Criminal Justice Lawyer

Criminal Defense Attorney

Pros and Cons of Representing Yourself in Criminal Court

Finding yourself entangled in legal proceedings is one of the most unpleasant things you can experience, especially if the charges are criminal. The criminal justice system allows you to have access to legal professionals who can advise you on your rights and who can guide you through every step of the process. You don’t have to hire an attorney, however. If you prefer, you can represent yourself in your case. Some people choose this method. When you understand the benefits and drawbacks of this decision, you can feel good about which way to go.

Why Represent Yourself: Save Money

In a criminal case, you probably worry most about salvaging your reputation and staying out of jail or prison. It’s not a secret, though, that hiring and working with a lawyer costs money—sometimes a lot of it. You could pay hundreds or even thousands of dollars every hour to enlist the services of an experienced, accomplished criminal defense attorney. When you forgo a lawyer and act as your own counsel, you don’t have to spend a dime on legal professionals.

Why Represent Yourself: More Freedom to Say What You Want

A lawyer understands much more about the law and about your case than you possibly could. This may entice may attorneys to proceed with caution and refrain from saying certain things in court. When you represent yourself, you won’t worry about holding anything back. You can speak your mind much more freely and explain details about your case that a professional would likely keep away from the proceedings.

Why Hire a Lawyer: Experience and Expertise

No matter how much you research and how hard you try, there’s no way you can duplicate a trained attorney and his or her understanding of the law and knowledge of how to effectively proceed with your case. Attorneys have represented people like you in similar cases. They know what’s admissible in court and what to file and when to file it. Lawyers won’t be taken advantage of by prosecutors as you would be.

Why Hire a Lawyer: Can Work on Plea Deals

When the judge or jury hands down a decision from your case, your lawyer may work with the prospector to negotiate a plea bargain and reduce your sentence. This can spare you from serving as long of a jail sentence or serving at all. As your own counsel, you don’t have this option.

It’s easy to see how choosing a criminal defense attorney in Fairfax, VA and working with this professional on your case is a good move. You’ll feel at ease with an experienced professional in your corner.

Thanks to Dave Albo – Attorney for their insight into criminal law and the benefits of having professional legal representation.

What is a Cross-Examination?

In a court case, examination refers to questioning a witness. There are two types of “examination”: direct and cross-examination. Cross-examination is generally the questioning that is done by a lawyer who didn’t initially call the witness to the stand. However, it can also include questioning done by the lawyer who called the witness when the witness is “hostile” or generally aligned with the other side.

For example, in a criminal case, the defense almost always examines police officers by cross examination. In auto or personal injury cases, the defense lawyer almost always examines the plaintiff by cross examination. This is because even if they aren’t called by the government, police officers are aligned with the government (because they’re employed by the government). Similarly, no one can be more aligned with the plaintiff than the plaintiff, so the defense is allowed to question him by cross examination.

The significance of cross examination is that it permits the lawyer to use leading questions. All 50 states and the federal courts have a rule permitting cross examination to use leading questions. In practice, this means that the lawyer makes a statement that he wants the witness to agree or disagree with.

Examples of leading questions:

• Your name is Frank, isn’t that true?

• The defendant’s car was purple, isn’t that true?

• You’ve been married for 42 years, isn’t that true?

By contrast, the same issues could be covered in a non-leading manner by asking:

• What is your name?

• What color is the defendant’s car?

• How long have you been married?

As you might imagine, leading questions are very valuable when dealing with difficult or hostile witnesses. When a witness has an agenda or wants to tell a particular story, asking open-ended questions invites runaway responses. Leading questions narrow the issues and tend to keep the examination on track and productive.

A skilled criminal lawyer Grand Rapids, MI trusts knows that cross-examination is often a far more effective way to tell his client’s story than direct examination for a couple reasons. First, on cross examination, the lawyer can control the flow of the story, the order of the facts, and even which facts come out. Secondly, on cross-examination, the story is being told by the other side. When the other side is telling your story, it has instant credibility because jurors (rightly) assume the other side wouldn’t say something helpful about you unless it was true.

Thank you to our friends and contributors at Blanchard Law for their insight into criminal defense and cross-examination.

Tactics for Winning a Child Custody Battle

Family Lawyer

It is natural for parents to want what is best for their children; to witness them grow, change, and blossom into who they really are. When two partners part ways and had children together, a battle over child custody is bound to arise. Of course, parents are often committed to doing whatever they can to be awarded custody. However, not all parents know exactly what to do (and not to do), to make this happen. We highly recommend parents meet with an attorney, for tactics on how to win their child custody battle.

Prepare Documentation Beforehand

It is important that parents gives themselves plenty of time to prepare for the child custody hearing way in advance. If parents wait until the last minute to get ready, they may realize they haven’t brought all the necessary paperwork they need for the hearing. We encourage people to get legal help as soon as they decide they will be parting ways from the other parent. If there were shared children together during the relationship, then a negotiation over child custody is inevitable.

Be Willing to Cooperate with the Other Parent

Parents who are unwilling to cooperate with the other parent, may actually lose their chances at receiving custody. In an ideal situation, the child is able to maintain a positive relationship with each parent. A judge may consider awarding joint custody, so both parents can continue playing a major role in their child’s upbringing. A parent who is resistant to collaborating with the other parent, may end up not being awarded any form of custody and only permitted visitation rights.

An attorney suggests that parents become informed about the potential outcomes, so they don’t walk into the courtroom with unrealistic expectations and then find themselves distraught after the verdict.

Showcase Your Best Self in Court

There can be so much more to the court hearing than simply showing up. The first impression you make to the judge may be what ultimately sways the decision. For example, if you show up late, poorly dressed, messy, and unprepared, the judge may think that maybe you aren’t as responsible of a parent as you claim. While this may be harsh to hear, it is imperative that you do everything you can to be on-time, wear professional clothing, and speak respectively towards the other parent.

Be Open to Requests from the Court

The child custody hearing is your time to show just how dedicated you are to providing your child with what he or she needs. If the judge asks you to attend parenting classes, seek counseling, or make adjustments to your home, agree willingly and have it done immediately. Even if it isn’t something you agree with or want to do, this is the best opportunity to show just how committed you are to your children’s happiness and health.

Parents who want legal support during a child custody battle, can contact us to schedule their consultation with a family lawyer Collin County, TX trusts. They are on your side. Please call today.

Thanks to Scroggins Law Group, PLLC for their insight into family law and child custody battles.

The Do’s and Don’ts When Fighting for Custody of Your Child

Child Custody Attorney

The main concern for many parents trying to win custody of their child, is knowing what they need to do (or not do) to ensure that happens. Parents who are struggling to figure out how to showcase their best selves during the hearing, can rely on an attorney for some guidance. It can be an emotionally taxing task to try and think about what aspects of your life may be under scrutiny by the judge. They can give you advice as to the do’s and don’ts when presenting yourself in court.

Do: Remain Open to Joint Custody

Unfortunately, some parents have lost child custody battles because they were unwilling to cooperate with the other parent. Even though you may not like your former partner very much, he or she may still have to play an influential role in raising your child. In the eyes of the court, a child who can maintain a positive relationship with both parents equally is what is in their best interest. It can speak volumes to your dedication as a parent, to be open to the idea of sharing joint custody.

Don’t: Repeatedly Reschedule Visitation

If you are currently in an arrangement where you have scheduled visitation time with your child but have formed of habit of cancelling, it may appear to the court that you are being spiteful versus truly wanting sole custody. It can reflect poorly on your side if you haven’t been consistently and reliably visiting your child.

Do: Take the Time to Prepare Beforehand

One of the worst things a parent fighting for sole custody of a child can do, is walk into the courtroom unprepared. There is so much more to obtaining custody of your child than simply showing you want it the most. An attorney can help you gather useful information to show the judge, that emphasizes why you are the best choice. While some parents decide to represent themselves during child custody hearings, we strongly encourage you to not stand alone (especially if your former partner has hired an attorney).

Don’t: Decline an In-Home Evaluation

By requesting an in-home custody evaluation, it can show that you are willing to be open about your living space, in addition to making changes where needed. This can be a great tactic if you have a hunch that your former partner will claim that your home life isn’t a suitable environment to raise a child. If the judge does make suggestions for improvements, take these seriously and fulfill the requests promptly.

Parents who are in the midst of a child custody battle, often find they are relieved to have a child custody attorney Collin County, TX offers by their side. They understand how scary it can be to imagine losing your child, if the other parent is awarded sole custody. They can advocate for your behalf in court, and answer any questions you have along the way.

Thanks to Scroggins Law Group, PLLC for their insight into family law and fighting for custody.

A Breakdown on Car Accident Law

Car Accident Lawyer

Nobody usually thinks about car accidents as a section of law and typically pay no attention to the commercials and advertisements featuring car accident attorneys. That is, until they’re in need of their services. But that’s okay. In an ideal world, there would be no car accidents and therefore no need for car accident attorneys. Unfortunately, this is not an ideal world. So as long as car accidents remain a high statistic, we make it our priority to use our knowledge of car accident law to ensure you’re covered. However, you may want to brush up a bit on your car accident law yourself, so here’s a brief introduction.

What is car accident law?

It may sound niche, or even pretty vague: car accident law. What does it entail? The short answer is any and all rules, regulations, and laws that determine who is at fault in a car accident, and therefore responsible for any personal or property damage inflicted. Car accident cases typically involve negligence and as such, are actually a section of personal injury law. Negligence is the failure to take proper care in performing an activity – such as failing to operate a motor vehicle safely. When you’re involved in a car accident due to someone else’s negligence, you can seek out monetary compensation to recover your damages, such as medical expenses or the cost to repair or replace your vehicle.

What needs to be proved?

In every car accident situation, there are three things that need to be proven in order to successfully win your case. The first is duty, otherwise known as the promise. When a driver elects to get behind the wheel of a vehicle, they have a duty to everyone else to operate said vehicle safely. It’s an unspoken promise but needs to be established when pursuing a car accident case. However, most instances of duty are inherently accepted and you won’t need to put much effort into proving it. The person in question was, in fact, the person driving the other vehicle. Done.

The next is breach, or breaking the promise. The plaintiff (that’s you) will need to prove that the other driver (the defendant) broke their promise to operate their vehicle safely. In other words, they broke an established traffic law, such as running a red light or failing to use their turning signal. The breach can be proven a few different ways, such as a witness statement, CCTV, or even an admission of guilt. Finally, the plaintiff will need to prove that the the breach caused their injuries. This goes hand-in-hand with the breach caused harm, which means that you were physically injured in the accident. The causal portion means that you have to prove your injuries were caused by the accident itself, and were not preexisting. A medical professional’s testimony is typically the ace-in-the-hole you’d use to prove this part.

A car accident of any level of severity can be a traumatizing event. Do yourself and your loved ones a favor by shutting your case as quickly as it was opened. Call a car accident lawyer Memphis, TN offers today.

Thanks to Darrell Castle & Associates, PLLC for their insight into personal injuries and car accident law.

The Things No One Shares with You About Car Accidents

Auto Accident Lawyer

A person’s day may begin just like any other, where they wake up from a night of sleep and start getting ready for their day. Rarely does anyone imagine getting into a car accident later on the road. So, they get dressed as usual and do their morning routine. Then when they verge out onto the roadway they may cruise the same familiar streets they always do when on the way to work, errands, or visit loved ones. In a split second a car accident may occur, resulting in pure chaos, as an auto accident lawyer Lakeland, FL offers knows well.

From the moments getting out of the car through the weeks after, stress and confusion are bound to arise. While many of us are taught what to do in the event of a car accident, there are certain things we aren’t told that can surely help the incident get handled with more ease while protecting ourselves from financial ruin.

#1 If You Don’t Get Medical Attention Now, It Can Hurt You Later

Rarely does anyone walk away from a car accident scene without some degree of injury. If you do not get emergency care right away, it not only can prevent you from getting the treatment you need, but it can also impact your lawsuit later if you take action against the driver who hit you.

Unfortunately, many victims of car accidents don’t realize they may have grounds for a civil lawsuit, where they can receive compensation for what happend. But, if there is no medical documentation which proves your type and severity of injuries, it can hurt your case and decrease your chances of winning.

#2 In the Moment, Everything You Learned May Be Forgotten

It can be easy to drive past an accident and imagine how you would handle the situation. But it’s another thing to actually be in the collision yourself, where adrenaline and panic can rapidly flood your system. Everything you had planned to do in the event of an accident can be quickly forgotten, until hours later when you realize you had missed a crucial detail.

For example, you may forget to gather evidence at the scene, such as photographs of the vehicle damage, driver’s information, any visible injuries, and more. When it comes to dealing with your insurance company and pursuing a lawsuit, without evidence it can be challenging to prove your side of the story.

#3 Your Instant Reaction May Be to Profusely Apologize

As humans, most of us don’t enjoy getting into conflicts with other people. And when something as serious yet awkward as a car accident happens, one of the first instincts may be to apologize (even if you know it wasn’t your fault). However, by saying you’re sorry this can be interpreted as guilt or fault, and the other driver may use this against you to elude responsibility. A better way to phrase your wording would be to ask if the person is okay, and whether there’s anything you can do to help in that moment. With that, you are coming from a place of support versus accepting blame.

Thanks to David & Philpot, P.L. for their insight into personal injury cases and things you should know about car accidents.

FAQ: How Do I File for Bankruptcy?

Bankruptcy Lawyer

If the bills and unpaid debt are piling up and you feel like you have no other feasible option, you may be considering filing for a Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy. But before you try to take on this enormous feat yourself, it’s important to do your homework and understand your options. Here is everything you need to know about filing for bankruptcy.

What is Bankruptcy?

Bankruptcy is a court process that includes a judge and court trustees examining your financial situation, including your assets and liabilities, and deciding whether to discharge those debts so that you are no longer obligated to pay them.

Bankruptcy gives individuals whose finances have collapsed an opportunity to start over. Whether it was due to bad luck or bad decisions, bankruptcy gives you a second chance.

Who Declares Bankruptcy?

People who typically file for bankruptcy have far more debt than funds to cover them. Folks who have taken on financial obligations such as auto loans, student loans, or a mortgage, and do not have the means to pay it may file for bankruptcy. In 2018, there were 779,828 bankruptcy filings reported, according to the Administrative Office of the United States Courts.

While bankruptcy gives you the opportunity to start anew, it definitely will take a toll on your credit and future ability to use money.

When Should I Declare Bankruptcy?

There is never an ideal time to file for a Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy. But if you think it’s going to take more than five years to pay off all of your debt, it may be a good option. If loans and debt have financially devastated you, bankruptcy may be your best answer.

How Do I File for Bankruptcy?

Filing for a Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy is a legal process that will restructure, reduce, or eliminate most of your debt. Filing bankruptcy with a court is your first step. It’s important to not go at it alone. You should hire the services of a seasoned bankruptcy attorney to help guide you through the process.

You will need to compile all of your financial records, including debts, income, expenses, and assets. This will give you, and your attorney, a better understanding of the situation you face.

The next step you will need to take is to receive credit counseling within 180 days before filing your case. This is mandatory. Many counseling agencies offer these services over the phone or online.

Next, you will file the petition for bankruptcy. You are taking a serious risk if you select to represent yourself, so be sure to call a bankruptcy lawyer Tampa, FL trusts. This is because you may not understand how state or federal bankruptcy laws work or be aware of which ones apply to your unique case, especially when it comes to debts that can or cannot be discharged.

Thank you to our friends and contributors at The Law Office of Michael A. Ziegler, P.L. for their insight into bankruptcy and how to file.

Is Making a False Accusation a Crime?

Criminal Defense Attorney

If an individual reports a crime in good faith and later turns out to be mistaken in their assessment of the situation at hand, it is unlikely that their behavior will be treated as a false accusation by law enforcement officials. However, when individuals intentionally make false accusations of significant criminal behavior, both serious criminal and practical consequences may result from those decisions.

Criminal Consequences of Making a False Accusation

If someone falsely accuses his or her next-door neighbor of stealing that person’s trash cans and no such theft occurred, the criminal consequences associated with this poor judgment are likely to be minimal. But if an individual falsely accuses another person of committing abuse, neglect, a sex crime, a drug crime, a violent crime, a serious white collar crime, terrorism or another significant criminal offense, the accuser may face serious criminal consequences as a result.

Most states treat false accusations of criminal behavior as a misdemeanor. But there are instances in which false accusations can lead to even more significant criminal and civil liability. Depending on the details of the false accusation, the accuser could face jail time, fines, significant community service requirements, mandatory counseling and a permanent criminal record.

Practical Consequences of Making a False Accusation

It is important to understand that in addition to potential criminal consequences, making a false accusation may result in practical consequences as well. For example, if one parent falsely accuses his or her child’s other parent of abusive or neglectful behavior in order to prevail in a child custody hearing, the parent who falsely accused the other may lose primary custody of the affected child. Family law judges do not take false accusations lightly, partially because behaving in this way tends to illustrate that the guilty parent is more concerned with getting his or her way than with seeking a just outcome to the case. Sometimes, parents who are desperate to protect their children from an abusive or neglectful former romantic partner will utter false accusations in an attempt to keep those kids safely away from the other parent. But it is a far better idea to share safety concerns with an experienced family law attorney in order to craft a strong legal custody strategy that is grounded in the truth.  

Legal Guidance Is Available

If you have either made a false accusation against someone or have been falsely accused of criminal behavior, it is important to seek the counsel of an experienced criminal defense attorney. Once an attorney understands the details surrounding your situation, he or she will be able to advise you of your legal options and help to mitigate any damage that has already been done. In addition, after crafting a strong legal strategy, an attorney may be able to help you mitigate any additional negative consequences that may have yet to manifest. Accusations of criminal behavior are serious business and should not be handled lightly. Please consider connecting with an experienced criminal defense attorney Fairfax, VA offers at your earliest possible convenience in order to address the situation at hand.

Thank you to our friends and contributors at Dave Albo – Attorney for their insight into criminal law and false accusations.

How a Remarriage May Affect Alimony

Family Lawyer

It’s not uncommon after a divorce for one or both former spouses to remarry. However, a remarriage can affect alimony payments and terms that were determined by the court at the termination of the previous marriage. If you or your former spouse has recently remarried or is engaged, you may benefit from seeking the legal guidance of an experienced alimony lawyer. Laws that affect eligibility status for alimony can be confusing. Below is some general information that you may find helpful, but because your circumstances may differ, we encourage you to contact an attorney.

Income from a New Spouse

If you or your former spouse has remarried, you may be wondering if the new spouse’s income will be considered by the court, and because of that that the alimony payment amounts might increase. Your alimony lawyer can confirm this holds true in your situation, but usually the new spouse’s income is not considered. This is because unless they adopt your child (with your permission) they do not have a legal responsibility to support your child. If you feel there is sufficient reason for an exception to be made, your alimony lawyer can offer legal guidance.

When the Support Recipient Remarries or Moves in with a Partner

In most cases, alimony is based in large part on the recipient’s income level and their ability to improve their income level. When that person remarries, the court will often decide that if they are now part of a two-income earning marriage, they no longer require alimony. After considering all involved parties’ financial health, your alimony lawyer may advise you that even if the source recipient (whether that’s you or your former spouse) is simply living with a partner, they may no longer qualify for support. However, there are always exceptions to the rules. In petitioning the court to terminate the alimony obligation, the arguments that may be used to prove the cohabitation of the couple include:

  • They are as committed as a married couple because they have made joint major purchases.
  • They are as committed as a married couple because they have a joint savings and/or checking account.
  • They are as committed as a married couple because they have joint debts.
  • They are as committed as a married couple because both of their names are on utility bills and other cohabitation agreements such as a rental agreement.

Remarriages with Blended Children

When people remarry, very often one or both spouses has at least one child from a previous marriage. Known as a blended family, how do the additional children affect the spouse’s obligations for alimony? As an alimony lawyer might tell you, it’s unlikely to have any affect. However, as with anything else, there are always exceptions. Your alimony lawyer can review the details of your circumstances to provide you with the legal insight you require.

Cal an Attorney Today for a Consultation

If you have questions or concerns about how a remarriage may affect the alimony payments you make or receive, call a law office today to request a consultation with an experienced family lawyer Frisco, TX offers.

Thank you to our friends and contributors at Scroggins Law Group for their insight into family law and how remarriage can affect alimony.

Attorney Advice: How to Stay Safe When Riding Your Bike

Bike Accident Lawyer

Bicycle accidents are not a rare occurence on the road, as riders and car drivers often have to share the street when traveling where they need to go. A bicyclist who is struck by a car may not be able to walk away from the scene without medical help. The fact is, the human body is very fragile, especially when compared to the sturdy exterior of a vehicle. If the driver was responsible for the bicycle accident, he or she may have to pay compensation to the rider for injury costs and other damages.

If you or someone you know has suffered in such an accident, we encourage you contact an attorney for assistance. They understand how much of a physical and financial setback this may have caused you. We highly recommend you obtain legal representation for the accident.

Practicing Safety

Sadly, even the most cautious bicyclists who practices safety strategies is still at-risk for being hit by a car, simply because they cannot control how a driver behaves on the road. Perhaps the best thing a bicyclist can do is try to minimize the chances and be alert to surroundings at all times. Here we have listed more safety tips, to help keep yourself out of harm’s way:

  • Refrain from wearing earbuds or using a cellphone while riding, as this can be a distraction and hinder your ability to hear honks or cars approaching
  • Keep both hands on the bars except for when you need to signal
  • Wear appropriate shoes meant for bicycle riding
  • When in a group ride in single file
  • Wear reflective clothing or flickering lights when riding at night
  • Do not ever ride against traffic flow (direct head-on accidents can happen)

What To Do If You Get Hit

If you are ever hit by a car while riding a bike, call 9-1-1 immediately for help. Do not let the driver convince you into not calling the police. He or she may be trying to escape responsibility for what just happened, because the costs for hitting a pedestrian on a bike can be costly. Try to remain calm, and wait for the officer and ambulance to arrive. An attorney is likely to suggest you receive a medical evaluation at the scene, since many injuries may not show themselves in the moments right after due to the shock.

While it isn’t necessary that you hire an attorney for help regarding your bicycle accident, it can make the difference between receiving the compensation you need or having to pay out of pocket for months to come. The costs for injury treatment and recovery can be expensive. A bike accident lawyer Salt Lake City, UT trusts do not believe you should have to pay for this yourself, when it was the driver who caused the accident in the first place.

 


 

Thank you to our friends and contributors at Rasmussen & Miner for their insight into bicycle accidents and tips for staying safe.