You Are Here: Home / Archives / Category / Uncategorized

PTSD Disability Claims May Be Difficult to Prove


PTSD Disability Claims May Be Difficult to Prove

Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is an anxiety disorder triggered by a traumatic event. According to the National Center of Mental Health, PTSD can occur when a person experiences a frightening incident where they are physically harmed or felt the threat of physical harm. It can also occur if the person witnesses a harmful incident where someone, even someone they don’t know, was seriously injured or killed.

Symptoms of PTSD include reliving the experience over and over in the form of flashbacks, frightening thoughts, or bad dreams. A PTSD sufferer may also develop “avoidance” symptoms, where they stay away from places or things that will remind them of the trauma. They may also have difficulty remembering details of the traumatic event and suffer from feelings of worry, guilt, and depression. Many people who suffer from PTSD also have trouble sleeping and are often very easily startled. They may also struggle with anger issues.

PTSD does not just affect those who have served in combat. The disorder can affect anyone who has suffered a traumatic event. Victims of childhood abuse, rape, violence, or even a traumatic natural disaster — like a fire or a hurricane — can develop PTSD. The diagnosis of PTSD is can be a difficult one. Symptoms that could totally disable one person may not have any impact on someone else.

It is because of that difficulty to diagnose PTSD, as with many other mental health illnesses, that it can be very difficult to get approval from Social Security for a disability claim. The initial claims are often rejected by the agency and the claimant is forced to file an appeal.

Some of the issues that PTSD victims struggle with include:

  • Alcohol abuse
  • Depression
  • Drug addiction
  • Eating disorders
  • Suicide

Victims with PTSD can also suffer from physical conditions, including chronic pain, heart disease, and rheumatoid arthritis.

Symptoms include:

  • Avoiding activities
  • Avoiding thinking or talking about the event
  • Being easily frightened or startled
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Difficulty or inability in maintaining close relationships
  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Feeling emotionally numb
  • Feeling hopeless
  • Flashbacks or reliving the traumatic event
  • Having trouble with memory
  • Irritability or anger
  • Overwhelming feelings of guilt or shame
  • Self-destructive behavior
  • Upsetting dreams about the traumatic event
  • Visual or auditory hallucinations

Call a Social Security Disability Attorney for Help
If you are suffering from PTSD or any other mental illness, you may qualify for Social Security disability benefits. Unfortunately, many applicants find the process of applying for benefits complex and frustrating, since many are denied upon their first application.

A qualified social security disability lawyer, like a social security disability lawyer in Wise, VA, can help you present your case to Social Security and, if they still ignore you, appeal to the appropriate court. Even if you have already been denied benefits, our firm may be able to help. Contact an attorney to speak with someone about your case today.

Thanks to The Law Offices of Mark T. Hurt for their insight into PTSD claims for social security benefits. 

Bribery Laws in Colorado: The Rundown


In any situation with high stakes, there’s the potential for bribery. Parents, for example, can end up in trouble over a concern anyone responsible for a child shares: getting their children in a top school. This is the subject of a recent high-profile college bribery admissions scandal that included celebrities Lori Loughlin and Felicity Huffman.

Bribery charges at any level are serious, so if you or someone you know has been accused of bribery, it makes sense to learn more about what you could be facing and speak to a criminal lawyer in Denver, CO as soon as possible.

The Elements of Bribery in Colorado

To be convicted of bribery, the prosecutor has to prove that you gave, received or solicited something that had value so you could influence an official to do something you wanted in the course of their public duties. According to the law, a bribery attempt that wasn’t successful is still a criminal offense; just the attempt alone is a crime.

The prosecutor also must establish that you had corrupt intentions. This means that your intention was to give or receive some sort of special benefit in return for something of value.

State Bribery Charges

In Colorado, there is a distinction made between the bribery of a public official and the bribery of another type of official, such as someone working for a commercial entity. Government official bribery is a Class 3 felony, carrying a sentence of four to 12 years in prison and a fine ranging from $3,000 to $750,000. Bribing a non-governmental official is a Class 6 felony, which can bring a prison sentence of 12 to 18 months and a fine of between $1,000 and $100,000.

If the offense allegation involves other fraud forms, you can be charged with fraud charges in addition to the ones for bribery. Sometimes, fraud may be the only charges brought because it can be easier to prosecute for fraud than bribery in some situations.

Federal Bribery Charges

In certain circumstances, such as when the bribery is committed by the mail or over the web—involving more than one state—or takes place across state lines, it may be prosecuted at the federal level. If the allegation involves a financial or governmental institution, the case may draw the attention of federal officials as well.

If you or someone you know are facing federal bribery charges, speak to a criminal lawyer in Denver, CO as soon as you can. Federal agencies have more investigating power, and federal bribery charges tend to carry harsher sentences than they do at the state level, such as 15 years in prison for each count of bribery and substantial fines.

In general, any bribery charge is serious, whether at the state or federal level. Large fines and jail time will have an impact on your personal, financial and work lives now and in the future. Don’t leave anything to chance if you are facing charges of bribery. Contact an experienced criminal defense attorney about your case as soon as possible so your rights are fully protected from the start.

Thank you to the experts at Richard Banta, P.C. for their input into insurance fraud. 

Tips on What to Do if the Other Parent Has Denied Visitation with Your Child


Tips on What to Do if the Other Parent Has Denied Visitation with Your Child

If the other parent is not permitting you to visit with your child, you may have legal options to regain visitation rights. Whether or not you have a child custody agreement in place, you may benefit from consulting a child custody lawyer. Below are some suggested steps that you may wish to consider taking if you are being denied visitation with your child.

  1. Keep detailed notes of the events. Any time you are denied visitation in violation of your child custody agreement, write down the date, time, and brief details of the circumstances of the denial. Do not exhibit anger toward the other parent as they can use this later against you in court. If the other parent is not in violation of a court-approved custody agreement, or if the denial is a one-time event, you are not likely to get the support of the judge. The notes you take can be presented to the Judge by yourself or your child custody lawyer to help your case.
  2. Talk to your former partner. As difficult as this may be, attempt to meet with them in a neutral location. Ask them why they are denying you visitation to your child, and how you can address their issues. If they are angry with you about something else, they may try to punish you by keeping you away from your children.
  3. Make a reasonable attempt to address their concerns, provided that their concerns are also reasonable. If their issue is that they do not feel your home is safe, may every effort to fix those issues. The more objective you can be, and consider the best interests of your children, may help you to come to an agreement with the other parent.
  4. Consider consulting a child custody lawyer to discuss your legal options.

 If you do not have a formal child custody agreement in place, a lawyer from our firm can help you formulate an agreement and represent you in court. If you do have a custody agreement and the other parent is violating their part of the agreement, your child custody lawyer can petition the court on your behalf. The agreement is legally binding and there are ramifications for violating a judge’s order. If there is a documented pattern of visitation denials, your lawyer can file what is known as a “motion of contempt” with the court. Depending on your circumstances, your lawyer might recommend filing a motion with the court that requests them to modify the child custody agreement, enforce it, or issue a sanction against the other parent to force them to comply.

 Calling the police usually has little effect in trying to gain access to your children when your visitation is denied. However, they can file a report after they respond to your call, which you can include in the documentation you present to the court. It’s important to remain calm, and remember that if you express anger or other strong emotions, that information will likely be included in the police report.

To discuss your case with a child custody lawyer, like a family lawyer in Collin County, TX, call the office today.

Thank you to the experts at Scroggins Law Group, PLLC for their insight into family law. 

Do You Have To Go To Court For a Traffic Ticket?


Do You Have To Go To Court For a Traffic Ticket?

If you’ve been pulled over for a speeding ticket or other traffic offense, the police officer probably told you that you need to appear in court. If your heart fell into your stomach, don’t panic right away. You do have options. Slow down. Get to where you need to be. Read the fine print on the ticket. Whatever you do, don’t ignore the ticket. Make a note about the dates on the ticket. Put it on your calendar. Make some notes about the circumstances. Was the speed limit sign hidden? What was the weather like? What were the driving conditions? If you decide to fight your ticket, you’ll want this information. If you can take pictures safely, you may want to take the time to do so.

You Can Just Pay the Ticket

If you look closely at the ticket, there’s generally an option to mail your fine to the court and just be done with it. However, by paying the ticket by mail, you are essentially pleading guilty. Even if there is a box for “nolo contendere,” you are saying that you are guilty and you just don’t want to contest the ticket. If you send in the ticket, it will go on your record. One speeding ticket may not seem like a bad thing. It might only be one or two points on your driving record. If you have more points already on your record, you may want to reconsider.

You Can Go to Court

Going to court can often give you a better outcome. If you go to court, you’ll be given a chance to argue your side of the story and ask questions of the officer. This is not the time to get personal. This is the time to nail down the specifics of your case. Find out how the officer knew you were speeding. Ask if the instrument had been recently calibrated. Your case may even be dismissed if the officer doesn’t appear in court.

You Might Have the Option to Go to a Driving Class

If you believe you’re guilty, but don’t want the points on your record, you may have an option to attend a driving class instead of taking the negative consequences. Depending on the county where you got the ticket, you may even be able to plead to a lesser charge. Sometimes, you need to ask for options to keep a ticket off your record.

Talk to a Carroll County, VA traffic lawyer who can help you explore your options and learn more about the consequences for your situation.

Thanks to The Law Offices of Mark T. Hurt for their insight into traffic law and going to court after getting a ticket.

Getting Charged with Assault


When a person is charged with assault, it is not uncommon for a battery charge to also be attached. Under state law, assault is a non-physical act of threatening someone so that they fear for their safety. Battery is the actual act of violence the perpetrator uses against the victim. A person can be charged with assault if they threaten a victim, whether blatantly or an implied threat, even if the physical harm never actually took place.

A criminal defense attorney, such as a criminal defense attorney in Rockville, MD, can help defend against assault and/or battery charges if you have been charged. The following is a brief overview of defending against these charges. For more detailed help, contact our firm today.

Intent of Assault
In order to prove assault, the prosecutor must prove that the accused intentionally behaved in such a way that the victim had a reasonable belief that they were at immediate risk of harm. There must be evidence of this intent, such as physical gestures and/or language. A criminal defense attorney can dispute that evidence by showing:

  • The accused’s behavior was misinterpreted by the victim.
  • The accused’s behavior was unintentional.
  • The victim’s belief that the accused acted in a threatening way was unreasonable. For example, some people have irrational fear towards people based on their appearance.
  • Any alleged threats should not have caused the victim to believe they were in immediate danger.

If an accused person actually committed the assault, a criminal defense attorney can still build a defense against those charges. For example, if the accused was acting in self-defense, that could be enough to get the assault charges dropped because stopping an imminent battery is an affirmative defense. The attorney would have to prove that:

  • The alleged victim was an immediate threat of violence to the accused or to another person.
  • The actions by the accused went only far enough as was necessary to stop that imminent danger. If the accused continued to assault the alleged victim once there was no longer danger, then the self-defense defense would likely be ignored by the court.

Contact a Criminal Defense Attorney
It is easier to defend against an assault charge than to defend against a battery charge because there is no physical harm involved. The police or prosecutor must prove that the accused had intent to harm the victim. If you have been accused or arrested for assault, you need an aggressive criminal defense attorney who clients trust. 

Thanks to the Law Office of Daniel J. Wright for their insight into fighting against assault or battery charges.

Dispelling Common Myths Related to Child Custody Disputes


Child Custody

When you became a parent, you likely received a great deal of unsolicited advice from loved ones, acquaintances and even strangers. When others discovered that you are navigating a child custody situation, they likely responded with the same well-intentioned, unsolicited behavior. When others chime in without being asked, it can be difficult to separate the truth from unintentionally crafted fiction. And it can therefore be difficult to know what to believe and what advice should be followed or ignored.

This reality is one of the reasons why it is generally important to consult with an experienced family law attorney early in your child custody dispute timeline. Lawyers experienced in family legal matters can easily separate fact from fiction as it applies to your family’s specific situation. If you are in need of legal assistance in regards to a child custody matter, please consider scheduling a consultation with our firm. We would be happy to answer any questions you may have and to clarify any questionable, well-meaning advice you may have received so far. Until our consultation, please consider keeping some of these myth busters in mind.

Myth #1: All Child Custody Disputes Are Contentious

Sometimes, parents have fundamental disagreements related to their child’s custody that can only be successfully decided by a judge. But most often, parents actually agree on most or all of their child’s custody agreement terms out of court. There are two primary methods that parents use in order to avoid a contentious “court battle” kind of dispute. The first is mediation and the second is attorney-assisted negotiation.

During a mediation process, each parent sits down with both their attorneys and a third-party mediator who is neutral. The mediator does not push any specific agenda or takes sides. He or she simply helps to facilitate a constructive process. Attorney-assisted negotiation allows parents to work either primarily with each other or primarily through their attorneys to settle the specific terms of their child’s custody agreement. These methods are often helpful for parents who want to avoid having the fate of their custody dispute placed in the hands of a judge.

Myth #2: A Parent’s Preference Is Paramount

When judges are called upon to settle a contentious dispute, they are bound by the “best interests of the child” standard. This standard requires family law courts to prioritize a child’s best interests over parental preferences that may conflict with those interests. For example, if a parent wants to have residential placement of a child every other week but that arrangement is seriously counterproductive to that child’s school schedule, a judge will likely overrule a parent’s preference in deference to his or her child’s best interests.

Answers to Questions About Child Custody

If you have questions about child custody matters, please do not hesitate to contact our firm. With the exception of the “best interests of the child” standard, there are few hard and fast rules that apply to child custody disputes. As a result, it is helpful to connect with an attorney so that you can be advised of your legal options according to your family’s unique circumstances. Asking questions never hurts, but failing to obtain necessary clarification from an experienced family law lawyer in Rockville, MD may affect you and your child for years to come. 

Thanks to the Law Office of Daniel J. Wright for their insight into family law and common myths about child custody battles.

Animal Abuse


Understanding Animal Abuse

Animal abuse is just as serious as child abuse. In both cases, the victim has no opportunity to speak up for themselves. 
A lot of people don’t take animal abuse seriously because they see humans as superior to animals. Nonetheless, abusing an animal is wrong and against the law. 

Animal abuse can also come in the form of neglect. Humans love to capture and keep animals as pets or companions. I have no issue with this as I have owned many pets in my past as well. However, humans rarely dedicate the time it takes to properly care for an animal. As mentioned before, most animals are like babies in the fact that they require constant attendance. They must always be fed, kept from harming themselves, and have their grooming maintained to prevent illness and disease. These things (amongst many others) are to be considered when shopping for that new Siberian husky on Craigslist. 

Unfortunately, just as some people aren’t ready to be parents, some people aren’t ready to be pet owners either. Pets are not human and can barely understand the simplest terms in our language. Therefore, it will require much patience in order to successfully train it to the perfect house pet. Patience, that some pet owners don’t have, unfortunately. Cases have come about where animals have been beaten, cut, castrated, placed in dangerous living conditions, etc. There was even a lot of backlash toward ex NFL superstar Michael Vick after he admitted to fighting dogs for-profit and feeding them dangerous material to make them more aggressive.

What would drive someone to be maliciously harmful to a helpless being is a logic that I may never understand. Good thing there are laws in place to protect them! While this is a very sad occurrence, it does happen. Should you or someone you know be facing criminal charges for animal abuse, there is a defense for you as well. It is best to speak with a skilled criminal defense attorney in the area the offense took place. Speak with a criminal defense attorney in Decatur, GA that understands animal laws in your area, and who is able to build a defense for you should you potentially be prosecuted for animal abuse.

Thanks to The Lynch Law Group for their insight into criminal law and animal abuse.

Child Neglect


Family Lawyer

Custody cases can be difficult enough going through them for the original custody order. But when there has been a substantial change in circumstances that indicated a change in custody is warranted, the battle can be even more contentious and stressful. If a parent suspects their child’s other parent is guilty of child neglect, they have the legal right to petition the court for a change in custody.

If you are going through a custody battle, contact a child custody attorney. They can discuss your situation and decide what your best legal options are. In the meantime, the following is a brief overview of how custody laws work.

Child Neglect

Neglect of a child can be just as harmful as the abuse of a child. Child neglect is the failure to provide proper food, clothing, shelter, and medical care. A parent can also be guilty of emotional neglect by ignoring or rejecting the child. Neglect can also be the failure to provide a clean home for the child or lack of supervision. There is also educational neglect, which is failing to make sure the child goes to school.

According to national statistics, child neglect is prevalent in this country, with more than half a million children suffering child neglect by a parent every year. It is thought that number is actually much higher since it is based only on the cases where an investigation or custody filing has taken place. There are tragically many more children who are victims of neglect and those cases never get reported.

Victims of child neglect are often left with long-term or permanent effects. Some of the more common frequent physical injuries or conditions include:

  • Arthritis
  • Back pain
  • Brain damage
  • Cancer
  • Chronic bronchitis
  • Chronic fatigue syndrome
  • Diabetes
  • Functional limitations
  • Heart attack
  • High blood pressure
  • Lung disease
  • Malnutrition
  • Obesity
  • Stroke

There are also emotional injuries that children who are neglected can suffer:

  • Alcohol abuse
  • Criminal activity
  • Drug abuse
  • Emotional and mental health disorders
  • Limited cognitive ability
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
  • Poverty
  • Social limitations
  • Unhealthy sexual activity

Signs of Child Neglect

If you suspect your child’s other parent is guilty of child neglect, there are certain signs to watch for and report to your child custody attorney. These include:

  • Your child complains about being hungry all the time. They may also get caught begging or stealing food or money for food
  • Your child has anxiety
  • Your child is abusing alcohol or drugs
  • Your child is depressed
  • Your child is frequently late or absent from school
  • Your child is having legal problems
  • Your child is having problems in school
  • Your child is not receiving dental or medical care
  • Your child is often unbathed or has bad body odor
  • Your child is withdrawn
  • Your child says the other parent is never at home
  • Your child’s grades are rapidly declining

Contact a Custody AttorneyToday

If you suspect your child is being neglected, contact a legal team immediately. Having a knowledgeable and experienced family lawyer in Rockville, MD can make all the difference in the legal results. A law firm will do all they can to make sure your child is protected and safe. Call an office today to set up a free and confidential consultation with a member of a legal team and find out how they can help you get the best possible outcome available.

Thanks to the Law Office of Daniel J. Wright for their insight into family law and child neglect.

Improper Turn


Criminal Lawyer

Traffic citations can be one of the most irritating offenses that require your time, money, and patience. Most of the time, the goal of every driver is the same, get to where you are going. The last thing you want to do while on your way, even to the grocery store, is being stopped by law enforcement for a tail light, speeding, or even more specific, an improper turn. To make matters worse, no one was hurt and you may have genuinely thought that turn was okay, there are just some laws you are not fully aware of.

We are almost all educated on how turning signals work, and when and why they should be used. If you are making a right, turn on your right indicator and the turn must be made as close as possible to the curb, as to avoid striking anyone or anything on your left. The same typically works for left hand turns but there are a few factors that make these laws slightly different. All turns shall be made as safely as possible, this is clear. If for any reason, your turn may have become less possible than possible, you may be faced with a traffic citation. To consider your turn as safe as possible you must be sure to not hit pedestrians on the street, as well as any parked or moving vehicle, this also includes avoiding construction work that may be getting done.

To make this slightly easier, there are marked lanes and traffic signals and signs to follow. These signs will tell you where a U-turn is not permitted. Or if right turns at red lights are not permitted as well. If there are no signs or traffic lights, the lanes will direct you and help guide drivers and show them where they are or are not permitted to pass lawfully. When you disregard these signs, lane markers, or lights and make an improper turn while also avoid pedestrians or other vehicles, you may be cited. With this traffic citation may come point on your license which makes it harder to receive decent insurance rates, and a court date that may force you to miss work or other planned engagements. If you have been cited for an improper lane change, there are options to avoid points or court but you should speak with a criminal defense attorney in Dekalb County, GA from The Lynch Law Group to see what they may be before making any decisions.

Is It Possible to Get My Charge Dropped From DUI to Wet Reckless?


Reckless Driving Lawyer

Many DUI cases can get resolved with a plea bargain, which means the defendant has agreed to plead as guilty (or “not contest”) to the criminal charge. The exchange often entails getting a lower sentence or some leniency from prosecution. For example, a person arrested for a DUI may accept a plea bargain in order to get a minimized jail sentence and less fines to pay. For others, the plea deal may entail stating guilt to have the charge dropped to a “wet reckless.”

While laws vary by state and every case of an arrest is different, there are common elements among most wet reckless plea bargains. Those who have been arrested for a DUI may want to consult with a reckless driving lawyer in Hillsville, VA in their area for more information about getting their conviction lessened to a “wet reckless” instead.

Reckless Driving Defined

In general, reckless driving is defined as driving to endanger another (person or property), and being willful in operating the vehicle in an unsafe manner. Reckless driving can include behavior like weaving through traffic, street racing, driving in excess of speed in pedestrian areas, and more. In the context of a DUI arrest, the person being under the influence may be enough to categorize as reckless driving. To take this point further, the driver may not have even been driving in a sporadic way; simply being intoxicated is viewed as dangerous enough that harm could be done to people or property. 

Chances of Being Offered Wet Reckless

Prosecutors may be open to offering a wet reckless, but only in specific cases with mitigating factors or lack of strong evidence. Mitigating factors can be things like the person has no prior criminal record, he or she had a low blood alcohol content (BAC) level, and/or it was the person’s first DUI. On the other hand, if there were aggravating factors then it can decrease the chances of being given a wet reckless plea deal. If the person driving had caused significant personal injury or property damage, it is unlikely he or she will be offered a wet reckless charge. 

Benefits of Wet Reckless

As stated briefly above, the prosecution may offer a plea deal if they are concerned that they have insufficient evidence to prove charges in court. Instead of risking losing the trial, the prosecution may give the defendant a chance to accept a plea deal. The benefits of a wet reckless charge are that carries much less harsh penalties than a DUI. Usually, a wet reckless conviction means the person will still face fines and maybe even jail time too, but it will be substantially less compared to a DUI. Also, many states permit a person charged with a wet reckless to apply for their license after being suspended for a short period of time. For those with a DUI, the license may be suspended for at least 6-12 months. A DUI typically adds more traffic violation points to the individual’s driving record too, which can result in increased insurance premiums for years to come. 

Thanks to The Law Offices of Mark T. Hurt for their insight into criminal defense and reckless driving.