Only about 60 percent of American children live in a home with both of their biological parents. That leaves almost 40 percent of children under 18 years of age subject to custody agreements of some kind.
For as common as such custody arrangements are, they are often not well understood. Myths and misconceptions abound.
If you’ve wondered “how is primary custody determined?”
Here are the facts
Who Decides Custody?
In about half of all cases, parents unanimously agree on who should have custody of their children. This includes situations where fathers are wholly absent by choice. Another 29 percent of custody agreements were worked out privately between parents who initially disagreed.
Third parties are only involved in about 20 percent of all custody cases. As little as four percent of cases are fully litigated in court.
Custody is a very emotional issue. While stories of bitter custody battles are everywhere, these statistics show the truth. In nearly all situations, parents have the power to determine custody arrangements as they see fit.
What Factors Do Judges Consider in Custody Cases?
When parents are unable to agree on custody rights, the court may become involved. This is particularly true during divorce proceedings, although that is not the only time it can happen.
Court decisions on who gets custody are made by a family court judge. The judge is charged with protecting your children’s interests. While parental opinions can play a role, they are secondary factors.
What Are the Grounds for Child Custody?
Judges evaluate a wide variety of factors when making custody decisions. Key factors include each parent’s:
- Relationship with the children
- Mental health
- Physical health
- Lifestyle and stability
- Ability to appropriately care for the children
- Current role in the children’s life
Judges usually prefer to give custody to children’s primary caregivers. This creates the least amount of disruption in children’s lives. Their primary caregivers are also the parents that children tend to be closest to and most engaged with.
Keeping children with their main caregivers can make them feel safer. However, if children have a preference for one parent over the other, judges will take that into account.
The Influence of Old Biases
Historically, courts believed that young children should stay with their mothers if a family dissolved. This was referred to as the Tender Years Doctrine. In many states, mothers automatically got custody unless fathers could prove that the mother was “unfit.”
Today, that doctrine is no longer in place. It still casts long shadows over the modern court landscape in many ways, however.
Mothers often assume that they have the right to dictate custody unless the court says otherwise. Fathers routinely assume they will be denied custody. Both assumptions can quickly become self-fulfilling prophecies.
In most cases, however, this historical precedent only influences court-ordered custody of kids where both parents allow it to. Judges no longer consider this the default. They will almost always award joint custody when it is safe to do so if both parents express a desire for custody.
How Is Primary Custody Determined When Parents Are Unmarried?
Many people naturally equate the question of child custody with the question “in a divorce who gets the child?” Yet today, more than 35 percent of couples raising children together are unmarried. This can create unique challenges to custody arrangements if the parents split.
Maternal Custody Default
When parents never marry, custody of any children they have automatically defaults to the mother. If the father does not take specific legal action to seek custody, he has only what rights the mother allows.
If the mother becomes unwilling or unable to care for the child, the biological father does have first rights to custody. The child cannot be placed with other relatives or caregivers unless he chooses to waive that right.
In order for a biological father to have any rights to his children when he is not married to their mother, he must be documented as their father. For example, he needs to:
- Be listed as the father on the legal birth certificate
- Be proven to be the father via a paternity test
- Have signed a legal affidavit of paternity
Ideally, one or more of these steps should be done when the child is first born. If it is not, the father will need to prove his paternity before he can pursue custody.
Unmarried fathers generally have a much more difficult time fighting for custody of their children than divorced fathers. Unmarried fathers who can prove that they have been actively involved in their children’s lives and providing physical and financial support of their children stand a better chance of getting custody than those who cannot.
Non-Parental Custody Situations
Biological parents always have first custody rights to their children. Courts will almost never consider awarding custody to a non-parent except in cases where neither parent is capable of taking custody. For example, custody may be awarded to a non-parent if both parents are:
- Physically or mentally incapable of caring for a child
- Found legally unfit by virtue of addiction or other lifestyle factors
When this is the case, non-parents may petition for custody. This custody may be called:
- Non-Parent Custody
- In loco parentis custody
Courts tend to favor direct relatives such as grandparents or aunts or uncles for these roles whenever possible. In all cases, the would-be guardians must prove that being in their custody is in the best interests of the children in question.
Specifically, would-be guardians need to show that:
- The biological parents are unwilling or unable to take or retain custody
- Remaining with the biological parents is a real and present danger to the children
- They can provide the children with a safe, loving home and a reasonable parent-child relationship
Would-be guardians will undoubtedly need a lawyer to help them present and win their case.
Understanding Family Law
How is primary custody determined? By evaluating what is best for the children involved. More than anything else, that is what matters to most parents and to the court system.
Learn more about the law and how it affects your family today by browsing more of our informative and user-friendly blog!
Lawyers are trained professionals that advise individuals, businesses, and government agencies on legal issues and disputes, and represent them in court. Lawyers know how to further counsel their clients about their legal rights and responsibilities and guide them through the complexities of the law.
You may find yourself in the difficult position of having to face a legal matter. If you find yourself in this situation and having to present in court or a legal setting, you may choose to represent yourself, as a few people choose to do. However, this requires certain expertise and knowledge of the law and there are good reasons lawyers exist and why you should consider hiring one to represent you and guide you through this process.
Despite this, you should aim to hire the best lawyer, as this will help you achieve the best outcomes for your case. In this article, we will discuss what to look for in the best lawyer and why this is important.
When Would I Need a Lawyer?
Millions of people become victims of car accidents, and it is an occurrence that is oftentimes out of our control and can cause serious impacts on our life. It is therefore imperative that, if you find yourself involved in a car accident, you aim to hire a legal representative as they will support you getting financial support to allow you to resume the life you had before the accident.
Not every legal expert can assure a positive outcome. There are diverse personal injury lawyers available, choosing one can be a difficult process. Among others, this law firm offers you expert advice on how experienced lawyers can best support you in receiving the financial compensation you are entitled to. Understanding what to look for in a legal professional to represent you in a personal injury claim, can feel overwhelming and something you may not wish to go through after being involved in an accident.
What Do I Look For in a Lawyer?
Training and Experience
The best lawyers have many years of training, and potentially years of experience, that have equipped them with the necessary skills to challenge or suppress evidence in a legal setting. This process is more difficult than simply stating something is right or wrong. There is a need for a skill to connect evidence to statements and challenge any facts the opposing side may argue. Increased experience dealing with similar matters will mean lawyers are more likely to know exactly what to look for, what to expect, and what questions to ask, particularly under the pressure of the court settings. You should aim to look for a fully qualified lawyer with greater amounts of experience in the specific field you need so that the likelihood of a positive outcome for your case increases.
Being in a court setting can be overwhelming and frightening, for the common individual. Lawyers with experience and training, as mentioned above, will be more comfortable when faced with challenging situations that legal settings present. The opposing party that you face will expectedly have a great legal representative, who is also fighting hard for their client’s case. If your lawyer has limited knowledge of the law and limited experience with arguing a case in court, you may find that they may become flustered and intimidated in court, which will not secure you the positive outcome you desire.
Representing a legal case takes time and energy – to learn the case thoroughly as well as to know how to use the law to benefit you. The best lawyers are more likely to be working on fewer cases at one time, which would enable your lawyer to fully dedicate themselves to yourself and your case. This is highly important as you will want your representation to learn the specifics of your case and be prepared enough so that they can predict challenges that may arise in the process, and quickly overcome these.
When looking for the best lawyer, you will know the quality of their work by the reputation the individuals and the firm they work for uphold. Reputation is built through experience as well as recognition from others. You will want to carefully explore any reviews from previous or current clients that the firm and lawyers may have received, as this will be the best way to find out whether or not they would indeed support you to the fullest.
Hiring a lawyer may appear to be an unnecessary expense, particularly if they have a positive reputation. However, there are many benefits to having the best lawyer, as they will be able to fight for you and your case and try their best to achieve the best outcome for you.
Handling any form of harassment related to debt collections is something which you should know. You can’t expect untoward circumstances. There are times when the situation is unfavorable and the time is rough. But when your due balance remains unpaid for a period of time, it does not mean that the debt collector has all the rights on Earth to abuse and harass you. Hence, you have to know how to properly handle unfavorable situations like a phone call harassment.
Let’s define and expound call harassment first!
For you to understand the entire context, let’s expound first the essence of call harassment. What does it really mean by this? Ideally, any form of unsolicited phone calls in an abusive context on the part of the caller is a form of phone call harassment. If there is an unfriendly and rude manner of the caller, then for sure you’re harassed. If there is a sort of threat whatsoever, then it falls under this context.
On the matter of debt collection, when you’re being called up over the phone several times a day, it’s a form of harassment. You also have to know that if the debt collector is calling your friends or relatives, it’s another ground of harassment under this legal framework. Any act of public humiliation for the reason of compelling you to pay your due debt balance is another categorical aspect of harassment.
Does it mean if you’re experiencing any of these things you have the right to sue the harassing debt collector? The general answer to this question is yes. But you need a legal expert, an attorney whose expertise is about protecting consumers from any form of debt-related call harassment. This legal expert would be helping you with the entire process. Of course, the lawyer has to assess the weight and substance of your complaint.
To make sure that you’re gonna be in the right position in handling unfavorable debt situations that include phone call harassment, you need to know some certain things. This is the succeeding context of this blog post.
You have to know about Fair Debt Collection Practices Act of 1977.
The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) is a law enacted to protect both creditors and debtors. It is a wrong notion if you think that only the creditor does have the right after the mutual agreement between them and the debtor is signed and legally binded. Such an Act is a form of legal framework on what things the creditors and debtors can and can’t do. This is a paradigm from which the act of collecting debts is being regulated.
There is no way that the creditor is allowed by this federal law to threaten you as the debtor. Of course, you should not be threatened and abused verbally despite the fact that you’re not able to pay your debt on time. There must be a proper decorum as to the aspect of collection. And once the credit collector is going beyond this practice, FDCPA implies that you have the right to defend and protect yourself. Therefore, it is a wise thing to know how you can handle things like this. Obscene, profane, and abusive language is strictly prohibited by law.
Be wise enough by taking down notes related to the manner of collection.
Everything you take during the phone conversation with the debt collector must be taken down in a piece of paper. Why is it so? It is necessary to take down notes because the attorney who will be helping you legally can use it to substantiate your case if you decide to file a lawsuit. Even the call through a voicemail should be taken down. Record the date and time when the phone call is made. And if possible, be clear with the details during the conversation, or the exact message sent via voicemail.
As a debtor, you have to be vigilant. That is why it is recommended by legal experts to know the things you can use legally in the context of phone call harassment complaints. You have the right to sue the credit collector and the credit firm itself if your right is violated in the form of voicemail or phone call abuses. Part of the things you have to list down should be the name of the caller, the exact name of the credit firm that the debt collector is working with, their complete address, as well as the amount they’re trying to collect from you. By doing this, you can have a more substantiated call harassment complaint.
The debt collector must verify and validate their collection.
You should not be paying any amount to an alleged debt if the collected fee is not validated. This is the responsibility of the debt collector to provide validating and verifying documents to your end. This is to make the collection justifiable. And sometimes, debt collectors have bogus activities like collecting old debts that are beyond the so-called statute of limitations. Usually, the debt collector will be trying to negotiate with you about old debts. And if you’re somehow hesitant about the negotiation, they will threaten you like they would say, “The credit firm will file a case against you if you won’t pay this!” This is beyond what the law says about debt collection.
The statute of limitations has given a certain time to the credit company to file a case to anybody who is indebted to them. If it goes beyond the timeframe, then a legal suit is not allowed by the law. In this case, the practice of that debt collector can be considered as a debt collection scam. So, to make sure that you’re on the right track, you have to consult an expert legal mind who will be providing you with clear emphasis on what you can do when you’re being harassed, abused, and threatened by a debt collector on the aspect of collecting old debts.
You must not be afraid to stand up for your right. Yes, a debt must be paid because the law says that when you have a debt, you need to pay it. Otherwise, the creditor can file a case against you. But there is a proper practice that has to be followed as to this matter. If the fair credit collection practice is transgressed, then you have the right to protect yourself legally.
For more details about collection call harassment, you can contact Paul Mankin today!
The ecommerce revolution has transformed the way modern economy works, creating new business models and forever changing the way people shop.
Today, more people prefer using the internet to order the things they need or want rather than going to shopping malls, local street shops, or other traditional retail channels.
The ability to compare vendors, find great deals, save time and money, and order products and services from the comfort of one’s home has added a lot of convenience to everyday life.
The benefits of online shopping for the average consumer are clear and powerful, but what about the risks?
Many feel that fine print issues are one of the evils internet shoppers encounter on a daily basis.
This troublesome area is one of the oldest and most effective marketing tactics in existence, which is often the source of customer disappointment, anger, and frustration.
But what exactly is this notorious fine print?
It’s usually inconspicuous details or conditions that appear some place on a commercial website, especially terms that that could be considered disadvantageous or may prove unfavorable.
Often, this information is not included in the main body of the content and is presented in smaller letters compared to the rest of the text on the page, perhaps in the hope that the reader will not notice it.
The ‘fine print’ is extremely important!
It often contains exclusions, limitations, or other vital information that the vendor does not want the shopper to actually see but that is essential for them to know.
The purpose of this section is to protect the company’s interests, supposedly in a legal way, and in some cases, to hide certain fees, oppressive terms, or other key information and make the consumer believe that the offer is better than it might actually be.
So what can you do in practical terms in order to avoid being misled or even becoming a victim to a scam?
Simply read the fine print wherever it appears: website terms and conditions, product descriptions, order pages, money-back guarantees, return and cancellation policies, service contracts, free offers, etc.
Protect yourself from unnecessary aggravation, financial losses, and from taking legal action by reading all the terms, disclosures, and disclaimers as thoroughly as possible – even when they’re hidden or buried deep within the website.
If you notice an asterisk (or several of them) in the main body of the offer’s text, do not ignore it – ever.
It means there’s some fine print you need to find and read, which may include critical information that you need to explore and consider before placing an order and signing the virtual dotted line.
In many cases, that’s where the problematic clauses and the intentional legal loopholes (that were crafted by the company’s seasoned legal experts) are cleverly masked.
If you have doubts about a certain online purchase, consider consulting with a consumer-protection attorney, who can review the given website’s terms and advise you regarding possible risks.
Did you know that about 57 million freelancers are working independently in the US today? That makes up almost 35% percent of the entire US economy.
In case you’re wondering what is causing the current upheavals by Uber and Lyft employees in California demanding an amendment of the new AB5 law, these statistics tell us why.
Working independently has become a go-to option for Americans looking for part-time jobs, or even some flexibility while making a living. However, a freelancer is also self-dependent when it comes to benefits like insurance and retirement planning.
To help protect the rights of freelance workers, California enforced the AB5 law, which came into effect on 1st Jan 2020. The law draws a definite line between freelancers and full-time employees.
Don’t worry, here’s everything you need to know about California freelance laws. We have made them simpler for you.
What’s All the Fuss About?
We know what you might be thinking. The law intends to protect the rights of freelancers across the state, why the protests and cries for amendments? We hate to admit it, but while the law comes from a good place, it’s more trouble for freelancers than not.
Why? Mainly because it forces employers into giving freelancers the rights they deserve. These include minimum wage protection and other workers’ rights. Unfortunately, it has ended up doing the opposite.
Following the law, employers are simply getting rid of freelancers who they might have to classify as full-time employees. The results are disastrous. For example, Vox Media broke ties with hundreds of freelance journalists because they couldn’t comply with the new law.
Besides that, it’s becoming harder for freelancers from California to find work globally, as employers choose to avoid them altogether.
But wait. That doesn’t mean you cannot work as a freelancer at all. Here’s a list of the key clauses to remember from the California freelance laws, so you can continue pursuing your career while complying with the law.
The Three-Part Test
The AB5 mandates a three-part test(ABC test) that determines whether a particular employee can be considered an independent contractor.
If the freelancer does not match any of the three clauses, the employer has to add his name to his regular payroll, along with all the essential benefits.
- The freelancer completes his services without any strict control of the company
- The tasks he takes up should not be from the company’s everyday core activities
- The freelancer should be engaged independently in the same occupation he takes up for the company
Meeting all three clauses is quite tricky, with a steady workflow. For example, if you’re writing blogs as a freelancer for a cosmetic company, that can be considered outside the regular course of activities.
However, if the organization you write for is a magazine or general publication, writing articles is considered from the necessary course of activities in the company. Therefore, your employers will not be able to treat you as an external freelance worker.
Yearly Work Limitations
As a creative freelancer such as a writer or designer, you can only complete less than 35 projects per year. This is the benchmark to be considered as a freelance worker.
Look at it this way. You’ll only get a freelance worker status in California if you complete 25 jobs for company A and 25 jobs for company B. You can go on with this until you reach the 36th job for any of the companies.
Exceeding this limitation will force your employer to count you in the employee classification and add you to their payroll. In this case, you might get hired permanently, or your employer will have no choice but to stop giving you any further work.
Yeah, that sounds frustrating, right? There’s no way a freelancer generating a steady income can limit himself to 35 submissions per client in a year.
But there’s more. Companies all over the world have to comply with this clause if they’re working with California-based workers. This means whoever you work for if you live in California, cannot escape the law. Even if you use a platform like Upwork or Fiverr.
Business Exemption Loophole
With all the upheavals and protests, the Californian government is looking to amend the 35-submission limit. Still, freelancers argue that the limitation currently threatens their livelihood.
But, here’s a scoop. The AB5 also mandates a business-to-business exemption. So, you can register yourself as a company and complete uncapped projects for your clients.
However, freelancers will have to show themselves as legitimate businesses to bypass the law. This means having a legal business license, tax permit, separate equipment, and different work locations from their clients.
Freelancers all over California fear for their jobs since the AB5. But, the law states that some occupations don’t have to worry about complying with this law at all. These include doctors, lawyers, real estate agents, grant writers, tutors, architects, and truck drivers.
Freelancers from these modes of occupation are exempted from AB5.
The AB5 intends to keep employers from avoiding taxes and provide deserving workers with legit employee status. This way, they’re forced to give their workers healthcare, compensation, paid leaves, and other employee rights.
Despite the good intentions, this law makes it difficult for freelancers in California to get hired.
There’s hope for further tweaks and amendments in the law. Until then, as a freelancer in California, you should map out all the possibilities with your clients before agreeing to work with them. Good Luck!
A career in law can be very rewarding and exciting. When you embark on a career in law, you will be working with a wide range of different clients to help them with their legal problems, from family disputes like child custody to defending those who have been accused of committing a crime, depending on the field of law that you choose to get into. If you have decided that a career in law is the right path for you, there are a few things to keep in mind to ensure that you get the best career prospects and stay at the top of your game.
Check out the list
Choosing a Law School
The law school that you attend can make all the difference when it comes to your future career in law. When choosing a law school, give yourself plenty of time to conduct research, find out about the different learning facilities available, what previous students have gone on to do with their careers, which law firms the school works with, whether there will be any internships or other work experience options available to you as a student, and how the school ranks, for example. Spend some time visiting open days, speaking to staff and students, and getting a feel for the school to determine if it’s somewhere you would like to attend.
Getting Work Experience
Getting work experience as early on as possible is often crucial to a successful career as a lawyer. Many high school students will get work experience in a law office before they attend college, and once you are studying for your law degree, it’s important to try and get as much relevant work experience as possible, whether it’s through student placements, internships or a part-time job for a law firm. The more work experience you have behind you when you graduate, the easier it will be for you to find a great career working for a good law firm.
Type of Law
Consider the type of law that you want to pursue your career and how you are going to get there. For example, you might want to specialize in criminal law, family law, property law, business law or elder law. Deciding on the field of law that you wish to work in should be something that you do as early as possible; ideally before or during college since this will give you the opportunity to determine which elective modules to take and where to focus your studies in order to improve your chance of your career going in the direction that you would like it to take.
Employment or Law Firm?
Deciding whether to pursue employment in a law firm or start your own firm is another key factor to keep in mind. Working for a law firm can be a very valuable source of experience when first starting out, but if making the decisions and working as a law partner as soon as possible are important to you, you might want to consider starting your own firm. However, this will be a lot more work as you will be required to find your own clients and compete against other law firms in your area.
Your Health and Wellbeing
Finally, looking after yourself is crucial when pursuing a career as a lawyer. You will struggle to do a good job for your clients if you are running on empty. Be sure to prioritize your health and importantly, make sure that you are getting enough sleep and resist the temptation to work late into the night. Mattresses are on sale during Labor Day, and this is a great time to buy a mattress that will ensure you get a great night’s sleep on a budget.
Embarking on a career in law can be a very rewarding experience. Keep these tips in mind and enjoy a fulfilling legal career.
In today’s world, telemedicine has become a more realistic option for many who are seeking better access to medical care. It is a convenient way of getting a diagnosis, and it is much more affordable than other medical alternatives. However, there have been several issues when it comes to the legality of telemedicine because some states require doctors to see patients physically to be able to provide a prescription.
There are several ways to avoid legal risk in telemedicine that physicians should be aware of
Be Licensed in Multiple States
Telemedicine is basically seeing patients through a virtual platform. These patients can be from nearby or far away, even other states. For a variety of reasons, these patients may have decided telemedicine is a good alternative to going to a hospital or clinic. However, in the USA, some doctors may only be a licensed physician in their own state. If a doctor transfers from one state to another, they must comply with that state’s requirements which may involve additional certifications. If a doctor is treating patients in multiple states through telemedicine, it is best to have a license in multiple states.
Doing this allowed under the Interstate Medical Licensure Compact. It will enable qualified physicians to practice in different states. The goal of this is to increase access to quality doctors especially, around the rural areas. So far, 29 out of 50 states in the USA are part of this agreement.
Together with new techniques of telemedicine, this allows physicians to realize the goal of IMLC further and reach more people without any legal consequences. However, several doctors have noted that keeping up with the license requirements of multiple states can be challenging.
Be Aware of State Rules for Telemedicine
If you plan to practice telemedicine in a state that is not included in IMLC, this may involve several rigorous requirements for you to be able to practice legally. Each state has its own complex requirements. Getting a license in all the states can be a real challenge.
“Some states have restrictions on asynchronous visits. Find out if the state you want to practice in has any such restrictions. Telemedicine integration in some states is becoming more prevalent as they are starting to allow remote patient monitoring. In 2017, a total of 22 states, including Washington DC, recognized this. There are 29 US states which now allow asynchronous telemedicine services.”say Dr.Sebastian,co-founder of Doctorspring, a leading telemedicine platform.
Aside from that, patients will be happy to know that in 28 states, they can enjoy the same insurance coverage as in-person care, with Medicare covering telemedicine in more locations.
Adhere to HIPAA Requirements
HIPAA stands for the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act. In that Act, it requires strict data protection. One of the biggest fears with the use of telemedicine is the lack of privacy. Critics have noticed that it is an avenue where essential information about an individual’s condition might easily be leaked to the public.
This is why telemedicine practitioners need to ensure that they are in a location where outsiders cannot hear their conversation. They must also make sure that the technology they use protects data that they receive against threats such as hacking. As often as possible, the information must be encrypted.
However, current video sharing platforms such as Skype and Facetime are not equipped with that. That is why a lot of legislation is pushing for telecare to have a specific platform that is fully encrypted. This will help the physician adhere to HIPAA compliance and avoid information leakage.
Furthermore, the 3rd parties involved in telemedicine are required to observe HIPPA rules as well. Failure to do so could result in legal actions as this could be considered as a breach of data privacy laws.
Acquire Telemedicine Training
Technology has significantly changed the way people live today. This is why it is no surprise that it is slowly taking over the field of medicine. However, since telemedicine is very different from conventional practices, physicians must have adequate training specific to telemedicine.
Training should involve an introduction to the proper use and limitations of telemedicine. This will allow physicians to have a clearer idea of its workflow and capabilities. Physicians will also need to know consent forms are required. They will also learn important questions to ask, such as where their patient is located so they can follow the necessary rules for that area.
The training is essential in protecting physicians against legal actions. Remember, ignorance of the law does not acquit anyone, so before engaging in telemedicine, gain the appropriate knowledge.
Additionally, telemedicine training includes seminars that explain the rules and regulations of professional medical conduct in the context of telehealth. This helps physicians determine if they need to acquire a license from other states or if they prefer only accepting telemedicine patients who are in the same state as they are. Doing this will also help more physicians to engage in telemedicine, making it more accessible to the public.
Telemedicine has a lot of benefits that underprivileged or distant communities can enjoy. It has been a viable answer to the gap between people and medical care. However, because it is new, the laws have not fully adjusted to it yet. As mentioned above, the effort of states to integrate and create policies governing it is evident. As time goes on, the legal guidelines for telemedicine will become more transparent and more accessible to a greater number of physicians.
The reason for this article is probably obvious. With the widespread riots spreading like a wildfire that threaten to consume all in its path, the decision between fight or flight becomes ever apparent. To some people, their home or their business is all they have, and thus they aren’t going to willingly abandon their property, even as the onslaught of riots eventually finds them.
But the trouble with fear is that it tends to cause people to react with extreme measures, especially when confronted by such lawlessness as displayed by looting and rioting. It’s easy to forget that even during chaos, the law ought to be followed. It may be tempting to use lethal force in order to deter rioters from breaking into your property, but there are certain legal boundaries that you need to follow if you intend to do so. Yes, you are definitely within your right to defend yourself and that which you own, but there are fine lines that you need to adhere to.
Let’s dive in
Nobody wants unwanted guests, and as such the law allows the use of measures that deter trespassers. Some of these measures that are allowable by law are:
- Security cameras. – However, it’s also important to put a notice that your area is being monitored by a surveillance camera so no anti-voyeurism rights are violated.
- Fences, shutters, gates, – as long as it is within reasonable means and it does not deprive others of passage to their own property.
- Calling for police assistance. – while it may seem like an exercise in futility to call upon law enforcement to aid you during a riot, it’s important to report criminal activity so you’re able to pursue legal action later on.
Now, what happens if all these lawful, non-violent measures fail? Are property owners then allowed to use lethal force? – Yes. But, only when certain conditions are met.
Use Of Lethal Force
Even with “Stand Your Ground” laws in effect, the use of lethal force in an attempt to protect your property is not reason enough to justify shooting someone. The scope of these laws is only meant to provide protection to those who use force to defend themselves from bodily harm. This protection does not extend to their property. However, it is legal in Texas to use lethal force if the owner reasonably believes that the use of non-lethal force will endanger someone.
Even warning shots have to be done within legal bounds. The warning shot must be done as a reasonable show of force to deter burglars. They must only be performed in the event of an imminent attack and only as a means of self-defense. A warning shot used to simply scare people gathering outside your property will be considered as a violent threat and will also mean that you may be subject to criminal charges.
If you find yourself the victim of an overzealous property owner, Philadelphia injury lawyers may be able to help you recover damages for your injury including wrongful death.
According to various statistics, sexual assault is among the most under-reported crimes in the world. This fact brings the overall percentages down and makes most people think that instances of sexual assault are rare and unlikely to happen to them or to their families.
However, most of them don’t take into account everything implied by sexual assault, so to say. For example, church sexual abuse is in the same category and it’s just as under-reported.
Sexual assault and abuse usually remain not reported because the victims don’t know what to expect from the justice system or the criminal process. They even think that there may not be enough evidence to press charges.
Let’s take a short look at the first steps of the criminal process behind a sexual assault case
In a sexual assault case, the justice system is mainly focused on the accused – felon. Those that report the case and make a complaint, the victims, are usually left aside while the victim is being assessed.
Moreover, when trying to determine whether an individual is guilty in a case of sexual abuse, the court battle will be between a court counsel and a defense counsel, the latter being represented by the lawyer of the accused.
In short, given that sexual assault is a criminal offense, the police/state will press charges against the accused.
The very first thing sexual assault victims have to do to start the criminal process is to lay charges against the abuser. This is initiated with a call to the police.
As mentioned, since the police press charges against the abuser, the victim is considered a witness to the case – a vital one, nonetheless.
Upon calling the police, the victim may be required to go to the police station and help them make a report that would be the base for the accusations. Based on the report and the investigations that they conduct, the police will decide whether to press further charges.
When and Who to Call?
Naturally, if you are in immediate danger, you should call 911 immediately and wait for the police to arrive.
On the other hand, there’s also no limit whatsoever when it comes to reporting sexual assault. Still, reporting one sooner increases the chances to convict a criminal, as evidence is easier to gather.
If you are not in danger and decide to report a sexual assault case, you can make the process easier by asking to talk with an officer or representative of the Sexual Assault Unit.
What to Expect?
When calling and visiting the police station, do not expect a hostile environment. Why?
Because the authorities can and will take all the measures that they can to make the victims feel comfortable. You can have a support person by your side throughout the process and you can even change a male officer in charge of you with a female one.
The officers inside a unit and the court of law know very well that sexual assault is a serious matter, especially to the victim. This is why they train officers on sexual violence and on how to speak with the victim, and so on.
The Bottom Line
Obviously, it is worth noting the status of the victim in the criminal process of a sexual assault – namely, the witness one. While some may not see the logic in this, keep in mind that a conviction is almost certain when you are the witness in a trial where you are not the accuser.
Since the police press charges, be sure that they’ll do everything in their power to help the victims! As such, no one should be afraid to talk to the authorities when it comes to such matters!
First and foremost, it is worth mentioning that – in most cases – victims of sexual abuse don’t (have) press charges against the abuser/criminal. This means that the victim won’t have to bear the costs of a trial and so on.
Why? Because sexual abuse and assault is a criminal offense and the police/authorities will press charges against the abuser and, as they say, drag them in court for justice. Still, this doesn’t mean that victims don’t have a say in all this or don’t need to contact a sexual abuse attorney.
In sexual abuse cases and court trials, victims are considered as witnesses and also have the right to legal counseling.
Let’s see what else can the victims of sexual abuse expect in court and during the trial
The Victim’s Rights
Even if the victim is seen as a witness, they still have plenty of rights, compared to other types of cases/trials.
As such, the victim has the right to crime victim compensation, to attend the case proceedings, to request police protection throughout the trial, as well as the right to voice themselves and their opinions during the trial/proceedings.
As some of you may know, sexual abuse victims are also entitled to a support person that can assist them throughout the trial. This is because sexual abuse, first of all, is an overwhelming experience and can let someone scarred for life. Then, to put the same person through such a trial can be even harder for them, mentally.
Because of this, victims can request support from – friends or family, a trained advocate, or from a state crime victim compensation program. They will join you in the court of law and make sure that you are comfortable!
During the trial and in the court of law, the victim will interact mainly with the defense and prosecuting attorneys, as well as with the judge. Their role – as a victim and witness – will be to assist the two attorneys and answer their questions.
However, until they get into the courtroom, the victims may find refuge in a specially designed victim waiting are. Depending on the trial and its stage, the victim may not be asked into the courtroom until they are to be questioned or such.
Furthermore, before the trial, the victim may also be asked to clarify any and every concern that they have regarding the trial and the proceedings with their legal counselor.
In terms of overall interaction with any individual throughout the trial, the victim of sexual abuse has the right to require a police escort or even have a no-contact order instated for them.
The Bottom Line
Even though a mere witness, so to say, sexual abuse victims are the only persons that can have the abusers convicted. While the criminal proceedings and overall process may seem not enough at times, the authorities will always do their best to find the accused guilty!
Last but not least, it is essential that victims take advantage of the legal counsel they are provided with, as well as of the support person they choose. It’s in their and the state’s best interest to have the victim recover from their experience!