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5 months 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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5 months ago Laws

Everything that you need to know about termination and notice periods

Losing a job without being at fault can be distressing and bewildering. To make sure you are prepared and don’t face its aftermaths, be aware of specific employment rules that can play into your favour in the hours of need as well as emergency. Here some of them have been discussed below.

Termination rules

As per the Employment Standards Act (ESA) of Ontario, you can be removed from employment without notice for a temporary period. It is possible when, for example, the company is experiencing a slowdown due to less flow of work.  However, this rule holds ground only if you had given your consent for this. If you belong to any union, then the rules will work according to the collective agreement. 

Typically, the period of temporary lay-offs can range from 13 to 20 weeks in succession. A few exceptions can occur though. However, it cannot extend more than 35 weeks off 52 weeks in a row.

If your employer lays you off temporarily without securing your prior consent, you become eligible for a termination pay just like when you are removed from the employment. 

If you are dismissed from the job on account of temporary lay-offs without your agreement, you can talk to an employment lawyer to understand about your rights. If you are a part of a union, it’s better to first consult with the representative of that union.

There can be a situation where your employer fires you for reasons that you may or may not be responsible but does not give you notice. In that case, seeking legal advice is critical. For help, you can visit goldsteinlawyers.ca/mississauga-employment-lawyer or some other reliable website. In some cases, he can, however, take away your job without notice. These include:

  • Stealing from your employer
  • Damaging his property intentionally
  • Threatening or assaulting your co-worker
  • Refusing to do an important work that falls into the realm of your job (not doing something for safety issues is permissible)

Anyway, the employment rules are quite complicated to understand for a layman. It’s always better to seek legal help in case of confusion or if you have been wronged.

Notice period based on the tenure of work

Depending on the number of days, weeks, or years you spent on your employment, your notice period may vary. As per the standard rules, an employer doesn’t need to give notice to an employee who joined less than three months back. Those who worked three months to up to one year are eligible for one week notice. An employee who has been in the company for one year or more should get two weeks’ notice. The length of the notice period increases following the number of years an employee has worked. For example, if you worked for seven years, your notice should be at least seven weeks.

However, the situation changes when mass termination happens. In this case, instead of counting individual years of employment, how many people have been fired at a time determines the extent of the notice period. Generally, eight weeks of notice has to be given if 50 to 199 employees have been asked to leave.

No matter whatever is the case with you, take expert advice to counter an injustice or wrongful act.

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5 months 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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5 months 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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6 months 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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A simple guide to the divorce rate and the changes in divorce law.

Divorce has taken on a new life in the past few decades of American life. For a long period, divorce was considered a taboo, or an option only considered in the direst of situations.

Today, divorces couldn’t be more of a common event. You’ve probably heard the statistic that 50% of marriages end in divorce. You probably even know many people in your life that have been married and gone through divorces. But you might not have a clear view of the bigger picture of divorce in America.

Why do so many marriages end, and what factors actually impact the nation’s divorce rate? We’ll break down everything you need to know below.

Divorce Rates In The United States

Just how common is divorce these days, anyway? The easiest way to determine this is to look at the numbers. On average, there are roughly two million marriages in the country on a yearly basis. That means about four million individuals say their vows and plan to live happily ever after each calendar year.

In the same year? Just under one million couples were facing the end of their blissful matrimony. That means that common 50% saying isn’t accurate to the decimal point but is a pretty good guiding principle. The divorce rate is usually equal to about half the marriage rate each year.

This has been true for many years at this point. Many people make the mistake of thinking divorce is on the rise, but it’s prevalence as compared to marriage has stayed consistent for decades now.

The divorce rate is actually significantly lower in the modern era than it was in the 90s, for example. But the marriage rate has also declined by the same margins. It makes logical sense: the fewer marriages there are, the fewer divorces come about.

You’d have to go further back into history to find a time where the divorce rate and the marriage rate weren’t as intrinsically linked.

Factors That Impact The Divorce Rate

Almost all marriages have to suffer through some rockier periods of time. A marriage, as the saying goes, is hard work.

The strength of the emotional bond between two people is obviously one of the main factors in whether a marriage stays together. But research has shown us that there are other external factors that seem to have an impact on whether couples stay together or call it quits.

For example, education, age, and income levels all can have a significant effect on the marriage outcome of a couple.

Couples who get married too young May have a higher chance of things not working out. Couples who married before the age of 25 have a significantly higher divorce rate than those who married later in life.

That means large financial events like a recession can have an impact on the divorce rate of the country. As unemployment, debt, and financial hardship looms, more couples are pushed past what their marriage can hold. Couples work with divorce attorneys such as Plog & Stein to get their independence back.

Going Through The Divorce Process

Understanding the divorce rate in the country can help to put things about the divorce process into perspective.

Interested in more information about family law? Check out our blog for more.

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6 months ago Education , Laws

Studying Law In Australia: What To Expect

Australia seems like the land of dreams for a lot of international students since it offers a variety of courses that are useful, interactive and that can certainly land students who are willing to invest their time in studying hard amazing internships and other well-paid students’ jobs. However, among the most popular courses nowadays are those related to information technology, social sciences as well as law. A lot of people are asking themselves what makes the law so popular and in fact, here we are to offer some reasons.

Studying Law In Australia What To ExpectWhat is so great about studying law in Australia?

Australia, geographically, might be very far away from other continents, which makes a lot of students reluctant to join university programs offered there since they are worried about leaving friends and family. However, what a lot of students don’t think about is the fact that they will make a lot of new friendships and relationships in a country as diverse as Australia and that living there can contribute greatly to their life experience. Here are also some things to consider about this country.

  1.     The best educational system in the world

Australia truly has one of the best education systems in the world, and its universities are ranked very high on the list. Most of the Australian universities are extremely reliable and able to provide excellent knowledge for any career chosen since they also offer a variety of courses. Just when it comes to the law, The University of Melbourne is 8th and the University of Sydney is 11th in the world.

  1.     Easy access to students’ visa

Unlike in the USA, Australia welcomes and appreciates international students so acquiring students’ visa should not be a process that can turn into a nightmare since the very application process is very easy, even when it is urgent.

  1.     Easy access to academic help

If you need help with writing an essay, there is an online writing service that can provide custom essay anywhere in Australia, Sydney included. Academic essay writing service is legal, and these professional writers who work for some Australian essay writing service offer a good, helping hand to students who are in a hurry to meet the deadlines and need an urgent task done. Most of these essays and research papers are written by experts in particular fields, so students don’t have to worry about plagiarism.

  1.     Improving language skills

English is a global language so you should take the opportunity of studying in Australia in order to reach a satisfying or native-like level of fluency. Having a great level in English can help you land even better jobs later.

  1.     Discover diversity

Being a part of such a diverse society as Australian is can be a truly inspiring experience, and you can work a lot on your personal development and open-mindedness related to other cultures.

  1.     Easy access to part-time jobs

Find a quick job in Australia shouldn’t be a problem since they offer a lot of part-time jobs for students as well as paid internships so all students can apply and show that they are passionate about a certain field.

Studying Law In Australia What To Expect

What are the requirements to enroll in Australian law schools?

A lot of students opt for studying law in Australia because there are plenty of law schools in Australia that are very prestigious and ranked among the first fifty law schools in the world and that’s an incredible achievement. In addition, this also means that these schools are not for students who want to spend their studies partying, surfing, and scuba diving. This means that if you want to have good job opportunities after graduating from law, you will have to spend your summer breaks as well as winter ones working as an intern in some law firm.

There are some additional requirements that you need to pay attention to as well, such as proving that you are proficient enough in English to be able to attend classes and pass exams. However, a lot of schools have their own requirements hence it would be best to contact the school you choose directly.

What’s even more attractive for students is the very opportunity for mobility in Australia since, for example, if you study law in Sydney, you can spend a semester or two in Europe, Asia and in the USA in order to gain more international experience but the mobility program asks for a lot of dedication and a competitive spirit too.

What are the benefits of studying law in Australia?

Being a student of law and becoming a master of law in Australia might be challenging but what makes the system great in the fact that most schools offer core subjects that are obligatory, but a lot of them offer additional subjects that are reliable and with a lot of information available online as well. Therefore, Australian law schools can help you get to know the legal process and some different parts of the law such as comparative trade law, international law, or even copyright patents and trade law.

If you are wondering “how long is a law degree in Australia?”, then you should be happy to know that bachelor studies are four years long, just like in any other country. However, most law schools in Australia offer students a chance to study for five years and gain two degrees. In order to get a master of law in Australia degree, you need to invest one or two years more depending on the school and what’s great about it – you can truly focus on doing research and discover what part of the law you are passionate about.

Additionally, studying law in Australia is a great first step to an amazing career if you work hard since a lot of law schools offer help to students to find internships and practical training. This is a great thing to do since every law student needs to have a more experienced lawyer by his or her side in order to learn some practical knowledge as well as improve communication skills and be better at interpersonal skills as well.

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6 months ago Laws , Weird Laws

Legally Weird: 7 Weirdest Laws in America

Did you know that in 2017, the U.S. was home to over 272.48 million registered vehicles? That’s more than a 3.68 million jump from the year before!

With millions of cars on U.S. roads, it’s no wonder we also have some of the highest road accident rates worldwide. In fact, for three straight years now, the U.S. has seen at least 40,000 road fatalities each year. These accidents also injured 4.5 million people in 2018 alone.

This is one why we have all sorts of laws aimed to bring down accident rates. Even if they’re some of the weirdest laws in America. In fact, some of them are so bizarre they can be some of the weirdest laws in the world!

Ready to dive into the world of the very unusual driving laws in the country? Then let’s get this list started!

1. No Hugs for Washington Drivers

In the State of Washington, a driver operating a vehicle can’t be in the arms of another. That sounds funny and is no doubt one of the weird Washington laws, but it’s true. Under RCW 46.61.665, it’s unlawful for a motorist to embrace another person while driving.

After all, hugging someone while driving means that the hands aren’t on the steering wheel. This can make the driver lose control of the vehicle, resulting in a potential accident. This is why “hugging” someone while driving can be evidence of reckless driving.

Speaking of reckless driving, the state also enacted a new distracted driving law in 2018. The law says that the use of all types of hand-held devices is illegal. Even if you were only to snap a quick photo of Seattle’s amazing sunsets, that would be against the law.

You also can’t text or receive calls even while stuck in traffic or at a stop sign. If you do so and you get into any kind of accident, you’d need an experienced car accidents lawyer to defend you.

By the way, the law still lets you eat and drink coffee while driving. You need to make sure you have complete control of your ride though. Otherwise, you may end up driving “distracted”, which is against the law.

2. Drunk Folks in South Dakota Can Get a DUI Charge Even If They’re Not Driving

When you hear the term “DUI”, you’d think this is only for intoxicated drivers driving their cars, right? After all, DUI means “driving under the influence”, be it alcohol or drugs. “Driving”, as in present tense.

South Dakota has a different take on this, making their DUI laws one of the weirdest laws in the nation. Here, you can face a DUI charge without actually driving. Even if you don’t have your car keys in the ignition.

So long as you have actual control of your car and you’re intoxicated, you can get charged with DUI. This includes being behind the wheel of a parked car, trying to sober up. If the police see you, better prepare yourself for a DUI charge.

3. In Tennessee, No One Can Hunt While in a Vehicle – Except People in Wheelchairs

You read that right. Only people in permanent confinement to wheelchairs can hunt wild game in their cars. There are, of course, exceptions to the rule, but still, that’s one of the weirdest laws in the US.

For the rest, it’s illegal to kill any wild animals while in a vehicle, be it powered by gas or electricity. You can’t shoot at or kill any wild birds or fowl while driving in Tennessee, period.

4. Connecticut Drivers Always Need to Stop for a Police Car Using a Siren

Yes, even if you’re not the one they’re pursuing. So long as the police car has its strobes on or running its siren, you must stop.

This applies to any other emergency vehicle, such as a fire truck or ambulance on the way to an incident. You can’t start your car and drive until these vehicles with an active siren or strobe have passed you.

5. You Can’t Cook in a Car in Fenwick Island

This is one of the weirdest laws ever because, well, because most cars usually don’t have an oven, do they?

Either way, it’s illegal to cook in your car while you’re in the Town of Fenwick Island, Delaware. Neither can you sleep, change clothes, or use the toilet in a vehicle, even if it’s parked. You’re also breaking the law if you occupy a vehicle parked on public roads from 12 midnight to 6 in the morning.

If the police catch you, prepare to shell out $50 for the penalty alone. That’s for every offense, which also comes with other hefty court costs.

6. Derby, Kansas Folks Whose Tires Screech are Law Breakers

If your tires screech or squeal while driving on Derby, Kansas roads, be ready to pay up to a $500 penalty. In fact, if you turn a corner and your tires let out these sounds, you may even go to jail for up to thirty days! Worse, you can face both types of punishment, as this makes you guilty of a misdemeanor.

7. Windshield Decorations are a No-No in Illinois

Illinois bans all objects hung or suspended between drivers and their windshield. Yes, that includes your favorite stuffed anime dolls or fuzzy dice, no matter how small they are. You also have to say goodbye to your hula girls and even hanging air fresheners.

If the authorities catch you with these objects, they’ll consider you a petty offender. That’ll then lead to a fine of between $50 to $500. If you get caught for the second time, that penalty will become a Class C misdemeanor.

Don’t Break These Laws, Even If They’re the Weirdest Laws in America

There you have it, some of the weirdest laws in America that you may never have heard of. Some of them can be pretty wild and hilarious, but remember, the law is still the law.

So, whether you’re a newbie or a veteran driver, be sure to follow these rules of the road, no matter how peculiar they are! Keep them in mind as well if you’re going on a road trip to any of these states. That way, you won’t see a drop in your driving scores and you can keep safe on the roads.

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What Constitutes Criminally Insane in a Court of Law

Is it possible to commit murder while sleepwalking? What if you did and then had no recollection of the ordeal?

Such was the case in the infamous murder trial of Steven Steinberg. Jurors determined he wasn’t responsible for his actions due to temporary insanity.

What does it mean to be criminally insane? How does one prove it, and what are the consequences? Read on to learn all the details.

History of the Insanity Defense

Society has always recognized the existence of outliers. While mental illness wasn’t completely comprehended, our ancestors did have a vague understanding.

By the late-thirteenth-century, England’s courtrooms began to recognize the “complete madness” defense. Judges would find a person not guilty by reason of insanity when the accused failed the “wild beast” test.

This test measured the defendant’s memory and understanding. The ‘mad’ defendant would show a comparable understanding as an “infant, brute, or wild beast.”

Thus, they couldn’t get held accountable for their actions.

How to Prove Criminal Insanity

This same notion continues to come into play in today’s courtrooms. How do you prove criminal insanity based on today’s legal standards? To be successful, an insanity plea must contain the following elements:

  • The defendant didn’t understand what they were doing
  • The person failed to know right from wrong
  • The individual acted on an uncontrollable impulse

Often, the person pleading insane is also suffering from a diagnosed mental condition. Not every state offers the insanity defense.

An experienced attorney is usually necessary when attempting to use this legal strategy.

Consequences of Getting Labeled Criminally Insane

Despite the attention a plea of insanity gets, it’s rare for such a defense to be successful in court.

When it is successful, the consequences are not desirable. While the criminally insane may avoid jail time, they will get institutionalized instead. Here’s what can happen when a person gets deemed insane:

  • Court mandates a hospital order (defendant can’t leave the hospital)
  • A restriction order
  • Supervision and treatment order

Unlike a criminal sentence, there are no limits on how long an insane person will get held. The person will remain institutionalized until they’re no longer a threat.

In most circumstances, institutionalization lasts longer than incarceration in prison.

What’s Temporary Insanity?

Another common defense strategy is to plead not guilty by way of temporary insanity.

Temporary insanity means the individual was insane when the crime occurred. This means the person lost control in the heat of the moment. Here are some factors involved with this defense:

  • The crime wasn’t premeditated
  • The person had a diminished capacity to reason at the time of the crime

Often, a mental health expert will need to testify about the individual’s state of mind. Evidence like psychological evaluations or a lie detector test is crucial in these cases.

The Controversial Insanity Defense

Criminally insane individuals do exist. Often, their crimes are a result of untreated mental illness. Institutionalization and medication are useful solutions.

What’s your take on this controversial legal defense strategy? Let us know your views by leaving a comment in the box below.

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6 months ago Attorney Client , Laws

Everything You Need To Know About Power Of Attorney After The Death Of A Loved One

58% of people age 53 to 71 have estate planning documents that will help manage their estate in the event of their death.

When that happens, an estate executor is named that will take over the legal and financial obligations of the deceased. But if that person has a power of attorney, then what happens with power of attorney after death?

Figuring out the legal terms following a death is a difficult but necessary task. In this guide, we’ll tell you where one role starts and the other ends. Keep reading to learn more about the legal power of attorney and their role after death.

What Is Legal Power of Attorney?

A person who requires someone to make decisions and sign documents on their behalf can assign a Power of Attorney to another individual. They can choose a trusted individual from among their friends and family, or they might choose their attorney.

The person who designates the power of attorney is known as the principal. The individual who is given legal power of attorney is called the agent. They can be given broad or limited powers.

With broad powers, the power of attorney has unlimited authority over legal and financial transactions, as allowed by state law. Limited powers are restricted to a single matter or field.

The purpose of a power of attorney is to act as the person’s agent during their lifetime. The power of attorney is expected to help protect the individual’s estate while they’re alive.

What Happens to Power of Attorney After Death?

The law across all states dictates that power of attorney expires when the principal dies. However, expiration doesn’t take effect until the power of attorney is aware of the death of the principal. In practices, this means that they may continue to act on their behalf until they’re aware of the death.

Following the expiration of the power of attorney, the executor of the state is responsible for legal and financial matters. Named by the will, the executor is bound by the provisions of that will.

So while a power of attorney represents a principal in life, the executor represents the principal in death. Though the executor is only required to follow the instructions laid out by the will. In the case there is no will, the intestate laws of that state decide the estate of the deceased.

What About A Durable Power of Attorney?

There are two types of power of attorney: durable and non-durable.

If a person is assigned non-durable power of attorney, their duty expires when the principal becomes incapacitated. When the principal is incapable of handling their own affairs, a non-durable power of attorney is no longer valid.

On the other hand, a durable power of attorney would continue in their role despite incapacitation. This type of power of attorney doesn’t provide authority over life or death health care decisions. And although it provides a broader range of powers, it also expires upon death.

Need Legal Help?

The power of attorney after death ceases to have any power. Whether broad or limited, durable or non-durable, the legal power of attorney only grants powers while a person is alive. Following a death, the executor of the estate takes care of a person’s estate according to the terms of the will.

For more legal information regarding estate planning, be sure to check out our blog.

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