with ease. Some of the key elements you can take to ensure your website is accessible to people disabilities include:

  • Reviewing the Website Content Accessibility Guidelines or WCAG. Here you’ll find useful recommendations on how to make your website more accessible for everyone.
  • Use the Google WAVE Tool to conduct an audit of your website as it is now. Unsure of how to complete an audit on your own? Simply enlist your IT services company to help!
  • Take the time to ensure that any images on your website include descriptive alt tags. These helpful tabs are utilized by screen readers and players, as well as voiceovers to describe different elements on your website.
  • Review the varying styles and elements that make your website unique, such as the links, headings, and buttons. Remember that your website should be accessible to all visitors. So, if your font style is too small or you’ve used a combination of a light background and light text—it may be hard for everyone to find the information they need.
  • Ask your IT services technician to audit your website’s code and CSS. This is the best way to clean up any outdated code and make sure that you’re following best practices.

What Happens if Your Website Fails to Meet ADA Standards?

Research shows that as many as 70 percent of potential customers will leave a business website if it isn’t accessible. Aside from possible legal ramifications, it’s in your best interest to make sure that your website is accessible to every potential client browsing the internet. If you create a website that can be easily understood and accessed by everyone, you’ll be opening your firm to an audience of some 60 million disabled Americans.

One great way to look at meeting ADA compliance standards is to think of them as another form of search engine optimization. If you’re already taking the time to make sure your website ranks well on Google and other popular search engines, it should also be optimized to meet the needs of every potential new client.

How Can I Ensure My Website Looks Great and is Accessible for All?

Even the most tech-savvy business owners know that when it comes to coding, it’s best to leave the hard work to the professionals. While you may be able to keep up with some of the minor changes that your website will need to be ADA compliant, striking the perfect balance between a professional looking website and a fully-functioning one can be quite difficult. Along with these intricacies, working with a reputable IT services company can help to protect your client’s sensitive information from phishing scams and cyber attacks.

Putting your trust in the hands of a capable IT team also means that you can spend your time focusing on what really matters, helping your clients and guiding them through the legal process. A knowledgeable IT technician can also keep your website and software applications up to date with the newest additions and any changes to important regulations. With the help of an experienced IT services company, you never have to worry about your website being ADA compliant and you can rest easy knowing that your website will function properly.

Learn More About LI Tech Advisers

LI Tech Advisors provides a wide range of technical service for businesses across the greater Long Island, New York area. Some of the services we offer include IT support, network configuration, disaster recovery, wireless networking, and more. With over 30 years of experience in the industry, we’re proud to be one of the top IT services companies in the greater Long Island, NY region.

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How Much CBD Oil Should I Give My Dog? A Complete Guide

You look at the forecast and see thunder. Your mind immediately goes to a sleepless night, comforting your anxious-meltdown pooch into the wee hours of the morning. Not again.

But did you know there’s an alternative? CBD is the new shining star in alternative therapies for humans, but your furry friends can reap just as much of the same benefits!

That’s right: your anxiety-stricken dog can benefit greatly from CBD. Not only that, dogs dealing with pain from an injury, cancer treatment, or old age have been found to benefit from regular dosing of CDB as well.

Sound good? You might be wondering, “Ok, but how much CBD oil should I give my dog?”.

Before you grab that expensive bottle of CBD and start dumping it into your dog’s food, make sure to do your research on proper dosage so that your pup can reap the most benefit, and you’re using it most efficiently.

Here’s a guide on CBD dosing for pets!

How Much CBD Oil Should I Give My Dog?

First, it’s important to understand the exact dosage for your dog because one CBD pet product might have a vastly different amount from another. Don’t rely on a product package and just guess!

CBD is typically measured in milligrams (mg) and the amount you need to give your dog with depending on your dog’s weight, age, and their personal sensitivity to it. It will take some trial and error before you hit the jackpot. Some pets have more of fewer receptors for CBD than others, so even the same breed of dogs at the same weight might need different doses.

“This sounds way too complicated”, you might be thinking. The good news is that overdosing your dog on CBD is very hard to do, especially since CBD oil contains no THC so your dog will not experience a “high”. Therefore, it’s a low-risk thing to experiment with for a few weeks.

At most, too high a dose of CBD will likely cause lethargy and potentially mild diarrhea. If you notice these symptoms, it’s best to back off on the dose and start small, gradually upping the dose until you notice the most benefit.

As a general rule of thumb, the number of milligrams your dog will need can fall into a weight category. For a 15 lb dog, for example, it’s recommended to dose at 4-5 mg of CBD a day, given 2-4 times daily.

Try this CDB dosage for dogs calculator if you need some more help figuring out the perfect dose for your dog!

Final Thoughts

Now that we’ve answered the basic, nagging question “how much CBD oil should I give my dog?”, you can be on the path to peace of mind for both you and your furry friend.

Finding the perfect dose for your dog’s ailment might take some time and trial and error, but the benefits that he/she might gain from CBD will make all the effort worth it.

Try CBD for your pet today!

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1 week ago Expungement , Laws

Who Can Have a Record Expunged and When?

People who have been arrested or convicted of criminal charges know that the consequences outlast the incarceration. Research shows that over 27 percent of formerly-incarcerated people are unemployed, higher than the unemployment rate during the Great Depression.

The possibility of expungement can help many people land better jobs and overcome the difficulty of transitioning into the free world. In this post, we’ll cover more about expungement.

Read on to learn more!

What Is the Effect of Different Forms of Expungement?

A person with a criminal record does not have to reveal it when applying for jobs or loans after expungement. Many states have enacted laws to facilitate expungement, with the criteria being different in different states. Once expunged, the court and police records are destroyed or sealed; you can’t access them except in very specific circumstances.

There is no federal law that governs expungement, which means you need to ask at the state level. Usually, there is a waiting period and the offense must not have been too severe. Some states will destroy physical records, but where state laws bar destruction, the records will be sealed.

The ultimate form of expungement is the Certificate of Actual Innocence. This is given if you are charged with a crime and the charges are dropped, or if a judge or jury finds you “not guilty”. If you get this certificate, your sealed records cannot be opened for any reason, because they should not have existed in the first place.

If you show proof of rehabilitation, you may also be able to have your records sealed. Here, you give evidence that you:

  • lead an exemplary life
  • have gotten help for the problems you had
  • have shown remorse
  • offered full restitution due to the victims

Finally, state officials can offer pardon, which does not erase your crime, but rather tells the world that you have been forgiven. With a pardon, however, you still have to disclose the information in legal documents. The pardon, however, mitigates the impact of the crime.

Benefits of Record Expungement

If your expungement petition is successful, you can legally and honestly say that you’ve never been accused, charged or convicted of a crime. The incident is written off and your state is restored to before you were accused, charged or convicted.

Employers, landlords or financiers are not allowed to ask about expunged convictions. That record cannot be used against you in employment or loan approval decisions, and won’t show up when someone runs a background check on you. Because of this, you can apply for better jobs, improving your standard of living.

Who Is Eligible to Have Their Records Expunged?

While specific guidelines and procedures differ, many states have similar criteria related to people who qualify to apply for expungement. They include:

  1. Types of crime – should be within state laws. Federal crimes cannot be expunged
  2. Criminal proceedings – should have been dismissed or the defendant acquitted or found not guilty. A few states allow convicted persons to look for expungement. Also applies in a person was released before being formally charged
  3. Waiting period – sufficient time has passed following arrest, charging or conviction
  4. Good behavior – the person has no new/pending offenses or DWI charges
  5. Restitution – fines or restitutive actions have been paid/done fully
  6. Programs – community service, probation or other court-mandated programs have been completed
  7. Age – minor’s records are easier to expunge in most states

The Expungement Process

If you have met all the conditions, you’ll need to file an application/petition for expungement, available from the probation department. You must provide a number of documents such as acceptance of service, certificate of eligibility, victim and prosecutor statements, consent and waiver of hearing, petitioner’s reply and victim checklist among others.

A prosecutor may challenge your petition by filing an objection before your hearing. The probation department will determine if you’re eligible and demonstrate your behavior to the court. The court may deny your application if any conditions are unmet.

1. Expunging a Felony

Serious felonies like sexual offenses and violent crimes are almost never eligible. For felonies, you must file the petition in the court where you were convicted, and the process is lengthy and more complicated. It is advisable to get an expungement lawyer to maximize your chance of succeeding.

2. Expunging a Misdemeanor

Misdemeanors are lesser crimes punishable by court-mandated community service, monetary fines or jail terms not exceeding one year. It is usually easier to clear first offenses by simply filing the petition and appearing in court (but not always).

More serious misdemeanors like some theft, assault or DUI charges are called wobblers because they can be treated as either felonies or misdemeanors. Most wobblers are ineligible for expungement.

3. Expunging a DUI

In some states, DUIs convictions cannot be expunged. Even where expungement is allowed, the sentence should not have involved any jail time, only probation. Additionally, your DUI probation must be completed and you must not have other criminal charges pending.

DUIs are crucial because they affect both your criminal and driving records. Expunging the criminal record does not change your driving record; any license restrictions or related penalties are handled at the Department of Motor Vehicles (or similar state agents). Getting a DUI and expungement lawyer can help clear both records.

4. Expunging Juvenile Records

Some states seal minors’ records automatically when they reach legal age. In others, you must make an official request by filing a petition in the county where you were convicted and pay a small fee. If the record is sealed, your history is treated as if you were never tried in the first place and you don’t have to reveal your criminal past when filling forms.

However, your record is visible or can be opened in certain circumstances, such as if you’re applying for a law enforcement job, or in a car insurance background check if you had a vehicle-related offense. Also, sealed records can be used to hand down stiffer penalties if you have later offenses as an adult.

Final Thoughts

If you’re thinking about applying for expungement, it may be helpful to get help from a lawyer who can advise on the applicable laws according to your situation. This lawyer will also help you obtain some of the more complex documentation and negotiate on your behalf before a judge, victims or the probation department.

Do you have any thoughts? Feel free to join the conversation below.

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2 weeks ago Laws

The Most Important Texas Inheritance Laws Explained Here

When it comes to will preparation and estate planning, the majority of Americans have no idea what they’re doing.

In fact, 60 percent of Americans do not have a will and have not done any kind of estate preparation.

If you’re part of this group, what’s holding you back? Is it a lack of knowledge regarding inheritance laws in your state?

If this is the case for you, keep reading. Explained below is some helpful information on the most important Texas inheritance laws.

Inheritance and Estate Taxes

The state of Texas does not have any inheritance of estate taxes. Someone will likely have to file some taxes on your behalf after your death, though, including the following:

  • Final federal and state income tax returns
  • Federal estate/trust income tax return
  • Federal estate tax return

The final federal and state tax returns, as well as the federal estate/trust income tax return, are all due by tax day of the year following your death.

The federal estate tax return is due within nine months of your death. A six-month extension is available for this return as well.

Dying Without a Will

If you die without a will in the state of Texas and your estate is worth more than $75,000, it will go into probate. The court will appoint an executor to manage the estate during this process.

If your estate is worth less than $75,000, it is not required to go through court. Instead, your heirs will be able to file a small estate affidavit 30 days after your death. They can use this affidavit to acquire the property from your estate.

Community Property

If you’re married at the time of your death, all the property received during your marriage is considered to be community property that is owned jointly by both you and your spouse.

Inheritances and gifts do not automatically become community property. If you comingle inheritances and gifts in your and your spouse’s joint bank accounts, though, they may become community property.

Separate Property

Separate property is divided into two categories: personal property and real property.

Personal property includes things like cash, investments, vehicles, and memorabilia. Real property includes land and homesteads.

Spousal Inheritance Rights

The state of Texas recognizes common law marriages as well as traditional marriages. In either of these cases, all of your community property will go to your surviving spouse.

The exception, though, is if one or more of your children is from someone other than your surviving spouse. If this is the case, the state of Texas affords community property to the children.

Separate property, on the other hand, gets divided between your surviving spouse and your children. Two-thirds of the property will go to your children and one-third will go two your spouse. This is the case for both personal property and real property.

Children’s Inheritance Rights

Biological children have strong inheritance rights in the state of Texas. The state also has ruled that adopted children have the same inheritance rights as biological children. This includes children who were adopted as adults.

If you do not make a will prior to your death, according to the sucession plan of the state of Texas, stepchildren will not receive a part of your estate. The state doesn’t consider anyone related to you through marriage to be an automatic heir.

Because of this, if you want your stepchildren to have a claim to your estate, you’ll need to include that in your will.

Illegitimate Children’s Inheritance Rights

The state of Texas does recognize illegitimate children.

They have complete inheritance rights. This includes rights to inheritances fro their parents, as well as their parents’ ancestors and descendants.

Single Individuals Without Children

The process of distributing inheritance from single individuals who do not have children is quite complicated.

If you do not have a will, the state will take the following approaches when it comes to distributing your estate:

  • First, 1/2 of your estate will go to each of your parents
  • If you only have one parent, half will go to that parent and half will be split among your siblings
  • If you have no parents, the estate will be split among your siblings
  • If you have no siblings, the estate will go to your nieces and nephews
  • If you have no nieces and nephews, the estate will go to your maternal and paternal grandparents
  • If you only have grandparents on one side, half of the estate will go to your aunts and uncles
  • If you have no grandparents, the estate will go to your aunts and uncles
  • If you have no aunts and uncles, it will go to the closest lineal relative

The process of distributing your wealth if you don’t have a will is quite complex. Now, you can see why it’s so important to put together a will early.

Tips for Planning Your Estate in Texas

You might be feeling a bit overwhelmed after reviewing these important Texas inheritance laws. The good news, though, is that we’re also going to give you some practical advice for planning your estate.

Here are some tips to help you start navigating these laws and getting prepared for the future:

  • Start with a will: Hire an estate planning attorney to help you put together a will right away
  • Consider a living trust: This will help those who survive you to avoid probate court
  • Make healthcare directives
  • Appoint a financial power of attorney
  • Make final arrangements: This includes information regarding organ donation and body disposition

Be sure to store all your estate planning documents in one location. Share the location of these documents with your children or other beneficiaries, too.

Need More Help Understanding Texas Inheritance Laws?

As you can see, there are a lot of Texas inheritance laws you need to keep in mind when you’re planning your estate.

Hopefully, this breakdown of some of the most important laws will help to simplify the planning process for you.

There’s a good chance you need additional help, though, especially if you’re just getting started with planning your estate.

If you need extra guidance, we can help. Use our free search tool today to find an estate planning lawyer near you who can walk you through the process and make sure your estate is in good shape.

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2 weeks ago Laws , Workers Comp

6 Things You Shouldn’t Say To an Employment Lawyer

When your employer does something and you have a case against them, your first course of action is to contact a labor and employment law firm. Doing this could help you get an employment lawyer to represent your case. Nevertheless, you get rejected over and over again.

It might be that your case is not as good as you thought, or because you said something erroneous to the lawyer. Some things can easily turn them away so if you said any of the following phrases, do not be surprised the attorney turned his back.

1.     “Other Lawyers Would Charge Me Less”

Some attorneys charge more than others, but they are working more for their clients’ cases or because they are more experienced. If you want to have a good lawyer and win your process, don’t be petty and blame them for how much they charge. It’s their work after all, and they spent years gaining the experience, thus have the right to set their quote. Expect to be charged more sometimes, but do not complain.

2.     “My Past Lawyers Did not Pry About My Personal Interest”

This is, most likely, untrue. Attorneys usually make sure the situation is in your best interest. If you set your expectations too high and they weren’t realistic, then it’s not on the attorney, but on you. Telling this to a potential lawyer will make them think poorly about you.

3.     “I would Like to Negotiate the Fee Over Phone”

Fees are already quoted and cannot be negotiated. The lawyer chooses how much he charges for their services. Consequently, refrain from saying this if you want them to consider your case.

4.     “This Is an Easy Win”

Is it, really? If the case is so easy, why do you need a lawyer in the first place? Keep in mind that attorneys work hard to obtain their status, so if they win, it has nothing to do with how easy your claim is. There are situations when attorneys lose. If they win, it’s because of their skills and not an unchallenging case.

5.     “I Want a Pro Se Lawyer”

Lawyers have become lawyers not only because they like it.  They also need to make money and feed their families too. As such, they won’t work for free, and should not. There are no-cost services that might work if you need it, but not employment attorneys.

6.     “I Didn’t Fill Out the Questionnaire”

A questionnaire is necessary if you want the lawyer to have every fact that could help the case. Attorneys are busy and don’t have time to ask for every single piece of evidence. Make sure to always fill out everything that will be favorable to your claim.

When seeking the help of an employment attorney, you need to show respect and professionalism. Don’t utter the above phrases, or every lawyer will reject you. Make sure to behave suitably and build a good relationship.

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2 weeks ago Laws

5 Key Reasons Why Lawyers Should Learn How to Code

As an attorney, you need to have specialized knowledge, whether that’s tax law or bankruptcy law.

You know enough to pass the bar exam and serve your clients well. There are a couple of other things that you can do to bring more value to your legal career, such as learn to code.

Yes, learning to code can give you a huge advantage in your career. Read on to find out why you want to learn to code and how that will give your career a major boost.

1. Learning to Code Is Better for Your Career

The more you know about technology, the more indispensable you become in your law firm. Law firms have been notoriously slow to adopt technology, but they’re finally starting to see the light.

They know that if they don’t keep up, they’ll get left behind. Plus, most attorneys have no idea what Python is or CSS.

When you learn to code, you can set yourself apart from the pack and make yourself valuable to the law firm.

2. You’re Going to Handle Technical Cases

It really doesn’t matter what type of law you practice, there’s a good chance that technology is going to be involved.

For example, if you’re handling a personal injury case from a car accident that was caused by a car’s computer failure. You’re going to need to know about how car computers work and what causes these mechanical failures.

You may also handle high tech cases or intellectual property cases that involve software. Learning the basics of code will give you a better understanding so you can serve your clients.

3. Better Marketing for Your Practice

What can you do when you learn to code? Depending on what computer language you decide to learn, you can build an app, a website, or customize your documents.

You also make it much easier for your clients when you can automate communications. That can lead to a stronger marketing campaign and more referrals from satisfied clients.

4. It’s Not Hard to Learn

One reason why lawyers shy away from learning to code is that it’s too complicated or it will take up too much time.

Some programming languages will be easier to learn than others. You can also learn through a coding bootcamp that can fit your schedule.

5. Code Requires Creativity

You might think that code is pretty boring because you’re dealing with a lot of lines of text and strange punctuations.

Programming is actually creative. Think of it as another form of art or design. Instead of using a pencil or a paintbrush, you’re using lines of code.

Learning to Code Gives Attorneys an Edge

Learning to code may not seem like something you need to know, but it can be helpful in your legal career. Law firms are using technology to automate paperwork.

The more you can learn about code, the more valuable you become to your firm and your clients.

Do you want another competitive edge in your practice? Register to get your law firm listed in our directory today.

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