DUI as a Felony

DUI as a Felony

Feb 09

Driving under the influence of alcohol is a crime, and it can be classified as a misdemeanor or a felony. Misdemeanor is a less serious charge, often with less serious fines and penalties. But a felony charge can have devastating consequences, such as significant fines and jail times.

A DUI charge can be considered a felony because of a lot of factors, and these factors vary from state to state. The common factors that are taken into consideration are listed below.

Blood Alcohol Level
Different jurisdictions have different levels of tolerance towards blood alcohol level. In most states, the legal level is 0.08%. If you have 0.08% BAC and above, you may be charged with DUI. The charge can be considered a felony if your BAC level is significantly higher than what is allowed. The common threshold is at 0.16%.

Number of Offenses
How many times you have committed the offense within a specified period of years is a significant factor in determining whether the offense will be considered a misdemeanor DUI or a felony DUI. For example, if you have been convicted of a DUI offense for the fourth time within the last ten years, the conviction can elevate into a felony.

Injury
DUI can be elevated into a felony if the incident has caused injury. This is especially true if the injury involves a substantial risk of death, serious or permanent disfigurement, or impairment. Sometimes, it doesn’t matter whether the injured party is the drunk driver, passenger, or other innocent motorists and pedestrians. If injury is involved, the case may already be elevated into a felony.

State of License
Your license is also taken into consideration. If you have been driving under the influence of alcohol while having a suspended license, a misdemeanor DUI can turn into a felony DUI, despite the other factors that may be involved.

Getting convicted for DUI can be a challenging experience, as it has significant consequences not only in your present, but also in your future. That is why there are legal professionals out there who specialize in DUI criminal defense, such as the lawyers from Truslow & Truslow. In a way, this means that the law is not biased and is willing to hear all sides.

Though it is good news that you can defend yourself, it is still a better idea to avoid drinking and driving. Avoiding it may prevent injury and even save lives.

The Grim Reality of Sexual Abuse in Nursing Homes

The Grim Reality of Sexual Abuse in Nursing Homes

Dec 29

An 89-year resident of a nursing home in Hermantown, Minnesota told her daughter on the morning of January 29, 2013, about the sexual abuse committed against her the night before by one of the male workers in their nursing home facility. However, instead of the Department of Health acting on the case swiftly, it took 10 days before it initiated an investigation and put the blame solely on the 30-year old male employee, exempting the nursing home facility from any form of liability due to its policies to prevent abuse.

The accused abuser/rapist admitted having sex with the elderly resident but, according to the nursing home’s clinical services director, the act was consensual and that the accuser even flirted mercilessly with the young male employee. It took about four days before the victim was medically examined for evidence of rape; results showed that she was badly injured.

Never has nursing home abuses been covered by the media than over the last decade. Due to media coverage and the vigilance of government and non-profit organizations, more acts of abuses are now being uncovered and abusers brought to justice. However, it cannot be denied that many of the abuses committed are totally shocking, as many of these are perpetrated by nursing home personnel themselves, even by nurses and certified nursing assistants, to elder residents who are weak, bed ridden, or suffering from dementia or memory loss.

Some forms of abuses in nursing homes are physical, emotional, financial and sexual, which is the most humiliating and insulting, but the least type of abuse reported. Elder abuse, as defined in the NursingHomeAbuseGuice.org website, is the “initiation of physical or sexual contact with an elderly person, when that contact is nonconsensual or unwanted. This abuse also includes making contact with an elderly person who is confused or unable to give consent. Whether or not the contact is significant or minor, if it is sexual in nature and nonconsensual, it is sexual abuse.” (http://www.nursinghomeabuseguide.org/sexual-abuse/)

Besides listing down the signs of sexual abuse, such as: bruising; blood, stains, or rips in undergarments; sudden trouble standing, sitting, or walking; newly discovered sexually transmitted diseases; pain or injury in pelvic areas; and, inappropriate or atypical behavior, an article in the website of the law firm Karlin, Fleisher & Falkenberg says that “unwelcome or non-consensual sexual activity has no place in nursing homes.” Thus, family members who have even the least suspicion that their loved one is experiencing some form of nursing home abuse, sexual or otherwise, an attorney may be able to help them prove it and hold the responsible party accountable.”

How A Retailer Can Be Held Liable For Product Liability?

How A Retailer Can Be Held Liable For Product Liability?

Nov 15

Over the years, there had been a spate of product recalls for allegedly causing injuries or accidents to consumers. When products are sold in the market, there is always an assumption that they have been tested and considered safe. When injuries happen to a buyer, the first one to be blamed will be the manufacturer. This is not the case all the time because everyone who is part of the distribution chain can be held liable.

According to the website of Williams Kherkher, defects may arise from the manufacturing to the distribution, or even when they are already in the store shelf. Even though they were not the manufacturers of the defective product, retailers can be held liable for any injuries resulting from those defects. Retailers have the job to ensure that the products they are selling are safe for use.

Retailers may argue that they had no way to know if the product had any defects because they were not the ones who manufactured the item. However, it is their job to take measures in ensuring the safety of the products they are selling. Hence, they can be sued for product liability if the item they sold caused injury to the buyer or to another person.

The liability of a retailer in a defective products claim may be an issue of negligence on their part. For example, when the Consumer Product Safety Commission calls for a recall of the product and the retailer did not remove it from their shelf, a consumer may have a case if they get injured. The retailer may be required to provide consumers with sufficient warning about defects and inform them of how to repair or replace the product. Their failure to do so constitutes negligence.

Product liability is protected in the Consumer Protection Act. Everyone therefore has the right to sue and receive compensation from any injuries that resulted from defective products.

Why Many Individuals are Wrongfully Convicted

Why Many Individuals are Wrongfully Convicted

Sep 17

Drug-related activities, which include simple possession, possession with intent, sale of a controlled substance, drug manufacturing, drug trafficking, and drug conspiracy, are serious federal and state crimes and are punished with mandatory sentences, steep fines, and possibly many hours of community service, among others. (A mandatory sentence refers to the penalties a court must hand down to a person convicted of certain offense. Felony offenses, under state law, are punishable by a mandatory minimum sentence of at least one year imprisonment. Class A felonies, which are the most serious of offenses under state law, carry a mandatory minimum of 15 years jail time. Mandatory minimum sentences, however, may be increased due to certain factors, such as prior convictions or aggravating factors.)

Every year, the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) makes more than 30,000 arrests due to drug-related crimes. Two specific arrests frequently made by state or federal arresting officers are simple possession of illegal drugs and possession with intent. As explained in the website of the law firm Brent Horst, simple possession alleges that an individual had a controlled substance for his or her own personal use (illegal or controlled substance includes cocaine, heroin, marijuana and ecstasy, which is otherwise known as 3,4-methylenedioxymethamphetamine (MDMA). Heroin, marijuana and ecstasy are Schedule I drugs or drugs with no currently accepted medical use and have a high potential for abuse; cocaine, on the other hand, is a Schedule II drug or a type of illegal drug that has high potential for abuse, the use of which can potentially lead to severe psychological or physical dependence.

A worse offense than simple possession is possession with intent. This offense alleges that a person who possesses illegal drugs has intent to sell, distribute, deliver, or even manufacture the controlled substance. A simple possession charge can be elevated to possession with intent due to the amount of drugs possessed – it being too much for one person to use. Besides this, the presence of some items, like sand/mall plastic bags, containers, or scales are more likely indicative of a possessor’s intent to sell. While simple possession may only be a misdemeanor, possession with intent is always considered by state and federal authorities as a felony.

Those involved in drug crimes and other drug-related activities should be caught and punished according to the stipulations of the law. However, many law firms, like Brent Horst, for example, know that many individuals are made to suffer years of jail term despite innocence on the charges brought against them. Wrong conviction can be due to:

Systemic bias, or institutional bias, which refers to an inherent tendency to support particular outcomes (such as excluding black jurors from trials involving African Americans);

“Tunnel vision” or confirmation bias,” which involves forming an initial impression about one person’s guilt, and then tunneling or focusing on proving that person’s guilt while overlooking exculpatory information and other suspects; and,

Plea bargaining, wherein an accused would rather confess to a crime despite innocence so as to be given only a minimum sentence for her offense. While a plea bargain would save a person from a lengthy time in jail (the sentence the crime really deserves) it also forgoes the necessity

Pros and Cons of a High Car Insurance Deductible

Pros and Cons of a High Car Insurance Deductible

Jun 01

A deductible is an out-of-the-pocket expense that a car owner must pay before their insurance provider begins paying for damages. When choosing deductibles, the question that comes to mind is “Will I opt for a higher or lower amount of deductible?” If you are looking for reduced interest rates, the former is the better option than the latter. There are many benefits to getting a higher deductible than a lower amount. Let us take a look at the benefits.

1. Lower Premiums

According to the website of Madison, WI car accident attorneys, having a higher deductible entitles you to a lower monthly interest rate on your car insurance. This is true regardless of the type of insurance you are applying for. According to the Insurance Information Institute, an increase of $200 to $500 on your insurance policy can result to a 30 percent reduction on your premiums. If you can afford to increase it by $1,000, you can get around 40 percent savings on your premium.

2. Cash on Hand for Emergency Situations

By increasing the amount of your deductible, you are assured of having cash on hand for emergency situations. Let us say something unforeseen happens with your car, you will have something to pay off for whatever expenses you will incur. Funding your deductibles can give you something to use in times of emergencies.

Tips on Choosing Amount of Deductible

Deciding on the amount of your deductible can be difficult. It will eventually affect your future finances on your car insurance. Here are some helpful reminders on selecting the right amount of deductible.

  1. Choose a deductible that you can afford. Everything boils down to how much budget you can afford to shell out. Remember that your insurance provider will not pay for damages until you have paid up your deductibles. So think long and hard on how much money you would like to risk for your deductibles.
  2. Consider how the deductible will affect the amount of insurance. When choosing the amount of deductible, think of the long term effect it will have on your insurance premium. How much will you be able to save if you pay $1,000 on deductibles compared to $500. Will you get huge savings in your insurance premium when making an additional payment for your deductible?

If you have comprehensive and collision coverage, it will be dependent on three things: the value of the car, the likelihood of a claim, and the amount of your deductible. Having a higher deductible can reduce any potential risk from your insurance company.

Drunk Driving Accidents

Drunk Driving Accidents

Jan 05

Being a responsible driver requires close attention to the road and the other drivers around you. The effects of alcohol makes this impossible, making drunk driving one of the most dangerous forms of reckless driving. Drunk driving is defined as operating a vehicle with an blood alcohol content level of 0.08% of higher. According to the internet site of the Hankey Law Office, about 32% of vehicle related fatalities was due to drunk driving.

Drunk driving impairs a number of important functions necessary to drive a car. Alcohol can impair your vision, decision making skills, and reaction time. As such, the likelihood of a drunk driver causing a wreck is significantly higher than a sober driver. The roadways are already dangerous due to high speeds and heavy machinery, so a driver that is incoherent in any way significantly adds to the treacherous nature of driving.

In the U.S., drunk driving is a serious offense that is fully persecuted by the courts. Many car crash injury lawyers focus a lot of their practices on pursuing claims against drunk drivers. The act can have many names which include driving under the influence (DUI), driving while intoxicated or impaired (DWI), or operating while intoxicated or impaired (OWI). While these offenses can be determined using a breathalyzer or blood sample, an officer can also use his or her own observation and judgement to determine an individual’s capacity to safely operate a vehicle. This may include asking a driver suspected of drunk driving to perform a sobriety test outside of the vehicle to test motor skills and the presence of slurred speech.

Unfortunately, drunk drivers often fail to understand that there are victims other than themselves that are affected by their actions. You may be eligible for compensation for the physical and emotional injuries you suffered.

Challenges of Suing the Government

Challenges of Suing the Government

Sep 03

It can be very difficult to determine who can be liable for damages following a car accident when the cause of the accident was poor road conditions. Because the person at-fault of the accident can be a government agency, there are certain considerations that should be looked into before filing a personal injury claim. According to the website of the Williams Kherkher, verifying the right agency plays a vital role in not only determining who is to be sued in the injury claim, but also to see whether the agency can be legally sued.

Generally, majority of government agencies fall under the “governmental immunity” or “sovereign immunity”, which means they can have immunity against lawsuits and they cannot be sued. However, most of these government agencies give exemptions and acknowledge any lawsuits that are filed against them through particular circumstances. It is important for the injured party (plaintiff) to prove that the negligence of the government agency in charge of the maintenance of the road was the main cause of the accident (or that they were very negligent in their action/inaction). Another exception is when a municipality has insurance that covers these types of lawsuits.

Although the precise circumstances for which a victim or a car accident can sue vary from state to state, the rules that are generally set by the state to each smaller agency within their jurisdiction usually do not differ. Statute of limitations is also something that should be minded, since this gives the plaintiff a limited amount of time to file case. If the plaintiff fails to file the case before the allotted deadline, the court has the right to dismiss the case. Before actually starting the lawsuit, the plaintiff has to inform the government agency of their intention to sue and explain the reason behind the lawsuit. If the plaintiff fails to do this before the designated statute of limitation, then the case will be dismissed by the court.

The Role of Natural Hazard Disclosure Reports

The Role of Natural Hazard Disclosure Reports

May 05

There are certain things in life that are worth the risk – such as a vacation or perhaps applying for that job you never thought you might be qualified for. But with certain permanent possibly life altering things (such as purchasing a house), it is often better to be safe than sorry.

A house can look absolutely perfect at first. It can even look like your dream house. But have you ever met someone who looked absolutely gorgeous only to find out later on that they’re about as dull as a brick or, perhaps, quite rotten on the inside? There is the definite possibility of there being demons that lurk in that seemingly perfect house and just as with any permanent commitment – you’ll want to see the fine print of what you’re signing on to before saying the proverbial “I do” with a house.

One of these necessary fine prints comes in the form of natural hazard disclosure reports or NHD reports. These are legally required documents from sellers in some states – though come from an external source (and if the source is affiliated with the seller, then the buyer needs to be made aware of this partnership – in case there might be a conflict of interest) and can often range in price from $50 to around $250, depending on the kind of coverage that you might wish to know about the home you wish to purchase. In retrospect, this amount of money for reliable documentation can save you hundreds of thousands of dollars in repairs or possible decontamination.

Some natural hazards that you must be made aware of are things like: is the house situated in a place that is frequently visited by fires or earthquakes or floods? If so, can the house structurally sound enough to withstand such profound damage? Not only that but there may also be secret toxins that lurk within the house that the buyer needs to know about. After all, there is every possibility that the walls have secrets that could very well endanger the lives of the occupants of those who are exposed to it without their knowledge.

Which price would you rather pay?

Efficiently Using Your Storage Space

Efficiently Using Your Storage Space

Mar 09

Storing your belongings in a self-storage facility has become a common practice in the United States, where storage facilities have boomed into a multi-billion dollar industry. If you have accumulated a lot of things and plan to put them into a storage unit, it is important to make sure you use the space to its utmost capacity. After you have chosen which one you will be renting, you need to make the most out of your money. Here are some tips on how you can you just that:

  1. Make sure you make and inventory of the items you are going to store, and to which box they are being put into. This will save you time when you are going to need those items again in the future, and to avoid going through the whole pile just to get some items. Also, it helps to label the boxes to make sure you know what is inside them. Label all sides so you don’t need to rotate them after they’re moved. Doing an inventory and labeling the boxes will be greatly help in dealing with your insurance agent.
  2. Make sure to maximize the storage space you rented. See if you can stack your items, and determine ways to save store space. To avoid items toppling over, make sure to put the heavier and sturdier at the bottom and stacking the lighter ones at the top. Make sure you pack the boxes tightly to avoid spilling them over, and check the stability of the stacked items to prevent them from falling over and being damaged.
  3. Give yourself some space to move around in case you need to get something in the storage unit. You might need to come back and get some items from time to time, and to make it easier to move about. Having an aisle makes items more accessible and can save you time when you are planning to get some item.

Visit the website to learn more about different types of storage spaces, services, and policies that can differ from company to company and even from state to state. Also, make sure that the storage unit is clean and at its best condition before putting your belongings inside to avoid damaging your items. Lastly, make sure you understand the policies of the storage company that you are going to do business with, otherwise you might end up losing your stored items due to missed or late payments.

Dangers Facing Passengers in Each Port of Call

Dangers Facing Passengers in Each Port of Call

Sep 13

More than 20 million travelers (from around the world) get to enjoy the most relaxing and exciting experiences on board cruise ships every year. One cannot deny the fact that cruise ships are definitely floating cities that provide truly incredible features and amenities that can best some of the famous destinations around the world.

Since the 1980s the cruising industry has raised the standard in the cruising business, building bigger cruise ships (with passenger capacities ranging from 3000+ to 6000+) and equipping ships with everything that should make every voyage safe and perfectly enjoyable. Thus, besides the adequately equipped clinics for safety and emergency concerns, for the “fun” side of the travel, there are pool and ping pong tables, mine golf courses, basketball courts, gyms, spas, beauty salons, bars, night clubs, casinos, indoor and outdoor pools, rock-climbing walls, bumper cars, skating rinks, zip lines, jogging tracks, waterslides, a planetarium, aqua parks, cinemas, and (seriously) an endless list of others.

Not limiting the excitement onboard, cruise lines have also started introducing shore excursion (in almost every port of call), wherein passengers can enjoy: inland dining; shopping; cultural, archeological, city/ sightseeing, and wildlife and wilderness tours; parasailing; jet skiing; scuba diving; snorkeling; horseback riding; rainforest hiking; and many, many others.

But while the supply of exciting activities continues and with the very big increase in the number of travelers, concerns about the real safety of passengers still remain to be a major concern, especially for the Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA).

This safety issue also (and most especially) includes passenger safety during shore excursions and other on shore activities, which have, likewise, become sources of injuries to many passengers. Upon arrival at a particular port of call, the possible dangers that face passengers (and crew) are dock accidents, tender accidents, motor vehicle accidents, defective/malfunctioning equipment, and, inadequate security.

Due to complexity of the maritime law, it is necessary that injured passengers understand their legal options and be represented by lawyers highly competent and knowledgeable in the laws governing sea travel. The Vucci Law Group’s website, at http://www.thevuccilawgroup.com/practice-areas/cruise-ship-excursions/, will be able to provide victims with the information they need to get their case going.