February 2018

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What are my visitation rights after a criminal conviction?


If a parent is convicted of a crime, they are usually concerned about how it will affect their custody agreements and visitation rights. There is no perfectly correct way to predict how this will change your parenting schedule as no situation is exactly like another. In some cases, a court may make changes to custody orders due to a criminal conviction.

How is the child affected?

Courts prefer to keep a consistent schedule when dealing with family law and don’t typically make changes to a child’s routine unnecessarily. The specific criminal conviction is considered when deciding whether to change a custody order. Most importantly, they want to determine if the behavior that led to the crime could influence their presence with their child and if it will have negative effects on the child. In order to decide, the court looks for unquestionable evidence that it is best to change the order.

  • Types of convictions regarding domestic violence, assault or substance abuse problems are all behavioral issues that could influence your custody agreement.
  • A conviction as a result of illegal sexual behavior is also a likely ignition for change.
  • Something like a bounced check might not have as much weight in custody decisions.

Conditions on Parent Time

A court can place any condition on parental visitation if it will benefit the child. Conditions based on the nature of the conviction that affect parenting time can also be added to changes on custody agreements. For example, a conviction related to Driving Under the Influence (DUI) might result in a court order requiring a third party to transport the children. Possession of drugs in your home may limit your parenting to public space or supervision only. Sometimes drug tests could be required to maintaining parenting time.

Parental Involvement

Unless it is detrimental to the child’s well-being, the court is going to encourage both parents to have a relationship with the child. If it is possible, the court wants both parents to have parenting time available. The court will even arrange for supervised visitation if necessary for a parent. Professional organizations and third party individuals can be allowed by the court to facilitate supervision for visitation. However, a court can also change a custody order or visitation of a non-parent who is involved with the children. If this non-parent has received a criminal conviction and the court believes they are a bad influence, the court can prevent a child from living or visiting with this non-parent.

A Skilled Attorney Can Help

A parent facing a criminal charge or has received a conviction should look to hire a skilled attorney, like a family lawyer Tampa FL trusts. An attorney can help you decide what is best for your family and maintain your family relationship. If your case goes to court, an attorney can help you present well and hopefully maintain your custody agreement, or alter it favorably.  

Thanks to our friends and contributors from The Mckinney Law Group for their insight into family law.


A Distant Father is Sentenced to Prison for Not Paying Child Support


Child support payments are meant to cover costs that accrue when raising a child, as a family lawyer Rockville MD trust can explain.  Typically, a child would have two parents who would provide support for his or her growth and development.  However, this often is not the case when the parents decide to separate, and leave the child in the custody of only one of the two parents.

Whether it is through a mutual agreement between parents or a court order, the importance of paying child support is immense, ultimately because it supports the child’s well-being.  Furthermore, to emphasize this, child support laws are always enforced strictly by laws across all fifty states. Many state laws have provided reasonable options for parents who are late with a payment.  For example, in Texas, there is a hotline for these parents to call in case they fall behind on their child support payments. The parents who use this hotline are not subject to an arrest warrant because, after all, the main purpose is not to arrest the parent; rather, it is to provide financial support for the child.

However, for non-custodial parents who continue to fail to fulfill their responsibility of providing child support, the consequences can add up, just as they did for Joseph Sahagun.  Stephen B. Rye, District Attorney for Lyon County of Nevada, declared a prison sentence for Mr. Sahagun, who failed to pay child support.  The Third Judicial District Court ruled in favor of the State and sentenced the 40-year-old man from Yerington to 12 to 32 months in Nevada’s State Department of Corrections of Failure to Pay Child Support.

The District Attorney stated that Sahagun had owed “more than $20,000 in child support, and chose to ignore his support obligation to his children.”  Stephen Rye further commented that Mr. Sahagun had been given multiple opportunities to submit his payments, and stated as well that making the payments was possible for Sahagun, and not a financial burden.

Rye ended his announcement with the following statement:

Parents have a legal obligation to support their children. It is rare that it gets to the point of prison, however, when parents, such as Sahagun, decide to defy court orders, ignore obligations, and engage in a conscious pattern to thwart the justice system and neglect the needs of their children, all during a time they have the ability to support their children, judges should put them in prison. Mr. Sahagun fits this description. He engaged in an intentional pattern of criminal conduct over the course of several years at the expense of his children. The sentence is more than justified. The Lyon County DA Child Support Division works diligently to collect child support, including criminal prosecution in cases such as this.”


Thanks to our friends and contributors from the Law Office of Daniel J. Wright for their insights into criminal defense.


Civil and Criminal Wrongful Death Cases


It is easy to become confused about the many differences between civil and criminal charges, especially when it comes to the death of a loved one. If the death was unnecessary and could have been prevented because it was caused at the negligence of another individual (whether or not it was intentional wrongdoing), the individual will most likely face manslaughter or murder charges. Laws vary by state, however each one gives a specific outlet for the family of a wrongful death victim to obtain justice for their unjustified loss against the guilty party. Let’s talk about how criminal and civil cases differ. In a criminal case, the proof must be beyond a reasonable doubt to be deemed as evidence. This means that the jury will all need to agree that the defendant is 100 percent guilty without any doubt, and this can be an extremely difficult decision for a group of people to come to. Proof in a civil case is by preponderance of the evidence, which means that the defendant more likely than not committed the heinous act. Because each type of case differs by degree of proof, the same wrongful death case could have a very different outcome if it was put through the criminal system versus the civil.

Also, in criminal cases, charges are brought onto the defendant by the state and will lead to probation, prison time, or hefty times if the defendant is found guilty. In civil cases, private citizens argue against the defendant. The private citizen who is seeking financial compensation for the wrongful death can only be a surviving family member or dependant of the victim. If the victim and their partner were not married at the time, the partner will most likely not be able to pursue a wrongful death claim. However, if they had a child together and brought in income together, this could change. Wrongful death compensation is meant to help with any funeral costs, any income that was to be provided by the deceased, and to compensate for pain and suffering that could have been prevented. These types of compensations are specifically designed to alleviate additional stress from the victim’s loved ones.

Contact an Attorney

However, arguing a civil or criminal wrongful death case is not an easy task, and you should definitely hire an attorney such as the Wrongful Death Lawyer Miami FL locals turn to to help you through the ropes and assist you in your lawsuit.


Thanks to authors at Needle Ellenberg P.A. for their insight into Wrongful Death.

Filing a Wrongful Death Claim When Someone is Murdered


The death of a loved one brings its’ fair share of heartache, but when that loved one has been murdered, it can be shocking. Family may be trying to sort out how to move forward and searching for closure after such a horrific tragedy. You may be looking for justice to be served, or to feel like the guilty has paid for the crime they committed. It may be possible to file a wrongful death claim against the person who committed the crime. It will be imperative to acquire a wrongful death attorney to help carry out the legal process. With their help, you may be able to receive compensation for the suffering you have endured and begin the healing process.

Criminal Trial vs. Wrongful Death

Wrongful death cases when someone is murdered greatly differ from a criminal/murder trial. Wrongful death is a civil suit that is brought forth by the surviving members of the family. Descendants will hire their own private attorney to represent them in the matter. In a civil suit, while you may sue for punitive damages, the person who committed the crime will not be at risk of going to prison if found guilty in the civil suit. When a person is withstanding a criminal trial, the state’s attorney presents the case to the court. In a criminal trial, the defendant will likely be imprisoned if found guilty.

Requirements for Filings a Civil Claim

In order for a family member to file a wrongful death claim, the family must be able to prove that the other person was intentionally negligent. In a situation where the loved one has been murdered, showing that someone intentionally killed the person is key. There are a few different things required to receive compensation due to their passing. Two requirements for a strong civil claim include:

  1. Proving that the person deliberately killed your loved one.
  2. Family must be able to show that they have suffered as a result of their loved one’s passing. An example of this may be medical expenses for mental health treatment or compensation for wages lost if the person who died was the breadwinner of the family.

If faced with the murder of someone you love, a wrongful death attorney is essential. It is not an easy process to go through but, with a personal injury lawyer Harrisonburg trusts on your side, you will be able to take the space needed to grieve while they handle the legalities. Filing for wrongful death can vary from state to state; an attorney can ensure that the appropriate documents are submitted to the courts correctly and in a timely manner.


Thanks to our friends and contributors from Martin Wren, P.C., for their insight into personal injury.


What is Sexual Misconduct?


Sexual misconduct is defined as any unwelcome sexual behavior that is committed by coercion, manipulation, or force. It can occur in the workplace, on the street, or within a household. Sexual misconduct is committed by various types of individuals, regardless of sex. It can also occur between individuals of the same or opposite sex. If an individual is convicted of sexual misconduct, they may face a long incarceration sentencing, lifelong supervised parole, steep court costs and fines, lose their job, and be required to register as a sex offender in their community. If you have been the victim of sexual misconduct, you may want to reach out to an experienced criminal offense lawyer.

Civil Lawsuits vs Criminal Prosecution

Civil lawsuits put the accused against the accuser in court. When the alleged victim files a lawsuit stating that they were the victim of sexual misconduct, they must state how they are emotionally distressed, why they are in need of lost wages and medical expenses, and explain any physical injuries sustained. However, criminal prosecution is the action made on behalf of the general public for the purpose of punishing the accused (for example, a couple who had sexual relations in public). The state brings the case forward in criminal prosecution and if a conviction is made, the accused may have to pay financial restitution. However, this amount will most likely be far less than the accuser would receive in a civil lawsuit settlement, so it is advised that you pursue a civil lawsuit in a direct misconduct case and not go through your state.

Standard of Proof

In a criminal case, the “standard of proof” (what it takes to convict the accused) is much higher. If no logical conclusion can be formed other than that the accused committed the crime, they are convicted. The state must prove that the accused is guilty without a doubt, or “beyond reasonable doubt” as the court states. They must also provide clear and convincing evidence and preponderance of evidence. In civil cases, however, the standard of proof is way lower. Evidence is usually more prominent in a civil lawsuit case, as it is more personal.

Contact an Attorney

You should reach out to a criminal offense lawyer if you are considering pursuing a lawsuit for sexual misconduct such as the sexual assault lawyer that locals turn to. They can help further assist you in court, in your claim, and make sure that you receive a fair compensation in the settlement.

What to Do After a Motorcycle Accident DUI


Being accused of drunk driving while enjoying a leisurely ride on a motorcycle can be a devastating turning point in many people’s lives. After an arrest, you may now be faced with fines, jail time, a suspension of your driver’s license and more. Not only that, but if you were involved in an accident with another car while riding your motorcycle, the other driver may file a lawsuit against you and claim you are at-fault for the wreck because you were drunk.


It may feel as if the entire world is crumbling down on top of you. Here we address the many concerns you may have in a question and answer format, in an effort to educate and get you prepared for what may come.


How will I know if the other driver decides to file a lawsuit against me?

If the other driver decides to file a lawsuit against you, they will most commonly start with submitting a petition to the court regarding the accident. You will then be notified typically within 30 days of this lawsuit against you, including a copy of the complaint. A process server or sheriff will most likely hand-deliver the documents to you, in which you must complete and return the accompanying paperwork within a designated amount of time. Do not be late in sending in the return documents, to prevent against further consequences.


How long does this person have to file a lawsuit?

The duration of time a party has to file a lawsuit to the court depends on the state you live in. Most often, the driver has up to five years after the date of the accident to submit. It can come has a huge surprise when after years later, you believe the accident was handled by your insurance company only to find out the other driver decided to file a lawsuit against you. At this time, it is recommended you seek the assistance of an attorney, like a criminal lawyer baltimore MD trusts, who can help you through the legal process.


Does my insurance company get notified of my lawsuit?

Your insurance company may not receive notice of the lawsuit in relation to the accident, so you should contact your insurance representative the same day you are served the summons. Your insurance company can play a part in the lawsuit, because if you are found at-fault then you and the agency may be financially responsible for damages and injuries related to the accident.


If I was convicted of a DUI on my motorcycle when the crash happened, what are my chances of walking away not at-fault?

It is likely the plaintiff will use your DUI charge as an argument for why you are at-fault for the accident. However, just because you were driving under the influence does not automatically mean you are at-fault. Depending on the circumstances of the accident, you riding under the influence may not be a deciding factor. Your attorney can help you create a strategic plan to help fight this lawsuit against you.  


Thanks to our friends and contributors from Greenberg Law Offices for their insight into criminal defense.