DNA in a Sex Crime

When a person is accused of a sex crime, it is possible that there will be DNA evidence linking them to the allegations.  DNA is a genetic sequence inside the cells of every person that in unique to that person. DNA can be found inside bodily fluids such as saliva, semen and blood.  When DNA evidence is collected in a case of sexual assault the goal is to uncover evidence that will help create a link to the person who committed a crime by providing law enforcement with the tool, DNA, to demonstrate that is was a specific person and no one else who left behind their DNA on the body of the victim.  In addition to helping discovery the true perpetrator to the crime, DNA evidence can also be used to rule out suspects.

When a person is the victim of a sex crime, often the investigation will include the collection of a “rape kit”.  One common procedure when collecting a rape kit is to swab the alleged victim of the sex crime for DNA. A cotton swab will be swiped along the points of the body where the sexual contact occurred (usually, the mouth anus and vagina) in the hope that the DNA of the perpetrator can be collected.  Often this DNA collection is performed by a nurse who specializes in sexual assaults or a sexual assault nurse examiner (a “SANE” nurse).

The protocol indicates that DNA is most likely to be found within a 72-hour window of the alleged sexual assault.  When more time passes, the natural processes of the body such as urination a defecation will often wash away any DNA evidence.  Actions such as showering, bathing or wiping can also rid the body of DNA evidence. Because of this, it is less likely that DNA evidence will be recovered in a case where the alleged victim, for whatever reason, does not report the crime right away.  However, in cases where a victim immediate goes to law enforcement and alleges penetration and/or unprotected ejaculation, the likelihood of finding DNA evidence increases significantly.

Law enforcement officers understand what a powerful tool DNA can be in an investigation into allegations of sexual assault and will sometimes even tell a crime suspect that they have DNA linking the person to the crime.  In most cases, it is very rare for DNA results to come back immediately. Testing DNA is still a fairly time-consuming process, which is complicated by extensive backups in the number of rape kits waiting to be tested. If you or a loved one is ever assaulted or accused of a sexual assault, it is unlikely that the police will have access to the results of any DNA testing until months after the rape kit has been collected.

Even if preliminary results indicate that there is a DNA match, it is very important to work with an attorney, like a skilled Decatur criminal lawyer, to verify that all of the proper procedures in DNA testing have been followed.  This is especially true in cases where law enforcement is attempting to isolate one person’s DNA from a sample where there are potentially multiple perpetrators of the alleged assault.

Another scenario where DNA becomes an issue is when a sexual assault or molestation incident results in a pregnancy.  It is then possible for law enforcement to DNA test the child and determine if the child shares DNA with the suspect. Essentially, this form of DNA testing involves a paternity test.

 


 

Thanks to our friends and contributors from Andrew R. Lynch, P.C. for their insight into sex offenses cases.

Slip and Fall Risks

According to statistics from the federal government, more than one million people end up at the hospital every year because of a slip and fall accident. Injuries can range from bruising to cuts to fractures to brain injuries. In some cases, the victim is killed in the slip and fall accident.

 

Slip and fall accidents can happen anywhere a hazardous condition exists. There are several common hazards that we see over and over again when we meet with victims who have been injured in this type of accident. Some of the more common dangers include:

 

Liquids or other Contaminants on Floors

When a liquid is spilled on the floor or other surface, it is critical to clean it up right away because these spills pose a large risk to anyone walking on the surface of slipping and falling. In many cases, it is nearly impossible to detect liquid on the floor. When a business has recently cleaned floors or cleaned up a spill, employees should always put out warning signs to alert others that the floor is wet and could be slippery.

 

Poor or Inadequate Lighting

Outdoor walkways and stairways can be especially hard to navigate at night if there is inadequate lighting. This is also true for stairways and hallways inside buildings, as well. If an area is poorly lit, there is a greater risk of a person slipping and falling and injuring themselves.

 

Lack of Handrails

Lack of handrails on stairways is another dangerous issue that causes slip and fall injuries. Most municipalities have specific codes for where handrails are required. Not only is an owner at risk of someone getting injured on their property, but they can also be fined for failing to follow building codes.

 

Tripping Hazards

Items such as rugs, mats, stair treads, wires, loose cords, and general clutter all elevate the risk of someone tripping and suffering an injury.

 

Floor and Surface Irregularities

If a floor has loose carpets or floorboards or a walkway has uneven pavements or unmarked curbs, a person walking on these surfaces faces a high risk of tripping. These items all have specific code standards that are required when it comes to ground inclines and concrete.

 

Weather Conditions

It is up to the owner of a property to make sure any snow or ice is cleared off walkways and stairs. Owners should also treat these surfaces with products that help melt ice and eliminate slipping risks.

 

Let a Slip and Fall Accident Attorney Get You the Compensation You Deserve

Call an attorney, like a Canoga Park personal injury lawyer, today to set up a free, no-obligation consultation with one of our skilled slip and fall accident attorneys. We can evaluate your case and explain what all of our legal options may be.


Thanks to our friends and contributors from Barry P. Goldberg, PLC for their insight into slip and fall cases.

 

Appointing the Right Guardian for Your Children in an Estate Plan

As a parent, the last thing you want to think about is no longer being able to care for your children. No child should ever have to grieve the loss of their parent(s), let alone be forced to face the unknown without them. As a parent, you are charged with fostering the growth of your child in a happy environment. By putting a care plan in place for the unexpected, you can help your child smoothly transition into the care of another.  A Folsom estate planning lawyer can help to make sure that you cover all of your bases when it comes to this very important component to your estate plan.

The Right Person for the Job

Identifying someone to take care of your children if you are no longer able to do so can give you peace of mind. There are a number of things you will need to consider when determining who you would like to take on this responsibility:

  • Consider whether they have experience taking care of children
  • Do they want or already have children of their own?
  • Would they be willing to move to your home or would your children need to relocate?
  • Would the person you identify be willing to support familial relationships?
  • Do they share in your beliefs and raise your children in the way you would like?

It’s important to take the time to think about all of these variables before appointing someone to take this on. By doing so, you can ensure that your children are cared for in the way you would like.

Reasons You Need a Back Up Plan

Choosing someone to take care of your children may seem like a straightforward process. However, you will want to make sure that you find someone who is up for the task of doing so. The last thing you would want in the event that the unthinkable occurs is for the person you identified to either decline the responsibility or to no longer be living themselves. To prevent this, it’s important that you:

  • Although it may be hard, it will be vital that you have a conversation with the person you are hoping to identify. You will want to make sure that they are up for the task.
  • Regularly update your estate plan to reflect any changes. If the people you originally identified have passed away themselves, you will need to select someone else.
  • Always identify a backup just in case the person you chose decides not to take on this responsibility or is no longer in a place to do so.

Familial Conflict

The repercussions of not identifying someone to take care of your children can be significant. The last thing you want to do is create family conflict or strife over the care of your children. Through their grief, your children could be caught in the middle of this. Without someone identified, the state may even step in to make decisions over the care of your children.

It’s all too common for family members, such as grandparents, aunts or uncles to want to assume responsibility of the children belonging to the person who has passed away. If this is not clearly outlined in your estate plan, your family could fight over your children. An attorney can help you create a plan for who will take care of your children and how they will maintain contact with other members of your family.

Contending with the thought of death can be emotional, however, making sure that you have a plan for your children can give you piece of mind. As your children and family grieve the loss of you, it’s helpful to eliminate as much of the unexpected as possible. You can do this be developing a clear and detailed estate plan with your attorney. Take away the guesswork for your family so that they can focus on comforting your children during such a painful time.


Thank you to our contributors at Yee Law Group for the above information.

 

The Importance of Hiring a Real Estate Lawyer

In many situations, real estate transactions move forward with very few complications. However, situations may arise that could prevent a transaction from going through in the way you had originally planned. Whether you are a first time home buyer or someone who has purchased several homes in the past, the purchase you are making is one of the largest your will ever make. Naturally, even the most seasoned homebuyers will be nervous until all the paperwork has been signed.

When a Problem Comes Up

Sometimes, problems or issues may come to light that require far more diligence. That’s where we come in.  We can help you manage legal situations so that you can spend time doing other things to prepare for your upcoming move.

Chain of Title Dispute: Attorneys will conduct a title search when a person is set to purchase a specific property. A chain of title is the history of the property, dating all the way back to the original owner of the property. A chain of title dispute may occur if a third party surfaces staking a claim to the property that you are about to purchase. An attorney can help settle this dispute by doing a title search to prove the validity of such a claim. Because the way this information is recorded can vary by state, the process will require the help of a lawyer, like a skilled real estate attorney in Roseville.

Inaccurate Property Surveys: Details surrounding lot lines can get lost when property changes hands. This is especially true if the property has had various owners over the years. A real estate lawyer can help sort this mess out by putting forth the proper investigative work.   

Contract Problems: Having an attorney review all contracts that are drawn up will be an important step to assuring that everything has been completed accurately. Common mistakes written into contracts include:

  • Unrealistic time frames, such as the time it may take to obtain a loan or have the property inspected
  • Dates not captured
  • Not including all the parties in the contract
  • Pages to the contract are unsigned

One of the most common mistakes people involved with real estate transactions can make is signing a contract without having an attorney look it over. By doing so you put yourself at risk of brokering a real estate deal that may be irreversible.

. When we manage your real estate business, you will feel satisfied with the services we provide you with. Having someone to call should an issue arise throughout the process will help you sleep at night until you are in your new home.


Thank you to the Yee Law Group for providing their legal insight on hiring a real estate lawyer.

Why Tom got a prenup to prevent divorce

Let’s call him Tom, a smart guy who is getting married this summer and wants a prenup. A prenuptial, also called premarital agreement, and is a contract between people getting married, as a family attorney Collin County, TX trusts can attest. Most people who have never entered into a prenuptial agreement before marriage, or a post-nuptial agreement during a marriage, may believe everything they see in television and movies. On screen, the people who ask for premarital agreements are oil barons with money some people might kill to get. The plot twist is that if something were to happen to the spouse with the money or the marriage were to end, the other spouse may not receive a huge pay day and most of the money would be tied up in trust for the children.

In real life, a prenup is more common than people realize, and you do not need to be wealthy to benefit from a prenuptial agreement. Tom decided to ask for a prenup to prevent divorce by eliminating questions about what might happen if his marriage to Sue were to end. The biggest reason Tom wanted a prenup is because his marriage to Sue is not his first.

A prenup is a contract

Two people forming a prenup can include language in their contractual agreement regarding money and property distribution among spouses. What you can include in a prenup is almost limitless, with a few exceptions. You cannot contract away child support obligations, and as a matter of policy we do not children suffering because of a terminated marriage. You may also not use a prenup to contract around child custody and visitation, which is the exclusive jurisdiction of the court.

Do many marital fights arise out of insecurity?

People generally dislike insecurity. Much of the reason many people marry in the first place is to be with a lover and mate with whom they feel safe, secure. People marry with the intent of being together until death do they part. When tensions spike and anger flies people can threaten to divorce or leave the other which can cause hostility and insecurity. Some say, “I will bury you and court and take half of everything you have or more.” When there is more to have and lose the threat becomes stronger and might escalate to the end of the marriage.

Knowing where you stand reduces the risk of threatening your spouse

Tom knows that Sue is not interested in the money and property he accumulated during his first marriage. Tom is very sure that he wants his assets to provide for his three children for years to come. Since Sue has her own money and career, there may be less insecurity over what may happen if the marriage were to end.

For Tom and Sue, the prenup they signed protects each other and Tom’s children in the event of the end of the marriage by death or divorce. With little to hold over one another, the threat of divorce is not so prevalent, and each know they could go their own ways if things didn’t work out.


Thanks to our friends and contributors from Scroggins Family Law for their insight into divorce.

How to React After a Bicycle Accident

Bicycle riders being hit by car drivers while sharing the road is all too common. In today’s fast-paced society, drivers can easily become distracted and not notice when a bicycle rider is nearby. A driver may be speeding in a rush to get to work, or browsing on their phone due to boredom. Bad driving behaviors can quickly lead to a bicyclist becoming seriously injured. Those who have been hit by a car while riding a bicycle may be shocked and are not sure what to do next. In the midst of all this, the victim may forget what they should, and shouldn’t do in response to such an accident.

 

In this article to follow, we have answered how to react after being hit by a vehicle. Always remember that first and foremost, your health is priority. Before attempting to find witnesses, talking to the driver or exchanging information, check yourself for aches and pains.

 

Should I call for an ambulance, even if I feel okay?

In many cases, the victim of a bicycle accident may feel okay at the time only to find out later they have serious injuries that need medical attention. If a bicyclist is lucky, they may walk away with minor scrapes, cuts and bruises. In the worst situation, a bicyclist can be at risk for fatality, depending on the speed and subsequent injuries after being struck. It is recommended that a bicyclist calls for an ambulance right away.

 

What if the driver attempts to get away?

In some cases, the driver makes the terrible choice to drive away after hitting a bicyclist. It is an awful decision that can easily cause the bicyclist to become angry and frustrated. The driver may be afraid of the consequences associated with hitting a bicyclist, and are now risking time in jail by committing a hit and run. Do your best to memorize the license plate number, vehicle model and what the driver looked like.

 

Should I ask witnesses to give me their contact information?

Yes, if there are witnesses who are willing to give you their contact information, write it down and give it to your attorney. If you decide to file a civil lawsuit against the driver for bicycle damages and injury compensation, a witness statement can greatly support your claim.

 

What information should I exchange with the driver?

As with any other accident that involves a vehicle, you should exchange the following important details from the driver:

 

  • Full Name
  • Home Address
  • Email Address
  • Phone Number
  • License Plate Number
  • Insurance Company
  • Insurance Policy Number
  • Model, Make & Year of Vehicle

 

During this very stressful situation, try your best to remain calm and focus on your health. Do not be afraid to ask for an ambulance, especially if something does not feel right in your body. Keep receipts of your emergency care bills, injury treatment costs, and bicycle repairs in case you choose to file a lawsuit against the driver for repayment. In the event you need legal advice, do not hesitate to contact an experienced attorney, like a bike accident lawyer Las Vegas, NV turns to, to assist you with your case


Thank you to Nadia Von Magdenko and Associates providing their insight and authoring this piece on bicycle accidents.

 

A Distant Father is Sentenced to Prison for Not Paying Child Support

Child support payments are meant to cover costs that accrue when raising a child, as child custody lawyers Rockville MD relies on can attest.  Typically, a child would have two parents who would provide support for his or her growth and development.  However, this often is not the case when the parents decide to separate, and leave the child in the custody of only one of the two parents.

Whether it is through a mutual agreement between parents or a court order, the importance of paying child support is immense, ultimately because it supports the child’s well-being.  Furthermore, to emphasize this, child support laws are always enforced strictly by laws across all fifty states. Many state laws have provided reasonable options for parents who are late with a payment.  For example, in Texas, there is a hotline for these parents to call in case they fall behind on their child support payments. The parents who use this hotline are not subject to an arrest warrant because, after all, the main purpose is not to arrest the parent; rather, it is to provide financial support for the child.

However, for non-custodial parents who continue to fail to fulfill their responsibility of providing child support, the consequences can add up, just as they did for Joseph Sahagun.  Stephen B. Rye, District Attorney for Lyon County of Nevada, declared a prison sentence for Mr. Sahagun, who failed to pay child support. The Third Judicial District Court ruled in favor of the State and sentenced the 40-year-old man from Yerington to 12 to 32 months in Nevada’s State Department of Corrections of Failure to Pay Child Support.

The District Attorney stated that Sahagun had owed “more than $20,000 in child support, and chose to ignore his support obligation to his children.”  Stephen Rye further commented that Mr. Sahagun had been given multiple opportunities to submit his payments, and stated as well that making the payments was possible for Sahagun, and not a financial burden.

Rye ended his announcement with the following statement:

Parents have a legal obligation to support their children. It is rare that it gets to the point of prison, however, when parents, such as Sahagun, decide to defy court orders, ignore obligations, and engage in a conscious pattern to thwart the justice system and neglect the needs of their children, all during a time they have the ability to support their children, judges should put them in prison. Mr. Sahagun fits this description. He engaged in an intentional pattern of criminal conduct over the course of several years at the expense of his children. The sentence is more than justified. The Lyon County DA Child Support Division works diligently to collect child support, including criminal prosecution in cases such as this.”


Thanks to our friends and contributors from the Law Office of Daniel J. Wright for their insight into child support.

How is a Brain Injury Claim Evaluated?

An external traumatic brain injury occurs when a force penetrates or fractures the skull. A brain injury is unlike any other injury. A broken arm can usually heal and get back to work again soon, but brain injuries do not heal in the same manner.

Common Brain Injury Causes

There are quite a few possible causes of a traumatic brain injury, some of the most common are:

  •       Auto Accidents
  •       Sports Injuries
  •       Falls
  •       Blows to the head
  •       Bullet wounds

Common Brain Injury Symptoms

Common symptoms of a traumatic brain injury include:

  • Physical: headaches, chronic pain, fatigue, dizziness, sensitivity to light, loss of motor skills, speech impairment, disturbed sleep patterns
  • Emotional: changes in behavior, changes in personality, changes in emotional expression, frustration, irritability
  • Psychological: depression, anxiety, PTSD, social avoidance, uncontrollable behavior
  • Cognitive: memory loss, confusion, mental fatigue, difficulty with concentration, easily confused, impaired language communication

Brain Injury and Auto Accidents

Auto accidents are one of the top three leading causes of traumatic brain injuries. While riding in car, the head is exposed to any number of objects that could cause arm if struck with force, including the steering wheel, the windshield, the back of the head rest, etc. Even if the head doesn’t strike an object, the sheer force of the collision can cause the brain to collide against the internal hard ones of the skull, resulting in a brain injury.

Personal Injury Claim v. Brain Injury Claims

In evaluating a brain injury claim, often the most difficult task is to prove that a brain injury even occurred.  In addition, there is no normal pattern for traumatic brain injury, everyone responds differently to such an injury, making it difficult to compare and value. To help your claim, you’ll want to make sure that evidence of the brain injury is well established. If you’ve been injured in an auto accident:

  • Seek Immediate Medical Attention: this may include MRIs and CT scans
  • Establish Loss of Consciousness: you don’t necessarily need to lose consciousness if you sustained a brain injury, but if you did, make sure it is documented in medical records
  • Get an Early Diagnosis: this isn’t always possible, but the more you seek treatment, the sooner medical professionals should be able to diagnosis a brain injury
  • Consistent Treatment: if you are experiencing any of the above-mentioned symptoms, continue to seek medical and psychological treatment

How you brain injury claim is evaluated has a lot to do with how much evidence of brain injury you can produce. If you think you may have suffered a brain injury due to an auto accident, contact the a lawyer, like a brain injury lawyer Phoenix AZ relies on, today.


Thanks to our friends and contributors from Kamper Estrada, LLP for their insight into brain injury claims.

 

Common Driving Habits That Can Lead to Accidents

When you drive on a regular basis, you’re bound to make mistakes on occasion. However, some of these mistakes can cause serious car accidents. It’s important to be more aware of your actions while behind the wheel to protect yourself and others on the road. Here are some common driving habits that can lead to accidents:

Texting and Driving

Despite all the warnings against texting and drivers, many drivers still continue to do it. If you are sitting at a red light, it might not seem like a big deal to respond to your friend’s text message. However, even typing a few words can divert your attention from the road and cause an accident. That’s why you should wait until you’re parked at a safe spot to answer texts.

Failing to Use Turn Signals

It’s important to always use your turn signals, even if your on a residential street with little traffic. Turn signals let the drivers behind you know that you are slowing down and will be making a turn soon. If you fail to signal, the vehicle behind you may not have enough time to slow down and rear end your car.

Braking Hard

If you change your mind about where you want to go or miss a turn, you may hit your brakes very hard. Unfortunately, this can cause you to rear end the vehicle in front of you. Try to avoid braking suddenly as best as you can.

Not Wearing a Seatbelt

Even if you are just driving down the road to the grocery store, you should always wear your seatbelt. In the event of an accident, a seatbelt can protect you from suffering serious injuries. Failing to wear a seatbelt can also result in a traffic ticket, so it’s best just to always keep yours on while behind the wheel.

Not Slowing Down in Bad Weather

While it is best to stay home when the weather is bad, sometimes you have to be somewhere. If you have to drive when it’s raining or snowing, you should drive at a slower speed. Otherwise, your car can slip on wet pavement and crash into other vehicles.

Eating

If you are quite busy in the morning, you might eat your breakfast in the car to save time. However, eating while you drive can divert your attention from the road, increasing the risk of an accident. Try to wake up a little earlier in the morning so that you have time to eat breakfast at home.

If you were hurt in a car accident that was another driver’s fault, you may want to speak to a car accident lawyer. You may be entitled to compensation. Common damages in a car accident case include medical bills, lost wages, property damage and pain and suffering. A skilled lawyer may help you gather necessary evidence, communicate with insurance adjusters, fill out important paperwork and represent you in court. In the event that you need legal advice, do not hesitate to contact auto accident lawyer Lakeland, FL

 

Thank you to David and Philpot Personal Injury Law for providing the key insight on common driving habits that lead to accidents.

What it means to “pierce the corporate veil”

When filing suit against a corporation or other entity, it’s important to use tools of discovery to determine whether the shareholders or owners are adhering to corporate formalities.  If they are not, or if the corporation is being used to perpetrate a fraud, then you may consider the procedural maneuver of “piercing the corporate veil.” This would allow a Plaintiff to not only recover from the corporation but from individual shareholders.

Piercing the corporate veil is an equitable doctrine developed at common law, which, as stated above, allows a court to order that the legal existence of a business entity be disregarded. Originally, this concept was designed to allow creditors and other claimants to recover against the shareholders of a corporation, despite the principle that shareholders have no personal liability for debts of the corporation. This evolved over time so that the rule as it stands today seems to be predicated on the fact that if certain owners of a business fail to respect the separate existence of that business, Plaintiffs need not recognize the business either. Courts will often be asked whether the corporation was “a mere instrumentality” of the principals or whether the corporation was no more than the “alter ego” of the person against whom recovery is sought.  If these questions can be answered in the affirmative, then a Plaintiff should consider piercing the corporate veil to recover their damages. As taught in law school, it’s important to always “follow the money,” particularly when there is ample evidence of fraud, misrepresentation, or a disregard of the corporate entity.

Piercing the veil will require considerable briefing on the specific facts of the entity at issue.  Case law provides insufficient guidance as to the precise type of behavior that will put owners of companies at risk of losing their protection against personal liability. In a defense setting, it would be important when advising business clients to warn them that they need to respect the separate existence of their business, and observe the formalities associated with having a business that is distinct from them. From a Plaintiff’s perspective, if it can be shown that this advice has been disregarded, and the corporation has largely been disregarded, piercing the veil is a legitimate option.

This type of procedure has become one of the essential elements to effectively and competently represent Plaintiffs against a corporate entity.  When selecting an attorney, you should consider hiring a veteran trial Little Rock personal injury lawyer who has experience in piercing the corporate veil.  


Thanks to Steve Harrelson and our friends and co-contributors from Harrelson Law Firm, P.A. for their added insight into piercing the corporate veil.