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 Insure on the Spot, 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 Seegmiller Law Firm, 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.

Running with Your Dog

Running with Your Dog

Dec 12

An energetic dog can be a great motivation to have when you want to go running. Running with your dog not only keeps you in proper shape, but your dog can also get the health benefits. However, since dogs can’t complain, quit, and can’t really communicate with you properly you may have to know more about your dog before taking them to run.

First, it should be important to talk with your veterinarian before going off to run. Nagging health issues such as those from the heart, lungs, and joints could be dangerous to your dog, therefore taking them to the vet and having him certified as healthy and fit for running is vital. Also, it helps to know the age of your dog: too young could alter the dog’s bone development, while too old (or too big) can cause fractures and other health complications.

Knowing your dog’s breed can affect your running exercise as well. There are certain dog breeds that can go for long-distance running, while smaller breeds can’t. Also, make sure that you don’t shock your dog with a sudden long-distance run. Dog’s paws are quite sensitive and could become irritated if the animal is made to run long distances without having its paws toughened up for the job. Likewise, be aware of the type of roads you are running on: since dogs don’t wear shoes like you do, their paws can become injured while running. Make sure to check the condition of your dog’s paws before and after running, and clean them to make sure they are free from salt or dirt (particularly in between toes).

When running with your dog, make sure to check your dog’s condition: heavy panting, foaming at the mouth, and slowing down could mean your pet is tired and needs a rest. Make sure you and your pet get enough breaks during a run. Most importantly, bring enough water for two to keep you and your dog well hydrated. Stop your dog from drinking from puddles as these may contain toxins and contaminants that could lead to a sick dog.

Even during running, it is still recommended to have your dog on a leash. This is to keep you and your dog under control (he can run next to you) and stop your pet from running off when he sees something of his interest. Choose a 3-6 foot leash rather than a retractable one to avoid giving your pet too much distance from you or from being tangled with him.

What Motivates Terrorists

What Motivates Terrorists

Dec 04

Terrorism, which continues to serve as a global threat, is defined as a special type of calculated violence for the purpose of spreading fear or avenging a terrible wrong or injustice, be it just imagined or real. Terrorist operatives would claim, though, that their activities are intended to uphold their ideology, religious and political beliefs.

This last claim, however, was all but consistent with the results of a study (conducted between 1991 and 1993) that involved 516 Guantánamo detainees and five Al Qaeda leaders. There was no one answer, even among the five leaders, which included Osama bin Laden himself as to the purpose of their movements. And those who made reference to religious ideology were discovered to be ignorant of Islamic teachings. Only one thing was clear amidst the differences – being a part of the group was what mattered: a clear indication of recognition over purpose.

It is was also obvious that many terrorist recruits just wanted to satisfy their other needs, which included physical, social and, like some assassins, financial.

Unseen Harm: Emotional and Verbal Abuse in Divorce

Unseen Harm: Emotional and Verbal Abuse in Divorce

Nov 05

There is a popular saying which goes “sticks and stones may break my bones, but words can never hurt me.” In some circumstances this can be a great morale booster, but when hurtful or demeaning words and actions are coming from a close family member, this maxim no longer holds true.

How many sit-coms are based on dysfunctional families where the wife nags the husband, the husband wisecracks about the wife, parents scream at their children, children bad-mouth their parents or each other, and so on? People find it funny, but these are all examples of verbal and emotional abuse which in real life can do immeasurable but unseen harm when brought to extremes.

An article on the BB Law Group PLLC website, a law firm based in Woodlands, states that domestic violence in the form of emotional and physical abuse is common in the US, and significantly traumatizes its victims. Physical harm is easy to identify and prove, but bruises and broken bones heal. Emotional and psychological harm, on the other hand, don’t always, and can affect the outlook and personality of people especially when the victims are young children. Systematic and incessant emotional and verbal abuse can turn a person into a mass of twitches and tics, foster antisocial behavior, and cultivate an environment of fear and distress.

Under Texas law, emotional and verbal abuse is grounds for a fault-based divorce, which can have consequences for child custody and visitation, child support and spousal maintenance. However, since there are no visible signs, it is tricky to prove emotional and verbal abuse in court. If you want to file for divorce where your abusive spouse will be barred from contact with you or your children, ask a divorce lawyer in your area about your legal options and how to prove emotional and verbal abuse against your spouse. An experienced lawyer would know what kind of proof will be acceptable in divorce court as a basis for an order of protection.