Do grandparents get visitation rights after a divorce? North Carolina laws might allow them to.

Posted by on Sep 16, 2017 in Child custody

The bonds between grandparents and their grandchildren are special and unique. Grandparents have much to teach their grandchildren and often lend their life experience to helping the grandchildren grow and mature into bright and motivated people. Whenever parents decide to divorce, however, the relationship between the grandchildren and their grandparents often suffers as a result. A difficult custody battle can make this even more difficult and may even prevent the grandparents from seeing the grandchildren entirely.

Courts will often step in in cases where the grandparents wish to have access to the grandchildren, but laws in North Carolina that were passed in 2011 set the stage for grandparents to have stronger rights when it comes to seeing children following a divorce. While grandparents cannot sue for visitation rights if the grandchildren still live with both parents, they may be able to do so in the case of divorce (under very particular circumstances). The house bill HB-239 allows grandparents to legally file for visitation rights, and the court can determine if it is in the best interests of the grandchildren to allow the grandparents to have visitation rights. This is typically decided on a case-by-case basis and is usually decided if the grandparents and grandchildren request the ability to see each other, if the grandparents are physically and mentally fit to watch the children, and if the visitation rights do not violate the rights of the parents.

Ultimately a strong family bond is essential to a happy childhood, and having loving figures in their lives will undoubtedly benefit the children as they grow. Families need to consider the complete effects that a divorce or separation will have on their children, and some of the ancillary issues like the visitation rights of grandparents must be considered.

Divorce may be inevitable for some couples and the rising rates of divorce show that families no longer feel the need to “stick it out” when things are not working. Divorce does not necessarily have to be a bad thing, especially if the couple simply cannot make things work together. Children may eventually benefit from happy, separated parents, and as long as they are able to retain healthy relationships with all of their family members, they may continue to develop in a positive way.

A child custody lawyer can help parents and grandparents determine how visitation should work. The best interests of the child should always be the first thing on anyone’s mind, and it is always a good idea to discuss all of the options when it comes to sharing visitation. If the custody issues become contentious, an experienced family lawyer should be called in to explain your legal rights when it comes to custody for parents and grandparents alike.  By calling a lawyer, you know that you will be given all of the information you need to make a wise decision on behalf of the child. Whether or not grandparents will be given more rights in future North Carolina legislation remains undecided at this time, but at least the state recognizes that grandparents should be considered.

 

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How Wrong Conviction Causes Innocent People to Suffer Years in Jail

Posted by on May 26, 2017 in Criminal Defense

The U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) makes more than 30,000 drug-related arrests every year. Drug-related activities are serious federal and state crimes. These activities include simple possession, possession with intent, sale of a controlled substance, drug manufacturing, drug trafficking, and drug conspiracy. Punishment for those convicted can include mandatory sentence, steep fines, and possibly many hours of community service, among others. A mandatory sentence is a penalty that a court must hand down to a person convicted of an offense. Felony offenses, under state law, for example, are punishable by a mandatory minimum sentence of at least one year imprisonment. Class A felonies, which are the most serious, carry a minimum of 15 years jail time. Mandatory minimum sentences, however, may be increased due to certain factors, such as prior convictions and aggravating factors.

Two specific arrests frequently made by state and federal arresting officers are simple possession of illegal drugs and possession with intent. Simple possession alleges that an individual possesses a controlled substance for his/her own personal use (illegal or controlled substance includes cocaine, heroin, marijuana and ecstasy). Heroin, marijuana and ecstasy are Schedule I drugs or drugs with no currently accepted medical use and which have a high potential for abuse; cocaine, on the other hand, is a Schedule II drug or a type of illegal drug that also has a high potential for abuse; use of drugs under this category can potentially lead to severe psychological or physical dependence too.

Possession with intent is an activity that is more serious than simple possession. It alleges that a person who possesses illegal drugs has intent to sell, distribute, deliver, or even manufacture a controlled substance since the amount of drugs that he/she possesses is obviously too much for any one person to use. Besides possession of an amount of drugs to much for one’s own use, the presence of some items, like sand/mall plastic bags, containers, or scales are also more likely indicative of a possessor’s intent to sell. A simple possession may only be a misdemeanor; possession with intent, though, is always considered by state and federal authorities as a felony.

While it is only right to catch and punish those involved in drug crimes and drug-related activities, there is the unfortunate reality of innocent people being made to suffer years of jail term due to wrong conviction. This can be due to:

Systemic bias, or institutional bias. This refers to an inherent tendency to support particular outcomes (such as excluding black jurors from cases involving African Americans);

“Tunnel vision” or confirmation bias.” This involves forming an initial impression about one person’s guilt, and then tunneling or focusing on proving that person’s guilt while overlooking exculpatory information and other suspects; and,

Plea bargaining. This is a case wherein an accused confesses to a crime that he/she did not commit in exchange for a minimum sentence for the offense he/she is being charged with. While a plea bargain would save a person from a lengthy time in jail, it also forgoes the necessity of a trial wherein he/she can prove his/her innocence.
Unlike the state system, many federal charges for possession with the intent to distribute can be punished by life sentences. As unlikely as it may be to actually get a life sentence in some cases, the fact that it is even within the realm of possibility should motivate you to do everything you can to protect yourself during the coming legal process. Aside from the prison terms that can be handed down in some cases, the federal courts have the power to level multi-million dollar fines against you if you are convicted. When these charges are considered to be second or even third offenses, their potential penalties are significantly increased; in fact, every third offense on these charges is punishable only by a life sentence.

Despite calls upon state and federal lawmakers to ease sentencing guidelines for drug crimes, the fact remains that a conviction at the state level and especially at the federal level can dramatically change your life. That being said, if you have been arrested for selling drugs and charged with a serious drug offense, you will need to do everything in your power to defend your rights and to protect your future from the consequences of a conviction. Reaching out to a seasoned drug crime defense attorney as soon after your arrest as you are able, may just be the key to defending your rights and saving yourself from a conviction.

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What Can I Do if I’ve Been Charged with Tax Fraud?

Posted by on Apr 23, 2017 in Taxes

To commit fraudulence against the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) is a federal offense that could mean more than just jail time and a hefty fine to the United States government. A criminal conviction on this scale could be catastrophic for the availability of opportunities in any circle – educational, professional, and even social. Even the allegation can be enough to hurt your reputation.

So what can you do if the IRS has placed a case of tax fraud against you? Well, the most recommended course of action is to contact a professional white collar criminal defense attorney as soon as possible; it must become your first priority to be represented by someone who is experienced in the field so that your moves and case can be proceeded in an informed, careful manner. You never know when something you say or do could incriminate you without meaning to.

If you have been charged with tax fraud or tax evasion, there is every chance that you have already been monitored for quite a while, according to the information stated on the website of the lawyers with Kohler Hart Powell, SC. Some are even audited in their place of business in order to check previous account entries in order to be certain of how much was evaded or fraudulently documented (i.e. personal expenses claimed as business expenses).

This can be a difficult, stressful time and it is important that the law is utilized in such a way that it upholds both sides of the argument with objective equality, without malicious influence or prejudice that may be present. Legal proceedings such as this are undoubtedly complicated, which is why legal help should be sought as early on as possible.

Every little thing can matter – this is no time for rookie mistakes as tax fraud is a very serious felony.

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Benefits of Dog Walking

Posted by on Mar 9, 2017 in Dog Walking

Walking your dog can be a hassle, but it shouldn’t be. It should be an activity where you and your buddy can have fun while enjoying the benefits of dog walking. Below are just some of the benefits of dog walking to your dog and to you.

Better health
This is one of the most obvious benefits of dog walking. It keeps not just your dog in top shape, but also yourself. It keeps both of you from obesity and other health conditions that may have negative effects on the body.

Walking can also be a form of exercise if done with enough effort and time, giving you and your dog less problems that are associated with lack of physical activity, such as feelings of weakness, digestion issues, and sleeping problems.

No more energy issues
Some dog breeds really require more physical activity compared to others. If your dog has no way to expend its extra energy, it may resort to behaviors you would not like, such as knocking over household items, chewing on soft furniture, digging on yards, and hyperactivity.

Giving them a way to use up their energy, such as the case for walking, will help them relax and be more behave. This also prevents hard feelings between you and your dog, which can occur if you react violently toward your dog’s destructive behaviors.

Better relationship
Doing activities together, such as walking, also forms better relationships. Having a more solid relationship with your dog will form more trust and love between you two, making each other a lot happier.

With no destructive behaviors and attention-seeking gestures such as excessive barking, you will also have less reason and instances where you can get annoyed and do something reckless to your dog.

These benefits should be enough reasons for you to take your buddy out for a little quality time. With better health, less energy issues, and a more solid relationship, you will appreciate your dog even more. But there are times where you do not have enough time to walk your dog yourself, so it may be best to get someone else to do it for you, like those from Walk! ATX.

But at the end of the day, it is better to walk your dog by yourself, because you will not be able to get the benefit of better relationships if you rely on someone else to do it for you. To maximize the benefits of dog walking, you and your dog should both make the effort.

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Defending Against Controlled Substance/Drug Charges

Posted by on Oct 13, 2016 in Uncategorized

Prosecutors take drug crimes seriously and will often pursue the harshest sentences available in the law against anyone they suspect of committing a drug-related offense. Bearing that in mind, you will need to do everything you can to defend your rights and to protect your future throughout the coming legal process.

According to the website of the Nashville criminal attorneys at Horst Law, if you’re facing drug crime allegations, you will need to develop a comprehensive legal strategy to defend your freedoms and protect your rights in and out of court. Some of the reasons a person may find themselves in trouble with the law on drug-related matters include:

  • Marijuana Possession
  • Cocaine Possession
  • Heroin Possession
  • Methamphetamine Possession
  • Controlled Substance/Drug Possession
  • Controlled Substance/Drug Sales
  • Controlled Substance/Drug Manufacturing / Delivery
  • Controlled Substance/Drug Traffic / Distribution
  • Controlled Substance/Drug Paraphernalia
  • Controlled Substance/Drug Importation

Though your charges are serious, you need to remember that you will still have the opportunity to defend yourself. Whatever your circumstances, it will be in your best interests to start understanding exactly what you’re up against in order to better defend yourself. These are serious matters that are nothing to be trifled with.

If you or someone you love has been charged with an offense related to a controlled substance or drug, you should strive to understand what your options are to defend yourself from the severe penalties that come with drug crime convictions. There are many valid ways a person can defend themselves, so be sure to see if you can apply some such defense to your benefit.

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5 Signs of That Your Elderly Relative Is Being Neglected

Posted by on Jul 13, 2016 in Uncategorized

The last place an elderly or senior citizen would want to be in is a nursing home. Counting down to the end of their lives, they would want to spend it with their loved ones. Unfortunately, they cannot get what they want all the time and end up in nursing homes. For the relatives of the elderly, they send their senior member of the family in such facilities with the belief that their relative would be cared for. The sad news is that this is not happening as some elderly becomes victims of nursing home abuse.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention revealed that more than 500,000 senior citizens are victims of abuse or neglect every year. According to the website of Bruner Law Firm, nursing home abuse or neglect can result to injuries or damages. So how do you know if your relative is a victim of nursing home abuse or neglect? Here are some signs you need to watch out for:

1. Poor Personal Hygiene

Residents of the nursing home should be assisted with basic personal hygiene. Some old people will need help with dressing up, brushing their teeth, clipping their nails, taking a bath, combing their hair, and others. When neglected, the elderly will do things on their own which they are not capable of.

2. Unsanitary living conditions

Not having safe and sanitary living conditions is also a sign of nursing home neglect. Federal Law requires nursing homes to have an established infection control program in order to provide a sanitary and comfortable environment.

3. Lack of Nutrition

This is one of the main is
sues affecting the elderly in nursing home facilities. According to recent studies by the National Center for Biotechnology Information, 20 percent of international nursing home residents suffered from some form of malnutrition.

4. Lack of Mobility

This is one of the challenges faced by residents of these facilities. A good nursing home should provide the elderly with enough room to move around, exercise, or stay active as much as possible. A neglected resident is often left in bed for a long period of time.

5. Unexplained Injuries

Broken bones, bruises, or head injuries indicate nursing home abuse or neglect. When they do not immediately get what they need, the elderly will try to get it on their own. If they walk unassisted, it could result to a fall or other preventable injuries. Figures from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention revealed that about 1,800 adults in nursing homes die from fall-related injuries.
Neglect can be a serious sign of negligence on the part of the facility. Knowing the signs of abuse and neglect can make a difference in protecting your loved ones.

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The Need to Have Insurance Coverage Regardless of One’s Driving History

Posted by on Feb 19, 2016 in Insurance

Never mind what driving history you have, whether you have a clean record or a record marred with traffic violations; if you wish to continue enjoying driving privileges in the US, then you will have to carry auto liability insurance or risk getting caught uninsured, which may result to costly fines, suspension of license, more expensive insurance premiums or possible imprisonment.

Carrying auto liability insurance, also known as the financial responsibility law is a mandate in all US states. Compliance to this financial responsibility law can be done by: (i) purchasing car liability insurance coverage, as is the case in 48 US states; (ii) posting a bond or cash to show proof of financial capability in case of an at-fault accident, which is the case in New Hampshire, the only state where having car insurance is not mandated; or, (iii) paying a significant fee to the state to be able to register a car as uninsured, as is the case in the state of Virginia (the state actually allows this as an alternative to insurance coverage).

The first compulsory car insurance laws were passed around 1925, in the states of Massachusetts and Connecticut. The law was introduced based on the obvious signs that cars would crash, and injure people and damage properties in the process. It was made compulsory to help drivers, who are at fault in the accident, cover the costs of damages to victims and never default on making payments.

The type of car liability insurance coverage a driver should carry depends on which state he or she resides. This means that in tort states, the full tort liability insurance is required. Tort auto insurance is a system wherein a driver, who is at-fault in a car accident, is responsible for paying cost of medical treatment necessitated by his or her victim. Compensation also includes loss of wages, and pain and suffering. There are currently 38 states where tort auto insurance is required.

Twelve other states have the no-fault auto insurance. Unlike in tort states, where victims usually need to file a civil lawsuit against the at-fault driver, to determine the amount of compensation that needs to be paid by the at-fault driver’s insurance provider, the filing of a lawsuit is no longer necessary in no-fault states since compensation is to be paid the respective insurance providers of the drivers involved in the accident, regardless of whose fault the accident is. The twelve states where the no-fault insurance coverage is required are Utah, Pennsylvania, North Dakota, New York, New Jersey, Minnesota, Michigan, Massachusetts, Kentucky, Kansas, Hawaii and Florida.

Despite the law on carrying car insurance, thousands of drivers risk losing their driving privileges due to driving uninsured. The reason: the high cost of insurance premiums. Greenfield, WI car accident attorneys tell drivers that there is a way of being insured without experiencing strain on their budget. With the help of independent car insurance companies, they can get quotes (even via online) for the best deals patterned on their specific needs, driving history and, of course, budget.

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Personal Injury Claims

Posted by on Sep 30, 2015 in Truck Accidents

In general, the main point in question regarding a car accident is deciding who is at fault. This leads to determining whether one motorist was negligent. Proving fault in an accident would be vital in winning a personal injury claim. In majority of car accidents, it is obvious to see who acted carelessly or recklessly, yet according to the website of Houston lawyer, Ali Mokaram, complications such as concluding which traffic laws or rules were violated can make the case difficult. This is the reason why evidence proves vital and can become official supporting documents to strengthen the claim in court.

One of the most important documents to be presented to either the court or an insurance company is the police report. Police reports often provide information on the other driver’s negligence and can even give a citation regarding their reckless driving behavior, but sometimes the type of violation may not be written on the accident report. Nevertheless, this proves that the accident was serious enough for the police to investigate and write about.

Next is the other driver’s violation of the State traffic laws as written on the “Vehicle Code” or “The Rules of the Road.” Since each state can have their own set of traffic laws or rules, you can visit the website, go to the library, or ask the state’s department of motor vehicles about specific laws or rules that may apply to your case. If there is one, it is vital to copy the exact wording and the statute number for faster and easier referral to make the negotiation smoother.

Lastly, there are certain types of accidents that make the other driver 99 percent liable. Rear-end collisions and left-turn accidents are just among such specific accidents that immediately make the other driver liable for the injuries from the accident. This is because it easily proves the other driver’s reckless or negligent driving. There are exceptions to such cases, which are often rare and hard to prove. This is why it is important to have other vital evidence such as police reports, medical records, and eyewitness reports to prove the other driver was at-fault.

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Workers’ Compensation / Workplace Accidents

Posted by on Jul 5, 2015 in Workers' Compensation

Accidents can happen at absolutely any time, as they are exclusively a matter of chance. The damages can be minor or major, and can often happen to workers on the job. And although accidents can happen anywhere at anytime, some occupations or work environments can be more dangerous than others, and lead to injuries and illnesses more easily than others simply because of occupational hazards.

Last year, one out of every five deaths on the job were in the construction industry. The United States Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration even recognizes the “Fatal Four” in the construction business: the four most common fatal workplace accidents. The “Fatal Four” includes falls on the job site, employees being struck by falling objects, electrocutions and employees becoming caught in between objects on the job site.

Although not all workplace injuries are fatally serious, they still have very real effects on workers. Many accidents are caused every year by negligence on both the part of the employer and employee.

According to the website of Scudder & Hedrick, PLLC, poor housekeeping on the job site can lead to falls, slips and all around hazardous conditions for employees. Neglecting safety procedures puts everyone on the job site in danger. Overexertion injuries result from extreme physical activity such as lifting or carrying heavy objects. Even overconfidence on the job site, as a result of repetitiveness on the job, can lead to injuries.

There are a number of different ways to prevent these injuries, however, accidents do happen, and employees can often receive workers compensation. Employees injured on the job may be entitled to workers comp, which is designed to protect workers from job-related ailments, so they can recover from their accidents.

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Truck Accidents

Posted by on Jul 4, 2015 in Truck Accidents

From the time we are taught to drive, drivers are cautioned to always watch out for large trucks and semis. They have stereotypically bad driving habits, and are prone to swerves, erratic driving behaviors and even cause crashes. According to a the website of Ravid & Assoc, any accident with vehicles this large can be much more dangerous than accidents with other types of passenger cars. Thankfully, there are many different defensive driving tactics passenger vehicle drivers can employ to help protect themselves from accidents involving trucks.

Passenger vehicle drivers can employ a number of different strategies to make themselves safer around trucks. Drivers should always try to not cut off trucks. Although the urge is understandable, due to the slow speed at which trucks drive, it is a very unsafe driving tactic. Trucks have less visibility than cars, and have longer braking distances. In addition, never brake abruptly.

In addition, it is wise to always be aware of the difficulties involved in driving a large truck, by being cognizant of what the driver is facing, you can better protect yourself and make yourself less of a hazard to the driver. Trucks are known to swerve around on roads because they are prone to tire blowouts and can be blown about easily from wind. Texas truck accident attorneys sometimes encourage drivers to be aware of blind spots truck drivers are have. Passing only on the left side of trucks can help protect passenger car drivers, as the right side of trucks are full of blind spots. Also, drivers can protect themselves by proceeding with caution when trucks are making turns, as trucks make very wide turns because of their size.

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