What if I am convicted of a DUI?

If you are convicted of a DUI (Driving Under the Influence), it can really affect your life in many ways. A DUI (now known in Ohio as OVI – Operating a Vehicle while Intoxicated) is very serious and can have many consequences. Some of the immediate consequences of being convicted of a DUI are jail time, having your driver’s license suspended, points on your license, heavy fines and court costs, and even impounding of your vehicle.  But, it does not end there.

A DUI conviction will raise your insurance. Your insurance may double or even triple. In most states, your insurance will likely increase for three years and will need an SR-22 form. An SR-22 form is to certify to the state that you have the legally required insurance. When you get an SR-22 form, your insurance company will not categorize you as a high-risk driver. An SR-22 form requires your insurance company to notify the state if your insurance lapses or is cancelled.

In addition, a DUI conviction can show up on a background check. In most states, a DUI is both a traffic and criminal violation and cannot be expunged from your record. Therefore, your employer and future employers may be able to see that you have had a DUI.

Hiring a lawyer to fight for you in your defense is a must when charged with a DUI. A lawyer can increase your chances of winning the case or negotiating a plea deal. Many plea bargains allow you to plead guilty to a lesser offense such as Reckless Operation and have lesser penalties.  If you have been charged with DUI, it is best to consult with a good attorney.

Posted in Criminal, DUI, Legal Help, OVI, Traffic offenses, Uncategorized

What If A Police Officer Asks Me To Take A Lie Detector Test?

A lie detector, also known as a polygraph, is a machine that measures a person’s physiological responses when asked a question. The machine can measure your breathing, blood pressure, and perspiration. The accuracy of lie detector tests is highly debated. What if you are giving a truthful answer, but you are simply very nervous about being questioned?

If police are asking you to take a lie detector test it usually means they don’t have a great case against you, and they are trying to gather more evidence needed to charge and convict you. The police officer may use the information in its investigation. However, the results of the test may or may not be admissible in court, depending on various factors. Much depends on whether you are in state or federal court, and in which jurisdiction.

If a police officer asks you to take a lie detector test, you should immediately consult a lawyer. The police officer can use that information in his investigation and it could be used against you in a court of law.

Posted in Criminal, DUI, Legal Help, OVI, Traffic offenses, Uncategorized

Making the Decision to Adopt

Making the decision to adopt is one of the most important decisions a person can make in their life.  This decision is unlike many other decisions because it is permanent.  If you buy something and don’t like it, then you return it, or if you married and you are unhappy, you can get a divorce. There is no returning or divorcing a child, it is permanent.  There are many questions you should consider when deciding whether to adopt.

Are You Ready to Adopt?

If you are considering whether you are ready to adopt, there are several questions you should consider.  First, why do you want to adopt? Answering this question, can help you decide if adopting a child is right for you.  Second, what do you know about adoption? Be informed, read people’s stories, and ask questions – the more you know about adoption the better off you will be.  Third, will you be able to love this child like your own biological child? Some people struggle with this.  Know that it does not make you a bad person, some people just can’t.  Finally, do you know how much adopting a child can cost?  The price can vary, but consider how much your attorney will charge you, what the agency fees are, or if the birth family will have needs.

What Kind of Adoption Do You Want?

What kind of adoption do you want – open or closed?  Consider whether you would like the birth family to stay in contact with the child or if it would bother you.

Consider what kind of child you are willing to adopt?  You should consider if you are willing to adopt a child with special needs, or a child from a different race, or an older child.  All of these questions are important to consider when deciding to adopt. Consult with an adoption attorney to make the process more enjoyable and less stressful.

Posted in Adoption, Family law

Questions You Should Ask Before Hiring a Lawyer

At some point in time, almost every person will require the help of a lawyer. If you don’t have a friend in the legal profession, it can be overwhelming to choose from all of the available lawyers. Do your homework. Don’t just call the guy on some television commercial. Interview more than one attorney. Most attorneys will offer an initial consultation free of charge. Below are a few questions to ask yourself or the lawyer so you choose the right person for your situation.  

  1. What type of law do you specialize in?
  2. How long have you been practicing?
  3. Will you be the attorney handling my case?
  4. Will there be other people, such as paralegals, working on my case?
  5. How much do you charge?
  6. What other costs will be associated with the legal fee?
  7. Do you require a retainer?
  8. Do you have experience with my type of case?
  9. What different outcomes are possible for my case?
  10. Are there alternative solutions?
  11. What kind of lawyer do I want to handle my case?  Do I want someone to draft documents, or am I looking for a litigator?
Posted in Automobile Accident, Business Law, Criminal, Divorce, Estate Planning, Legal Help, Small Business, Uncategorized

What Not To Do In A Custody Battle

If you are in a custody battle, you clearly love your child, but that doesn’t mean you are going to get the custody you want. The Court will consider what is in the best interest of the child by looking at several factors. To better prepare yourself in a custody battle, there are several things you should not do.  

  1. Don’t Fight With the Other Parent
    • Never get physical. If the other parent gets physical, then call the police.
    • Do not argue or yell at the other parent.
  2. Don’t Alienate Your Child
    • Do not talk badly to your child about the other parent. We all get frustrated sometimes, but this can make your child feel alienated and confused
  3. Don’t Break A Court Order
    • If the child is scheduled to visit with the other parent, then let that child visit.
    • If you are ordered to pay child support, pay it. If not, you can be held in contempt of court.
  4. Don’t Dress Casual to Court Appearances
    • Do not dress like you are going to the gym or to hang out with friends when you go to court. You will make a better impression if you are dressed in appropriate court attire. This can be a suit, a dress, khakis and a nice buttoned up shirt.
  5. Do Not Just Hire Any Attorney
    • Look at someone who specializes in family law to work on your case. Make sure you feel comfortable with that attorney.
Posted in Child custody, Divorce, Family law

Why Every Business Needs Legal Representation

Even if you have been lucky enough to avoid a legal battle, it is vital for every small business owner to consult an attorney for possible future legal representation. Although it would be nice to assume that you will never need to call on your attorney, there is much to be gained from a long-term relationship with legal counsel. Establishing a relationship with an attorney now lays the groundwork early on and ensures you will have quick access to advice when you need it. If you are already being sued, you need an attorney now. Having legal representation is something you should have before you have an immediate need for it. Doing so will give you peace of mind and time to truly search for the right attorney.

From the moment you open the doors of your business, you should have an attorney within reach. There are many legal issues that a small business might grapple with, including business formation, generating or reviewing contracts and leases, intellectual property concerns, taxes, licenses, commercial disputes, etc. Having an attorney you can trust is a vital tool in your arsenal.

Some small business owners assume they can handle legal issues on their own. Even when possible, that is a tremendous burden for a business owner.  Especially when dealing with contracts and other written legal documents, you really need an attorney to review it before you sign.  Your competition and the other person involved in the contract is having their lawyer review – so should you.

 

Posted in Business Law, Small Business

Can Filing Bankruptcy Affect Your Employment and Car Insurance Rates?

With the recent recession and foreclosure crisis, many people have filed or are considering filing a Bankruptcy of some kind.  What impact will filing a Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 Bankruptcy have on your future?  There are a lot of myths out there, but there is some information you should know about how bankruptcy can influence your future.

When it comes to your employment, most jobs do no review a credit report before making a hiring decision. However, you can take steps to minimize damage that employers might find if they do take this extra step. In cases where an employer uses your credit report to verify your identity and background, they likely will not delve any deeper than that. However, if you are applying for a job that gives you access to company finances and funds, the employer will almost certainly check your credit background. It is wise to have that conversation with your future employer early in the interview process. That way, if they hunt, they will not be surprised and you have already provided an explanation.

Another common question is what the impact a Bankruptcy filing might have on your car insurance rates. The simple answer is that it depends. Some auto insurance companies do consider your credit history if you are looking for a quote.  Your rates are less likely to increase if you have been with the same carrier for some time. The theory behind any rate hike is that bankruptcy may indicate that you are a higher risk for taking care of your car, thus resulting in future claims.  However, it is likely that your credit was not in good shape prior to the Bankruptcy, so you might not see a tremendous change in your premiums. The good news is that after a few years, you should see your insurance quotes start to go down, provided you do not have any major accidents or other financial incidents in the meantime.

The bottom line is that you should speak with an attorney and consider carefully the effects of a bankruptcy on your future credit rating.

Posted in Bankruptcy

Why Every Business Needs Legal Representation

Why Every Business Needs Legal Representation

                 Even if you have been lucky enough to avoid a legal battle, it is vital for every small business owner to consult an attorney for possible future legal representation. Although it would be nice to assume that you will never need to call on your attorney, there is much to be gained from a long-term relationship with legal counsel. Establishing a relationship with an attorney now lays the groundwork early on and ensures you will have quick access to advice when you need it. If you are already being sued, you need an attorney now. Having legal representation is something you should have before you have an immediate need for it. Doing so will give you peace of mind and time to truly search for the right attorney.

                From the moment you open the doors of your business, you should have an attorney within reach. There are many legal issues that a small business might grapple with, including business formation, generating or reviewing contracts and leases, intellectual property concerns, taxes, licenses, commercial disputes, etc. Having an attorney you can trust is a vital tool in your arsenal.    

                 Some small business owners assume they can handle legal issues on their own. Even when possible, that is a tremendous burden for a business owner.  Especially when dealing with contracts and other written legal documents, you really need an attorney to review it before you sign.  Your competition and the other person involved in the contract is having their lawyer review – so should you.

Posted in Legal Help, Small Business

What are my Rights at a DUI Checkpoint?

Have you ever been pulled over and accused of a DUI, also referred to as OVI?  Going through a sobriety checkpoint can be nerve-wracking under the best of circumstances. Everyone feels a little bit of tension and many people are unaware that they have certain legal rights in this situation.  Understanding your rights and options in advance will help keep you calm during these checkpoints.

Although most DUI arrest are made when police pull someone over for speeding or weaving or some other probably cause, DUI checkpoints are also used to catch those drinking and driving. These checkpoints are randomly set and not targeted. This gives you certain rights. For instance, the police cannot search your car without probable cause or your permission. Do not feel threatened to consent to a search of your car just because they ask.  Simply politely refuse, saying: “On advice of my attorney, I do not consent for you to search my car.”

Likewise, you can exercise your Fifth Amendment right to remain silent. You do not have to answer any questions that an officer asks.  You do not have to submit to any field sobriety test such as touching your nose, walking a straight line, reciting the alphabet, etc.  Politely refuse to take these tests. If they ask you to take a Breathalyzer test, you do not have to take it.  Politely refuse.

Refusing to submit to these tests or answer questions make get you arrested if the police feel there is “probable cause.”  However, you will likely be released immediately after being processed. Rarely are DUI suspects held overnight.  The trade-off is that you have given the police zero evidence with which to convict you of the charge later in court.

The police officer will usually also threaten you with a license suspension, stating that if you refuse to answer his questions or take his tests that your license will automatically be suspended.  While this is true, the automatic license suspension (ALS) is always lifted once the court case is over.

The bottom line is that you have rights, and you should not allow police officers to force or scare you into do doing something which will only help them convict you later in court. The less evidence they have the better your chances of beating the case or negotiating a better plea bargain.   If you have any questions about your rights and know a good DUI attorney, call him immediately.

Posted in DUI, OVI, Traffic offenses

How Can You Keep Your Impending Divorce From Turning Into an Ugly Battle?

Your worst fear might be to have your divorce turn ugly right before your eyes, especially where children are involved.  Consider these few tips that can help you eliminate your concerns about an ugly battle in court:

Attempt Mediation

If you believe that you and your partner can come to an agreement on the majority of issues, opt for mediation prior to entering the court system. It’s a more private and confidential setting where you can work with a trained mediator (typically an attorney with a great deal of experience in family law). As a bonus, you can usually resolve your issues much more quickly and without the high expense of courtroom cases.

Speak Through Your Attorney

If talking to your former spouse is painful or just too vicious, you can limit communication by conducting it through attorneys. This way the main points get across without you having to personally engage with your former spouse. Make sure you outline specific details about childcare arrangements early on so there are no unnecessary conversations with your former spouse. Don’t be afraid to rely on your attorney to communicate- he or she likely has years of experience with negotiations in this manner and it will relieve many of your emotional fears.

Make Time For Yourself

Getting caught up in document collection, talking with your attorney about strategy and attending court hearings can take its toll on you. Make sure you’re able to set aside some time for yourself where you can decompress. Even if your battle does turn ugly, rely on your support system of family and friends to counsel you through the process. Hiring an attorney with experience in the field is the best way to move your case along.

 

Posted in Divorce, Family law