Written by the attorneys of Guest & Gray
I’ve done thousands of consultations with potential clients facing criminal charges. I often find that the more serious the allegation, the less inclined a client is to tell me if they are culpable, which is a fancy way of saying guilty, which is another of saying they did it. I’m not saying they are lying, but the version of events defendants remember is usually the best possible version and generally way different than the case the police think they have. Don’t get me wrong, some defendants are lying to me, and it’s never a good idea to lie to your lawyer. Let’s break down why.
Why don’t defendants want to tell the truth?
I think the first issue is embarrassment or shame. We are always the hero in our own story. We can have a hard time admitting we have done something wrong or hurt another person. Another reason can be a fear that if a defendant tells me they are guilty, I won’t fight as hard for them. A good defense lawyer will work hard no matter what the facts of the case are. A client who is afraid of going to prison might think convincing me they are innocent will make me work harder. But it will make me work harder on things that won’t help their case. Let’s talk about that.
What happens if you lie to your defense lawyer?
This is the real issue- why you shouldn’t lie to your lawyer. Here’s an example, I’ve had clients give me a phony alibi before, and I’ve spent months investigating a fiction when I could have been working on the case. If the State’s lawyer knows more than I do, I’m in trouble, and if the version of events I’m litigating isn’t the real version of events, then you’re in trouble. It’s not that I need rock-solid evidence of every possible mitigating factor in a case. We deal in reasonable doubts, after all. What I need is not to waste time on complete dead ends. I’ve had this play out to the very end in cases. Clients refused to tell me the truth or, worse yet, kept lying to me about what happened. Some clients even demand to take polygraphs to keep the ruse going, only to tell me later they “did it”. The amount of time and money wasted could have been put to better use in areas like mitigation.
The way I will evaluate your options and litigate your defense strategy depends on having an accurate version of what happened or what you experienced. Without that, I will do a worse job as your lawyer, and I might give you bad advice on how to proceed. That is always the thing to be avoided. Every case has a budget of time and resources. The more I waste on bad ideas, the less I have for good ones.
As criminal defense attorneys can explain, a good portion of initial consultations is spent dispelling many of the myths and misunderstandings that people have about the Criminal Justice system. Television and movies especially have contributed to widespread misconceptions about what is “supposed to” happen during arrest, trial and on appeal.
One of the most common misconceptions revolves around one’s 5th Amendment right to remain silent and the Miranda warnings. We all know what the warnings are:
You have the right to remain silent. Anything you say can and will be used against you in a court of law. You have the right to an attorney. If you cannot afford an attorney one will be provided for you.
The lawyers at the Law Office of Lana Manitta, PLLC, cannot count how many times clients have come in excited to say that their case will be dismissed because “they didn’t read me my rights.” Despite the portrayal of Miranda warnings in movies and television—where we always see the “perp” being read his rights as police slap the cuffs on and guide his head into the backseat of the squad car—officers are not required to read you your rights at all, let alone while they are arresting you. In fact, the warnings have nothing to do with the arrest itself.
Miranda warnings are only required prior to a custodial interrogation. It is important to remember that the 5th Amendment does not give us blanket protection from any self-incrimination. It only protects us against being compelled to incriminate ourselves. So, if you are in custody but are not being questioned, or you are being questioned but are not in custody, you are not entitled to the warnings. In other words, if you start spouting off in the back of the cruiser about how sorry you are, but you did so without being prompted by the officers’ questioning, there is no “interrogation” and the statements can be used against you. Likewise, if you voluntarily meet with officers to be interviewed—even at the police station—you are not “in custody,” so Miranda does not apply.
An experienced criminal defense attorney can assess whether statements were given voluntarily, whether Miranda applies to a particular case and whether to seek suppression of any self-incriminating statements. It is best, though, to know your rights and exercise them regardless of whether your rights are read to you or not.
Workers’ compensation is something that protects most workers in the United States. If you were injured while performing your work duties, you might have coverage, as a workers compensation lawyer, like from The Law Offices of Mark T. Hurt, can explain to you. You might also have a lot of questions. The following are some questions and answers about workers’ compensation.
Is There a Deadline?
Just like any other type of insurance claim, there is a deadline for workers’ compensation. First, you have the responsibility of reporting the accident to your employer. Depending on the state in which you work and live, you might have five days to make the report, or you might have 30 days. Some states just ask that you do it “as soon as possible.”
After you have made the report, your employer has a certain amount of time to file the workers’ compensation claim. Again, this varies by state, so be sure your employer understands that. For example, in Alabama there is a two year statute of limitations, whereas in Idaho there is no time limit, and in Hawaii there is a five year limit.
What Damages Can Be Recovered?
In a workers’ compensation case, your medical expenses are covered by the insurance starting day one. This means if your injury resulted in a ride to the ER in an ambulance, the ER and the ambulance are paid for. Other damages include lost wages, ongoing care, illnesses and other similar medical expenses. You do not receive compensation for pain and suffering, though you could sue another party if that’s something you’re interested in.
Who Pays for Workers’ Compensation?
As an employee, you do not have to pay any workers’ compensation premiums. Each state requires workers’ compensation, and it’s the responsibility of the employer to purchase the policy and offer it to employees. Unlike health insurance and life insurance, nothing comes out of your paycheck.
When Do You Receive Payment?
Depending on the state in which you live and work, and depending on the workers’ compensation policy, you might receive frequent payments, or they might be spread out. Some injured employees are given benefits once per week, while others are paid one per month. You should speak with the workers’ compensation board in your state to understand how it will work for you so you can make the funds last the entire month.
Contact a Lawyer To Learn More
Chances are you have a lot of additional questions. Contact a workers’ compensation lawyer today to learn more.
If you cannot work because of a medical condition or illness, you may decide to pursue social security disability benefits.
The Social Security Administration oversees federal disability programs. These programs provide monthly financial assistance to those who cannot work because of a disability or illness. The system has been set up so that anyone can apply. However, it may be a good idea to enlist the help of a disability lawyer.
You Will Need Documentation
Before you proceed with the application process, it is important to gather all the necessary documentation. This is key to proving your disability and inability to work because of it. Without supporting evidence, your application is essentially useless. Examples of documents include your medical records, such as exam notes, doctor’s notes, details regarding any restrictions or limitations, test records and results, treatment plans, medication, and so forth. You might also want to keep a journal that talks about how your life has been impacted because of your medical condition. As stated, documentation is critical to success. A disability lawyer can help you to understand what is needed, and how to present it.
In some cases, getting this information can be easier said than done. Doctor’s might be busy, information may be lost, or you might be missing certain elements to prove your case. A disability lawyer can help to obtain anything you need, and can request the records on your behalf. Usually, this step goes much smoother with a lawyer at your side.
Getting Legal Assistance
Enlisting the help of a disability lawyer can make a big difference in the outcome of your case. By hiring a lawyer, you can feel peace of mind in knowing he or she can:
- Help to gather all important documents
- Accurately complete your application
- Monitor the application process
- Talk to you about the rules and regulations
- File an appeal if you are initially denied
- Prepare a sound argument to be heard at an appeal’s hearing
It is possible that your claim will be denied. Once this happens, you should not delay in asking a disability lawyer to help you. A lawyer will know what to do, and can begin the appeal’s process right away. If your case is heard before a judge, a lawyer can be there to be your voice and advocate. While many claims will be approved during this process, some will be denied again. If your claim has been denied twice, the waiting period may be 12 to 18 months for another hearing to be granted. Because of the significant delays, it is important to think about everything in the very beginning. In doing so, you might first choose to hire a lawyer who can assist you with your initial application. This could save you time, money, and stress.
Having legal representation to recover social security disability benefits can make a difference. The majority of people with an advocate on their side will increase their chances of success. Whether you have applied and been denied, or you are applying for your first time, there is no risk in talking with a disability lawyer, like from The Law Offices of Mark T. Hurt. Call a law firm today.
Volunteers do a lot for the world. Out of the goodness of their hearts, they make a decision to go out and make their communities a better place. It’s unfortunate, but even a volunteer can get hurt. When this happens, are they entitled to workers’ compensation? Not in most situations, but there are some exceptions you should be aware of.
Government Rostered Volunteers
There’s a chance if you’re volunteering for a certain government entity, you could have compensation if you are injured. As a rostered volunteer, your name has been placed on a roster of individuals volunteering for a program that is run by a township, county or municipality. The authorities over the unit sponsoring the volunteer program have approved your name to be on the roster, and doing so means you could have workers’ compensation coverage. This isn’t the case for every government service project, so be sure you know who you’re dealing with and what is offered before making your case.
Volunteering During Employment
There are some situations in which you could receive workers’ compensation as a volunteer if you were volunteering as a part of your employment. For example, you may work construction, and your boss has required you and your coworkers put a roof on a local church. It’s a charity given by your company as a whole, but you are doing it as part of your employment. There’s a chance you could claim workers’ compensation if you are injured while up on the roof.
Most interns aren’t paid, and many are considered volunteers, but that’s not always the situation. If you’re injured as an intern or practicum student, you could have coverage under workers’ compensation. One situation in which it may be difficult to gain compensation and prove you’re not a volunteer is if you’re interning for a nonprofit organization. There are still some ways around it, but your lawyer will have to help you find the loopholes.
What You Can Do Instead
If you don’t fall under one of the categories of exception, there’s still a chance you could receive compensation for injuries sustained while volunteering. Most businesses have liability insurance or another similar type of coverage. This might be somewhere you can seek compensation. You could also sue a third party, someone you’re volunteering with or the organization itself.
Contacting Your Lawyer
Volunteers are essential to the world, but they can get hurt while volunteering. If this happened to you, contact a workers’ compensation lawyer, like from The Law Office of Mark T. Hurt, to find out if you have options from which to gain compensation.
Driving while intoxicated (DWI) or driving under the influence (DUI) are serious criminal charges. Although every state has its own guidelines that dictate the consequences, there are some similarities. If you plead guilty to DWI or DUI, you may want to consider the punishment and how it will affect your life.
In most states, a first-time DUI or DWI is a misdemeanor. You could go to jail for 6 months or more, depending on the circumstances of your case. For example, if someone was injured or killed while you were driving under the influence, you could be charged with a felony and face more jail time. Many times, whether or not you face jail is at the discretion of the judge. In addition to jail, you may have to pay fines and court costs. These can range from $500 up to $2,000.
In addition to criminal penalties, you may lose your driver’s license in a DUI or DWI. With first-time DWIs, your license could be suspended for 90 days to 6 months, but again, it depends on the laws in your state. If you are under 21, you could lose your license for much longer. Refusing chemical testing could add a license suspension, regardless of a criminal conviction. To get your license back, you’ll probably be required to pay more fees. You may also be required to install a breath interlock device in your car.
Consequences Outside of the Law
A DWI or DUI can also have far-reaching consequences that aren’t always associated with the law. You will probably see an increase in your car insurance rates, that is if you are able to find insurance. If you were in an accident because of DWI, your insurance may not cover your damages. This could mean you will have to pay the other driver’s expenses after the accident. Medical bills and auto repair costs can add up quickly. The other driver could sue you for lost wages, pain and suffering and more.
In some states, a DUI or DWI can prevent you from getting professional licenses. You may not be allowed to drive for your business. You can almost certainly be expected to lose a CDL. A DUI/DWI stays on your record for a long time. You can’t move to get away from it. A DUI can also prevent you from getting into college or receiving financial aid.Talk to a Civic Center San Francisco DUI lawyer, like from Hallinan Law Firm, about your situation. Protect your rights and your future.
What a change one day can make. When does new legislation take effect in your state and how do you find out about it? In Virginia, for example, that day is July 1. On that day every year, the newly passed laws (individually called “statutes”) typically come into effect. Changes in the law can alter the life of the common citizen significantly, overnight. And, for defendants facing criminal prosecution, the changes can be tremendous. It is the obligation of the citizen, ultimately, to know what is legal and illegal. But until a new law is actually published, even lawyers can find it exceedingly difficult to follow the legislative process and to know what changes are underway.
New legislation generally affects the criminal sphere in three different ways. The first is the most fundamental: a new statute can make an act that was previously lawful, illegal. Or, it may remove or alter an existing law thereby making an act which previously was illegal, now legal. A failure to act, called an omission, may also be the subject of a criminal law. So, for example, a new statute could make it unlawful for private motor carriers (Uber or Lyft drivers) to operate without a commercial driver’s license. Or, a new law may rescind an existing statute that had made it illegal to gamble with real money on the internet.
Sometimes, when it comes to prosecuting people, changes in the law have an impact on the prosecution and sometimes they do not. When evaluating whether a person’s actions in the past were legal or illegal, the question is what was the law when the person committed the act. Most states have statutes of limitation which define for how long a person is subject to criminal prosecution, exposing those accused of violent sexual assault or murder to prosecution years or decades after the crime. So when the police solve a cold case from 1979 and charge rape and murder, the defendant will be prosecuted for those crimes as they were defined in 1979. The difference could be very significant. For example, rape in 1979 may have required evidence that the woman physically resisted or almost certainly would not have ever applied to the spouse of the defendant.
A second way in which changes in criminal law can affect prosecution is procedural. Here, the focus is not on what a person was prosecuted for doing, but how they are prosecuted for having done it. The general rule in this category is that judges and lawyers will follow the most current and all new rules regarding the way the trial happens. This applies to things like the admission of evidence, the discovery and exchange of information between the parties and the general rules of trial itself. These sorts of changes are just as important as changes in the definitions of what is criminal. For example, Virginia just enacted a law that prohibits the prosecutor from using evidence gathered during a medical response to an overdose. Thus, in a recent case I had, there was no doubt my client had violated the criminal law by possessing narcotics when he overdosed, but changes in the procedural law that took effect before my client was brought to trial prevented the prosecutor from being able to move forward with the case.
Finally, as the Law Office of Paul C. Galanides, P.C., can explain, new legislation that is not purely of a criminal nature can have an indirect but still significant impact on criminal law. Such situations are somewhat rare and defy categorization, but still happen when legislative bodies sometimes will take a circuitous route to attain their goals or sometimes unknowingly fall prey to the law of unintended consequences. For example, a new law may make it illegal for the state to obtain the chemicals necessary for lethal injection, making it impossible for the state to carry out executions of death sentences.
When making the decision to hire the right attorney, be sure to spend the time to read their biography and confirm if the law firm provides a frequent update of case results on their website.
When you think about work-related injuries, you probably think about a single event. You may think about a person who slipped and fell while at work or an equipment malfunction that led to the injury. Of course, you can file a workers’ compensation claim for these injuries too, but what about injuries that occur over time. Not all injuries manifest at once. Sometimes, you may develop a condition due to repetitive movement over time.
This is where repetitive stress injuries or RSIs come in. Is it possible to develop an RSI like carpal tunnel and still file a workers’ compensation claim? The answer is that yes, you can still file for workers’ compensation but you have to prove that the RSI was work-related and developed at your current job.
What Are RSIs?
Carpal tunnel and other repetitive stress injuries can happen to anyone. The majority of workers who suffer from RSIs are those who work with computers or touchscreens regularly. The types of occupations that may suffer from carpal tunnel include nurses, grocery store clerks, delivery workers, firefighters, athletes, secretaries and more. If you have a job that requires repetitive movement, then you could be at risk for an RSI.
Repetitive stress injuries are also over-use injuries. These are cumulative traumas that occur over time. Some of the most common repetitive stress injuries include carpal tunnel syndrome, tendonitis, bursitis, back pain and more.
How can You Prove RSIs are Work-Related?
This is the hardest part of a workers’ compensation case. You have to prove that your injuries were caused by your occupation. You must go to the doctor as soon as you first present symptoms of an RSI. This way that you can document the medical journey. If you try to deal with it on your own, then it may be more difficult to receive workers’ compensation benefits. You need to tell the doctor when you first experienced the symptoms and what you were doing. In many cases, the doctor may prescribe certain work-restrictions to treat conditions like carpal tunnel. Keep documentation of all prescriptions and recommendations.
Many workers’ compensation insurers will try to fight you on your claims. It is important that you have documentation and do not be afraid to file a claim. Most people need assistance when it comes to filing a claim. Consult with a workers’ compensation lawyer, like a workers compensation lawyer from The Law Offices of Mark T. Hurt, for a better chance of receiving your benefits.
Alimony, also known as spousal support, is a payment made after a divorce to provide financial support to a spouse who may have earned less in the marriage due to taking care of children. Spousal support is not the same as child support. Child support can be modifiable for many different reasons. Often, the divorce negotiations can include spousal support and the terms for modifications. Child support is not limited by your own negotiations. Here’s what to know about modifications for spousal support.
What Does Your Divorce Decree State?
Before modifying alimony, you should check what the limits are in your divorce. In some cases, both spouses have to agree to a modification or there are certain times when a modification could be made. You should also check your state laws. If you and your ex-spouse agree to a modification, that’s great. You should still file the agreement with the court to make sure that is enforceable.
Common Reasons Alimony Modifications Are Made
Beyond an agreement between former spouses to modify alimony, there are other reasons the court might approve higher or lower spousal support payments.
- Cost of Living Adjustment: In most cases, a COLA clause must be included in your original settlement for this modification to occur.
- Escalator Clause: An escalator clause gives the recipient of spousal support an automatic raise when the payor gets an increase in earnings. This, too, should be negotiated as part of the original settlement, as it is very difficult to approve following a divorce.
- Change of Circumstance: A change of circumstance may apply to changes in state law or in the particular circumstances of the payee or payor. If the payor loses a job or takes a significant reduction in pay, the court may modify support. If the payee has a change in circumstance, such as a substantial change in income after graduating from a college program and taking a new job, the court may modify support downward. A financial emergency or change in disability status may also indicate the need for modification.
Spousal Support Modifications Are Subject to Local Laws
Some states don’t allow any modifications of spousal support upward, only downward. Once your divorce is final, your spousal support order may not be changed by the court. It depends on your state laws. Talk to a divorce lawyer, like a divorce lawyer from the Law Office of Daniel J Wright, about spousal support and what you can do to modify it in your jurisdiction.
Criminal Defense Attorney
Dealing with a marital split is something that you never dreamed would happen, yet it is precisely what you find yourself doing. When a relationship ends, even when both parties agree it’s over, it doesn’t make it better.
A divorce is a legal process dictated by the laws of the state in which you live. Since states set their requirements, you may find that friends who have divorced in other jurisdictions had a much different experience than the one you have. Understanding local laws can help prepare you for what is to come in one of the most divisive and challenging things a person can go through. Here are some of the things you may face in your divorce.
When divorcing, you and your ex may reach resolution and agreement on some issues, but others may find you deadlocked. In these circumstances, the court will step in and review the record to make choices. Dividing property is something that the court often has to deal with. Financial issues are something that couples may find themselves unable to agree on. Aside from child custody, money and debt can cause the most pressure, stress, and fights during a divorce. The court may be forced to step in and divide what the couple cannot.
Depending on where you live and the type of divorce you have, the court can require you through court-ordered counseling. In many cases, this has to do with children. When kids are involved in a divorce, the court wants to ensure that it has the children’s best interests over all others. Thus, the parties may need to attend a session with a psychologist. The purpose of such a session is to decide if there is any reason why one parent should have more or less custody than the other. After the initial session, the judge may send one or both parents back for more, or they may be satisfied with one.
Mediation or Arbitration
The judge may allow you and your spouse the opportunity to maintain control over your future and attend mediation or arbitration for your case. This allows you and your lawyers to talk things out with the assistance and in the presence of a third-party. This person is there to help you reach compromises that can significantly benefit your future. If either of these processes fails, the next step is court.
The divorce lawyer, like a divorce lawyer in Frisco, TX, you choose to help you through your divorce is integral to its success. Finding one close to your town may prove more beneficial than you realize.
Thanks to Scroggins Law Group for their insight into the court’s role in divorce proceedings.