New Law Helps Those Charged with DWI or DUI in Texas

Anyone charged with a DUI or DWI first time offense can tell you that the penalties can be devastating. They can lose their ability to work, and if it goes on their public record, it can severely dampen their capacity to find employment in the future. Thankfully, back in June Governor of Texas Greg Abbott signed a bill into law which will soften the harsh penalties and give accused persons a second chance in the eyes of the law.

This new law takes effect on September 1st and will give people recently charged with a DWI or DUI the chance to not have their charges be on their public records. The caveat is that after their two-year probation is over, they must choose to have an ignition interlock breathalyzer device for six months to make sure they are not driving while under any influences. This new bill extends to other low-level, low offense charges; these charges include nonsexual and nonviolent misdemeanors classified either Class A or Class B. The hope is that by decriminalizing lesser offense crimes the law won’t unfairly punish minor slip ups and can keep unnecessary stains off of citizen’s public record. This way people can still find work even after they go through a slight hiccup in their life choices. While this bill makes sure that a charge won’t go on someone’s public record, Ian Inglis Attorney at Law states that the base penalty for a first time DUI or DWI offense can be up to a $2,000 fine and six months in prison. There is a multitude of reasons that show that a breathalyzer test can’t always be trusted, so the possibility that someone could face such punishments from something that may not even be accurate is awful. This new law can provide some flexibility so that people charged can go back to getting on with their lives.

Personally, this law is a significant step in the right direction. For years I have thought that the current laws punishing people were too harsh and debilitating. Nobody should ever lose the ability to go to work just because of what could potentially be a misunderstanding. It is worth noting that this bill doesn’t reduce potential jail time or fines that come with a charge only that fact that a charge won’t go on a public record for the first offense. These fines and penalties can still be intense unless someone gets the proper legal representation to lower them.

A step in the right direction, this bill will help reduce the stigma that comes with a misdemeanor and felony charge to citizens trying to get their lives back together from a mistake in their past. With a second chance in the eyes of the law, statistics will show that public reform will skyrocket and that such a second chance won’t fall on ungrateful shoulders. However, it is still important for those who are accused of such crimes to adhere to the Texas laws in the future.

Read More

Debt Negotiation: A Better Legal Option in Solving a Debt Crisis?

The U.S. Bankruptcy Code offers business firms and individuals various legal means that will enable them to rise up from overwhelming debts and regain stability through financial control. One of these legal solutions is bankruptcy, which has two types: liquidation bankruptcy and reorganization bankruptcy.

Bankruptcy offers many advantages, such as the restructuring of the debt payment scheme to make monthly payments more affordable, the discharge of all unsecured debts (such as debts due to credit card use, medical bills, personal loans, etc.), or the liquidation of certain assets and properties to pay non-dischargeable debts (these are usually debts owed to the government).

There are different chapters in the U.S. Bankruptcy Code, each designed to address an individual’s or a firm’s specific financial situation. There is chapter 7 (which is liquidation bankruptcy), chapter 11 (or business reorganization, chapter 12 (designed for families of farmers and fishermen), and chapter 13 (or business reorganization designed for sole proprietors).

In the year 2010 alone, the U.S. federal bankruptcy courts recorded the filing of more than 1.5 million personal bankruptcy cases. Millions of American individuals and hundreds of business firms (both small and giant firms) resort to bankruptcy due to the many advantages it offers. However, a good business lawyer would not right away offer bankruptcy as the main solution to overwhelming debts. He/she will first discuss bankruptcy’s advantages and disadvantages, as well as the benefits and detriments of other legal means, like debt negotiation.

The Raleigh bankruptcy lawyers at the Bradford Law Offices, PLLC, explain that debt negotiation is a way to restructure your financial obligations and create a new repayment plan that is more reasonable for your current financial situation. Additionally, debt negotiation may provide you with the following benefits, including:

  • Minimizing the debts you have left to pay;
  • Paying off a large portion of debts all at once;
  • Lowered interest rates; and,
  • Lengthening your repayment period.

Debt negotiation may also prove to be better due to the more manageable payment plan that it offers. This is because debt negotiation:

  • Does not require a litigation process (which bankruptcy requires);
  • Offers debtors the choice of paying the debt through a single/lump sum payment or through more affordable monthly payments;
  • Frees the debtor from being harassed by debt collectors, as well as from lawsuits and any legal action that will result to the forced sale of his/her properties ;
  • Reduces or defers interest payments, lengthens the time span of payment, and allows the consolidation of loan payments; and,
  • Reduces the amount of the loan to more than half its original sum.

According to Debt.org: America’s Debt Help Organization, debt settlement is a negotiated agreement in which a lender accepts less than the full amount owed – sometimes significantly less – to legally settle a debt. There is considerable risk to this debt relief option, though; it is not accepted by all lenders.

 

Read More

Why There are Drunk Drivers on the Road

Drinking and driving is a deadly combination, but many still risk their lives and the lives of others around them by driving while intoxicated. Why do you do such reckless behaviors? Below are some of the possible reasons why.

You have failed to plan

If you are thinking of drinking, you and your friends should have a clear plan. Where are you going to drink? How are you going to go there? Who is going to drive you home when you are already under the influence of alcohol?

Most of these questions are not answered with care, so you and your buddies end up drinking in an inaccessible place using your own cars and having no designated driver. You will end up being forced to drive while drunk.

To prevent this from happening, choose a place that can easily be accessed by public transportation. Leave your vehicles and use public transportation to go there. By doing so, you pass the responsibility of driving to someone else. You can also pass this responsibility by bringing a designated driver with you, like a friend who doesn’t drink alcoholic beverages.

You are not afraid of law enforcement

Drunk driving is not exclusive to those who party at night. They can also be done by others, such as truck drivers who are trying to relax and alcoholics who can’t help but drink even while on the wheel. Drunk driving is illegal, but these people are not afraid to do it anyway because they are confident that they are not going to get caught.

The key to avoid this complacency is the strict enforcement of drunk driving laws. There should be sobriety check points on key areas, police officers should be clearly visible to increase the chances of catching drunk drivers, and DWI cases should be prioritized by the courts to send the message that the jurisdiction is taking them seriously.

You are not afraid of the consequences

According to the website of the Law Offices of Richard A. Portale, P.C., a law firm that practices in DWI defense, DWI charges can have fines reaching up to $10,000, jail times of up to 7 years, and license suspensions of 6 months at the minimum.

It seems that drunk drivers are not afraid of these consequences, or they do not really know the possible effects of these penalties. The jurisdiction or the state should educate the public regarding these effects, such as the inconvenience of having no driver’s license and the bias of employers against those who have DWI convictions.

Read More

Sexual Battery can be punished with Life Imprisonment or Death

Under both federal and state laws, crimes that cause innocent victims severe harm are considered serious offenses and are, thus, exacted with heavy punishments, like costly fines and/or years in imprison; some offenders are even sentenced to life imprisonment.

In a number of states, serious crimes include sexual battery, among many others. Sexual battery refers to unwanted or non-consensual touching or sexual contact. It does not have to involve sexual intercourse or penetration, as in the case of rape. In a number of jurisdictions, sexual battery is referred to as criminal sexual contact and it can be committed in many different ways, like grabbing or fondling a woman’s breast, forcing a kiss on the mouth, patting a person’s buttocks, forcing the victim to touch the offender’s intimate body part, or touching the victim’s genital area – all these acts are committed by an offender for the purpose of arousing or sexually gratifying himself/herself.

Victims of sexual battery can include a relative, a classmate, a neighbor, an acquaintance, a co-worker, a friend, a dating partner, or even a spouse. The law firm Horst Law says that sexual battery can be elevated to aggravated sexual battery, a Class B felony, if the offender committed the offense with the use of a weapon to force or coerce his/her victim, causes bodily harm, committed the offense with the help of another person, or if the victim is less than 13 years old.

Contrary to what many think that sexual battery is motivated by sexual desire, the act is rather an aggressive attack and a violent crime that is aimed at humiliating, hurting and controlling the victim through sex. In some jurisdictions, if the perpetrator of the crime is over 17 years old and the victim is below the age of 12, with the victim sustaining injuries to the sexual organ as a result of the assault, then the crime is considered a capital felony, the sentence for which can be life imprisonment or death.

Sex crime defense lawyers know how serious it is to be accused of a sex offense. It can be a very challenging case to defend, especially is the authorities are biased, working hard to prove the guilt of the accused, failing to consider the possibility of his/her innocence. In a trial case, though all evidence may seem directed at convicting the accused, a very strong defense may turn the tide and result to an acquittal. However, this may be possible only with the help of a highly-competent sex crime defense lawyer.

Read More

Sexual Harassment in the Workplace

The first recorded workplace sexual harassment in the U.S. occurred in 1976; however, it was not until 1991 when a court hearing was conducted by the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee to probe into a sexual harassment complaint against a Supreme Court nominee. It was only during this time that the American public became fully aware that sexual harassment was a problem that needed to be legally resolved.

The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), which was created in 1964 and charged with enforcing anti-discriminatory acts and laws against abuses in the workplace, declared unlawful all forms of harassment based on an employee’s or an applicant’s gender. Based on EEOC’s definition and as clarified in the website of the Leichter Law Firm, sexual harassment is any act that: requests for sexual favors; makes unwelcome sexual advances; involves physical or verbal sexual insults or remark regarding a person’s sex. While the victim may either be a man or a woman (women are the usual victims, though), so is the harasser (who may be a co-worker, a supervisor, a customer or a client); there are instances, however, when both victim and harasser are of the same sex.

The passing into law of the Civil Rights Act in 1964 was supposed to give victims of sexual harassment the legal hope of redeeming themselves and of being compensated for the pain and suffering that they have been made to experience. This never happened, though, as victims were only allowed to collect (after an EEOC probe that was very hard to win) their lost wages (due to forced leave orders), back pay and a notice of reinstatement to work – a little amount of cash plus the chance to continue in their already intolerable work. Many, however, did go back to work, but only to be harassed again and made to feel that they should rather better resign).

With the awareness that the anti-sexual harassment law and the remedy given to victims needed to be strengthened, the US Congress made improvements in the Civil Rights Act in 1991. Among the amendments was the inclusion of the legal right of the victim to receive compensatory damages (not just back pay), which included present and future financial losses due to mental anguish, suffering, emotional pain, inconvenience, and other forms of non-financial losses.

Read More

Families of Workers Who have been Exposed to Asbestos are also in Danger of Developing Mesothelioma

Thirty years after she came in contact with asbestos, this now 36-year old woman from St. Paul, Minnesota is found to be with mesothelioma, a deadly cancer with no known cure.

Mesothelioma is caused by exposure to asbestos, a mineral that was very widely used during late 19th and early 20th centuries. Workers who were regularly exposed to asbestos then included asbestos miners, and those who worked in manufacturing plants, power plants, construction sites, chemical plants, mills, railroads and shipyards, where thousands of enlisted personnel, especially from the US Navy were assigned.

Asbestos’ elasticity and resistance from heat rendered it a perfect fire retardant component in the production of thousands of different commercial and household products. Although perfectly useful, this mineral was discovered to release sharp fiber dusts which mixes easily with air, water and the food we eat. Once inside the body, these dusts accumulate in the lungs, scarring and damaging these over a period of time.

The surprising thing about the 36-year old woman diagnosed with mesothelioma was how she came in contact with asbestos. What she could remember was, when still aged six, she would always hug her father, a demolition worker, as soon as he arrived from work. Afterwards, she would put on and play with his dust and dirt-covered coat and shoes.

Mesothelioma is a rare form of malignant cancer that develops in the mesothelium, a lining that protects the internal organs, like the lungs, the heart, and the abdomen. One of the worst things about this malignant cancer that causes extreme pain is that it takes about 20 to 40 years to develop.

The owners and managers of the firms where mesothelioma victims previously worked knew about the dangers which exposure to asbesto would result to. Despite this, they chose to expose their workers to the deadly effects of asbestos for profit. Though many of these firms have already ceased operations, the government made sure that these were able to set up a Mesothelioma Compensation Trust Funds for the purpose of compensating workers whose lives and whose quality of living have been ruined.

According to the Williams Kherkher law firm, many more Americans may be at risk of developing mesothelioma due to the wide use of asbestos for a very long time. Though the effects of this cancer is irreversible, diagnosing the illness early on may help prolong the life span of the affected victim. Individuals who know or who think they have been exposed to asbestos (even during the early years of their lives) should never have second thoughts about approaching a doctor to have their medical condition checked.

Read More

Truck Driver Error, the Cause of Majority of Large Truck Accidents

Contrary to the results of a number of surveys which say that accidents involving passenger cars and trucks are more blamable on car drivers, a study conducted by the Federal Motor carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) rather says that trucking accidents are more due to errors committed by drivers of large trucks.

These errors are usually results of many different factors which directly affect a truck driver’s capability to react properly and on time to danger. The top three factors that the FMCSA has identified include driver fatigue, driving too fast for road conditions, and impairment due to intoxication from prescription and/or over-the-counter-drugs; other causes of these errors are speeding, unfamiliarity with the road or vehicle, driving distractions and inattention, improper attachment of trailer, failure to check blind spots, depowering of the front brakes (this is what truck operators commonly do in order to minimize wear and tear on tires and breaks and so save on operating costs), and failure to make sure that the brakes are in good working condition.

In an article posted on its website, the Chris Mayo Law Firm points out why it is of utmost importance that truck drivers and trucking companies exercise the strictest caution and control in the operation of large trucks. Due to the enormous size of a commercial truck, it is deemed as a significant hazard on the road, considering the major damages to properties and the severe injuries it can cause if ever an accident occurs. Regrettably, some truck operators and/or drivers fail to act responsibly and carefully, a failure that often ends up in tragic road mishaps.

Once on the road, truck drivers can practically do whatever they want, like drive continuously despite feeling fatigued, just to be able to cover as many road miles as possible, or drive over the speed limit or too fast for certain road conditions. Because of these, as well as the fact that driving a truck is just much more challenging than driving any passenger vehicle, both the federal and local authorities make sure that a driver, before being granted a commercial driver’s license, has been given the necessary training in the safe operation of large trucks, has passed the required tests, and is totally aware of how dangerous trucks can be on roads and highways.

According to the Highway Loss Data Institute, a non-profit research organization, there were at least 3,500 fatal large truck accidents in 2013. About 570 truck drivers lost their lives in these accidents; all other fatalities were passengers of smaller vehicles, bicyclists, motorcyclists, and pedestrians.

While it may be tempting to say that many of those who survive large truck accidents are lucky, any personal injury lawyer may say otherwise due to the different types of serious injuries that victims may sustain which, according to a Milwaukee personal injury lawyer, can include brain damage, injuries to the neck and spine, broken bones, severe cuts and bleeding or organ damage.

A serious injury will always necessitate fast medical attention and maybe long-term recovery care too. The high cost of medical treatment, worsened by the loss of wages due to days or weeks of absence from work, can very well lead to financial problems.

Read More

Defective Airbags: A Cause of Great Risk to Car Occupants

A car airbag, otherwise identified as Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard 208 (FMVSS 208), is a vehicle safety device that is designed for a dual purpose: provide protective cushion and lengthen the time of impact between a car driver (and passenger) and a car’s interior components, such as the steering wheel, dash board and the windows – in order to lessen the possibility of serious crash injuries.

General Motors was the first car manufacturer to introduce the use of frontal air bags, offering this “Occupant Crash Protection” device as optional equipment in at least 10,000 of its vehicles from 1974 to 1976. Lack of consumer interest, however, made General Motors terminate this program, which majority of car manufacturers in the US resisted anyway. Thus, rather than equip their vehicles with a device which the government considered as life-saving, these manufacturers designed their cars with a fancy trim and striking upholstery instead since customers obviously preferred these more. Even when the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) mandated in July 1984 that all passenger cars manufactured after April 1, 1989, should be equipped with an automatic occupant protection (an air bag or an automatic seat belt), some manufacturers continued to invest on improving their car’s look, allotting for crash protection devices a budget which could afford nothing more than an airbag with a cheap and unsafe design.

Despite the “unintentional” fatalities and severe injuries that deploying frontal airbags inflicted on adults (with small stature) and children during low speed or minor crashes, the NHTSA was convinced that the said occupant protection device was more beneficial than harmful, especially during potentially fatal crashes. To make sure, therefore, that this protection which an airbag can provide during crashes would benefit all motorists, the 1991 US Congress passed the Intermodal Surface Transportation Efficiency Act, a law that mandates the installation of a driver (frontal) air bag, a passenger air bag, and manual lap-shoulder belts in all passenger cars and light trucks manufactured after September 1, 1997, and September 1, 1998, respectively.

Now, while it may be true that airbags save thousands of lives, one cannot simply disregard reports which speak of malfunctioning ones, such as airbags failing to deploy, an airbag suddenly deploying on its own, or one that deploys with such an impact, thus, causing death rather than saving lives.

Very recently, Takata airbags unexpectedly inflating with excessive explosive power and shooting potentially-fatal metal fragments inside the vehicle have been linked to hundreds of injuries and at least five deaths. This particular defect has resulted to 19 million vehicles being recalled in the US (this figure is based on safercar.gov records as against the more than 30 million stated in other sites) and a total of 53 million cars worldwide, including Honda, Toyota, Nissan, Mazda, General Motors, Ford, Mercedes-Benz, Chrysler, BMW and Lexus.

As explained by on the website of a personal injury attorney in Milwaukee, the mechanical and electrical systems of an automobile are incredibly complex and there are times when one its parts is either manufactured or installed improperly. A mistake can appear without warning, endangering the safety of a vehicle’s occupants in the process.

The website of Chicago nursing home neglect attorneys also affirms the high risk of injuring-causing accidents that defective auto parts can bring about.

Read More

Bridal Hair and Makeup in Houston

Like most girls, you too may have dreamt about your wedding while you were still little . . . the kind of dress you would be wearing, the place where you will be wedded, how beautiful you would look, and how perfect your husband will be.

Well, of course, you know that, come that day, more than on your husband to be, all eyes will rather be on you, staring at, and staring again, at three very important things: your dress, your hair and your make up.

Some brides want to think of themselves as knowledgeable in makeup application and hair styling, thus, they do most of these things on their own or with the help of a friend or kin. One thing you should know, however, is to never make this mistake.

Your Wedding Day is one of the most important days of your life. But, however you would want to look, with a touch of glamor or simplicity, the best way is to leave it to the experts – people who have been trained in bridal hair and makeup.

On its website, Therapy Salon explains that bridal hair and makeup should not only be beautiful, memorable and flawless, but should also be able to endure the weather, especially if you are planning for a wedding outdoors.

While some salons will leave you at the hands of any of its hair-stylists and makeup artists who, like a general surgeon able to treat a wide range of illnesses, would claim being knowledgeable in all kinds of hair styles or makeup artistry, respectively, well-established and trusted salons have trained and certified experts who handle certain types of hair styles or makeup. This is to make sure that you look your absolute best on this extremely special occasion.

Therefore, rather than have your hair lose its style during the so many hugs and kisses after the ceremony (long before the dancing part) or suffer the embarrassment of your face slipping off because the primer, setting powder, foundation, blush, mascara, and eye shadow used were not budge-proof, why not go to the experts. Your wedding may last only for a few hours, but the pictures which will capture just how beautiful or “not so beautiful” you are will last forever.

Read More

Potential Danger of Scaffolds

Long pieces of metal and wood laid scattered almost as long as a city block after a scaffolding collapse at an apartment complex that was under construction in downtown Houston in October of 2015. Of the 200 construction workers at the site, six were said to have been injured; they were immediately rushed to the nearest hospital.

The increasing number of high-rise construction jobs and the need to restore the aesthetic appearance of many old buildings in the US has also led to an increase in the number of workers who need to work on scaffolds to be able to reach the exteriors of tall buildings. In fact, more than a million construction workers are said to be working on scaffolds every day, which means more than a million lives always in danger.

Scaffolding is a provisional structure that is either suspended from above or supported from below. It is used to support workers and the materials they will use in the construction, repair and maintenance of man-made structures like buildings and bridges. Due to the many accidents (because of collapsing scaffolds) in the past, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), an off-shoot of the Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSH Act) of 1970 and which is charged with the regulation and enforcement of the OSH Act mandate of creating a safe and healthy working environment for all employees, saw it fit to impose a standard on scaffoldings to reduce incidences of falls or scaffold collapse that lead to injuries or workers’ death.

The website of law firm Habush Habush & Rottier S.C. ® says that the construction industry is one of the most dangerous career fields in the US; it is also very aware that accidents which injure construction workers can most likely result to a number of daunting consequences, such as loss of income, due to time spent in recovery and costly bills for medical treatment. This is why the firm strongly emphasizes the importance of an injured worker understanding his or her legal rights and options in seeking the compensation that he or she may have a legal right to receive.

Avoiding a work-related accident, which will save an employer additional expenses, such as higher Workers’ Compensation premiums, is totally possible, first by complying with OSHA safety standards, which includes using the right type of scaffolds based on the type of job to be accomplished, the materials to be loaded on these and the weather condition and, second, by double checking the structure, to make sure that it has been assembled firmly and properly.

Another law firm, the Abel Firm, explains in its website the importance of scaffolding in various types of construction projects, how it enables a construction crew to reach a tall building’s exterior levels which cannot be accessed by ladders. However, this structure will need to have good and strong material and should be assembled properly, otherwise, it will only put workers and bystanders at risk of serious injury.

Read More