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.

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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.

 

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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.

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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.

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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.

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