Halloween is a holiday that many people look forward to for months before it happens. From the candy to the costumes and parties, there’s something for every kid and adult to look forward to. For adults though, Halloween can sometimes cause interesting legal difficulties if the party gets out of hand. Continue readings
Travelling to another country is obviously one of the best ways to see the world, and if you’re like many Americans, you might want to visit far off locales where the culture is very different. While travelling this way can be very rewarding and exciting, it can also be problematic for many Americans in certain parts of the world due to political conflicts and tension.
This doesn’t mean you need to stay home though – it just means that you need to be careful when you’re travelling. Use this guide to help you avoid serious problems when you’re travelling abroad as an American citizen.
Unlike the United States, some countries have very different penalties for getting into an accident. For example, in Mexico, an American that causes a traffic accident could end up in jail until he or she pays a fine to get out. In some cases, those fines could be very expensive. Also, diplomatic intervention may be necessary to get you out of jail if somebody is injured.
If you must drive in a foreign country, do so carefully and never consume alcohol or take your eyes off the road even if there are no laws to prohibit cell phone usage.
Drinking Too Much
In some places, particularly in parts of the world where the majority of residents are Muslim, public intoxication can be a serious crime. While many hotels and restaurants in places like Dubai have a license to serve alcohol to foreigners, drinking too much out in the public can land you in jail very quickly.
If you’re going to drink in countries where the population doesn’t consume alcohol as a general rule, make sure you remain relatively sober if you’re going out. Otherwise it is wise to stick to your hotel.
2015 will be the year when savvy lawyers are going to get the best return on investment (ROI) from their Facebook marketing efforts. Facebook announced a string of changes for 2015, most meant to make the company more transparent on how it handles users’ data and give users more privacy control. In light of the new changes, here are a few things lawyers should know.
Facebook now allows users to filter the ads displayed on their timelines through a new tool called “Privacy Basics”. Therefore, to reach the right prospects and at the least cost, lawyers will have to laser-target their Facebook campaigns.
Law Firm Location
Facebook is improving its location services. One of the features being tested is the ability of users to see friends that are nearby. Still on location, users can also search for businesses near them. Lawyers should ensure their online business profiles are up to date. The hours of operations should be indicated and accurate contact information provided.
Facebook took a number of measures to minimize the visibility of low quality posts on users’ timelines. Attorneys with a presence on Facebook should focus on creating meaningful connections with their audience through posting engaging content. The content should be relevant, educative, entertaining and posted at times when majority of the audience is the social network.
Facebook has also started showing users more trending topics on their timeline. This is the social network’s effort to ensure it provides relevant content to users. Lawyers should be in the know of what is happening on the news and be able to adapt it to their Facebook audiences. Providing legal insight on trending events is a good way to create relevant content for your practice’s Facebook fans.
Over the past decade, cell phones have become a part of everyday life for most people. As such, texting has also become a part of daily life. Most people don’t think twice about texting while engaging in other routine activities, including driving, even though it is quite dangerous.
Texting while driving is more dangerous than drunk driving. The behavior makes drivers anywhere between six and 23 times more likely to get into an accident than they would under normal driving conditions.
While it is a major issue across multiple age groups, incidences of teenagers driving and texting are far more frequent than incidences in other age segments. 82 percent of Americans age 16 and 17 own cell phones. More than a third of them state that they have texted while driving. Meanwhile 13 percent of drivers in the 18-20 year old population segment who were involved in car accidents admitted to talking or texting on cell phones at the time of the crash.
A new study revealed that texting while driving has become the number one killer of teenagers, surpassing drinking and driving. Over 3,000 teenagers die each year from texting while driving, slightly above the approximately 2,700 teenagers who die annually while driving under the influence of alcohol. Due to the widespread use of cell phones, it’s not hard to understand why these numbers have risen in recent years. Teenagers have their phones with them and are using them every day of the week. With the occasional exception, most kids aren’t drinking and driving on a daily basis.
Carefree Attitude of Teens
One of the scariest aspects of teenage driving and texting is that the majority of teenage drivers with cell phones don’t think that it’s a problem. Three quarters of young adults are somewhat to very confident that they can drive while texting safely. More than half of young adult drivers believe that it’s not difficult to text while driving. However, there is no denying that it is a problem. Consider the fact that teenagers who text while driving spend nearly 10 percent of their driving time partially or completely outside of their lanes.
It is easy to look at the statistics on teenage texting and driving and put all of the blame on teenagers. While adults aren’t forcing young adults to engage in this behavior, many of them are setting poor examples. Nearly half of young drivers have witnessed one or both of their parents driving while talking on their cell phones. Additionally, 48 percent of kids age 12 to 17 have been in a car while the driver was texting.
Each year more states are passing laws against texting while driving. Currently 10 states plus Washington D.C. prohibit drivers from using handheld cell phones, and 39 states plus Washington D.C. prohibit all drivers from texting while driving. 32 states plus Washington D.C. prohibit new drivers from using cell phones while driving altogether.
Having laws against texting and driving seems like a good idea, but the laws aren’t doing anything to bring down the incidence of texting and driving. People are just as likely to text in a state with texting laws as they are in a state without texting laws. Some schools have been taking matters into their own hands by having their driving program students participate in driving scenarios that demonstrate the dangers of texting and driving. Academic teachers are also discussing the matter with students, placing a strong emphasis on the severe consequences of texting and driving.
Law enforcement officers are contemplating a couple new penalties to reduce the incidence of texting and driving. Currently most states have limited fines and other penalties for texting and driving. While increased fines and heavy handed penalties aren’t going to prevent all drivers from being irresponsible, they may make some people think twice when they reach for their cell phones while driving. Some law enforcement officers have also talked about making more widespread use of phone apps that prevent calls and texts from coming in when the app detects that the cell phone is in a moving car, such as the free AT&T Drive Mode anti-texting and driving mobile app.
If you have teenage children with drivers’ licenses, think about making a no texting and driving pledge together to help keep everyone in the family accountable for their actions. Some parents also install drivecams in their teenagers’ vehicles to monitor driver activity through real-time video feedback.
The holiday season is a great time to have fun with friends and family in a way you don’t really get to throughout much of the year. However, when the alcohol starts flowing, many people get into conflicts that could put a damper on the season, and even put you behind bars.
While a high holiday crime rate might not make sense to you, and you may not think you’ll be part of the statistics, there are some crimes you should watch out for. Avoid these six holiday crimes at all costs since they really could ruin your season and end up with you or a loved one behind bars.
It makes sense that shoplifting is a top crime during the holiday season, but stealing to get gifts just isn’t worth it. It could land you in jail for a considerable amount of time, and there’s really no person that a thoughtful card and a hug wouldn’t please.
Much like shoplifting, robbery is often associated with the need for cash and gifts during the holidays. It’s not worth it, and robbery can land you in jail much longer than stealing a watch from a store, especially if somebody gets hurt in the process.
People tend to drink in celebration mode over the holidays, but jumping in the car after is no good. Either take a cab or make sure you’re under the limit when you get in your vehicle.
Theft is all about money over the holidays, and stealing cars is a way to get lots of cash. The repercussions could put you in jail for years.
Tempers flare around family and alcohol, and assaults are all too common. Even hitting a family member could cost you.
Getting arrested can be a very traumatic experience. Knowing what to do ahead of time can relieve some of the stress and help you get through the process faster and more efficiently. Once you have been taken into custody, the police will begin to ask you questions concerning the event or activity that led to your arrest.
It is important to know your rights and be respectful at all times. After an arrest, your actions will help determine the outcome. Let’s take a look at things to remember during this type of situation:
Ask for an attorney immediately – If you are being arrested and taken into custody, you have the right to an attorney. Once you have read your Miranda rights, the first thing you should do is request the services of an attorney. If you cannot afford one, a public defender will be assigned to your case.
Don’t answer any question unless your attorney is present – If you have been arrested, the police had probable cause to take you into custody. Once you have requested an attorney, you can no longer be questioned until the attorney arrives and has discussed the case with you.
Know what you are being charged with – If you have been arrested and Mirandized there is a pending charge against you. You have the right to have the charges explained to you before you submit to any interrogation.
Bail – Find out if you are eligible for bail, and what the bail amount will be.
Call a friend or family member to have them hire a bail bonds agent – Have a friend or family member contact an Orange County bail bonds agent to get the bond process started.
When a citizen is detained by law enforcement officials, there will be a court date he will have to attend to formally hear the complaint of the criminal charges in his case. He will be expected to plea “guilty,” “not guilty,” or no contest if it is available. At this time, the judge will set a bail amount if the suspect does not appear to be a danger to society or a flight risk. Since the individual is accused of a crime, he or she must be detained.
Bail grants the individual release until the court renders judgment. If the individual cannot pay the entire bail amount, he or she can request services from a bail bondsman. He pays the bondsman a percentage of the bail to grant release until he appears in court again.
If the client feels that his bail is too high and would like a reduction, he must go through a bail reduction hearing. His attorney has to get the case in front of the judge and it could be beneficial:
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The bail bondsman would provide testimony in favor of the individual.
Once the bail reduction consideration hearing has been set, the bondsman must approve your lowered amount for bond.
To be prepared for the hearing, you must have the following documents: pay stubs, mortgages, and deeds. The court, as well as the bondsman, will need to see all income and expenses.
The individual should provide all of the information to the bondsman and lawyer beforehand.
Choosing a good bondsman is vital
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The judge favors an experienced bondman’s opinion
He also needs to feel that the bondsman can find you if you flee
The bondsman should provide a check in schedule for the individual to follow, so that the judge would be comfortable in reducing bail.
Slip and fall accidents are very common in the courts, and thousands are processed each and every year in the United States. Even more, slip and fall cases are fodder for the courts around the world. In some cases, they’re even the reason that a small business may have to close their doors and pack up for good.
While you may feel somewhat helpless as a business owner, since you obviously have to clean your floors, there are few things that you can do. For many businesses, the simple answer is to use basic ‘Wet Floor’ signs that will let customers know that they could be in danger.
However, what are businesses to do if a customer or employee slips on a wet floor or otherwise hurts themselves in their space? The answers aren’t always as simple as they seem, but there are ways you can protect yourself.
Use this guide to make sure that you and your business is covered in case anyone gets hurt in your office or retail space. Otherwise you could end up having to close your doors or start all over again with very little money.
Clean When Closed
It might sound really obvious to a lot of small business owners, but it’s obviously your best bet to do your major cleaning when people aren’t working in your office or shopping in your retail store. Even if you do your cleaning yourself because you run a small store, do it when you’re closed in the morning or evening.
That way you don’t have to worry about anybody slipping or falling that doesn’t work for your company. You can also block off the area if it’s a typically high volume space so nobody can walk on it.
Even if you do most of your cleaning when your office or store is closed, you still need to take other steps to protect yourself.
Always Use Signage
Doing as much of your cleaning as you can when there’s nobody around is always a good idea, whether you do the cleaning yourself or employ a janitor or entire crew. The fewer people around during the cleaning process the less likely you are to have a problem or an injury each time you clean.
However, even if you do your cleaning at a low traffic time, you may still have employees coming in and out or customers moving around in your store. There are also going to be times when you’re forced to do some cleaning in order to make the environment safe again. For example, an employee may spill a cup of coffee in the lobby or a customer could drop something in your retail store.
In those cases, it is important to use signage that lets employees and customers know that the floors are wet or that they could be a potential slipping hazard. What’s even more important than simply using the signs is making sure that they’re actually in the right place though.
When you’re playing ‘Wet Floor’ signs, make sure they’re clearly visible from any point where somebody might enter the area. In a large space like a building lobby, that can require more than one or two signs.
You’ll also want to place signs toward the center of the wet area since somebody walking through may have their vision focused on where they are going – not right in front of them. When it comes to potential slip and fall accidents, you don’t want to take any risks.
If you do cut corners with signage you could be out a lot of money if a lawsuit comes across your desk.
Are You Recording?
One of the things your attorney is likely going to ask you if you are ever brought into court because of a slip and fall case is simple: Were you recording when the accident happened? That’s right – many employers actually record the area where cleaning is to happen, though you won’t be doing this only when you’re cleaning if your smart.
The same security cameras that you use – or should be using – can help to make sure that you are covered if anybody is ever injured on your property. Simply having those cameras recording the fact that you had signs out can keep a complaint from going to court or costing you any money at all.
Just make sure that the cameras can see your signs when you’re cleaning floors or a spill has occurred.
Did you know October is National Cyber Security Awareness Month? This is the perfect opportunity to learn more about cyber security and how you can protect your information from cyber-attacks, intrusions, and other attacks online that can compromise your data.
Create stronger passwords.
Do a check-up on your passwords and make sure you’re not using sensitive information such as birthday or loved ones’ names as your password. It is best to use a mixture of both lower and upper case lettering with numbers as most cyber-attacks use password generators to try and “brute force” their way into someone’s information.
Keep up to date with software.
Remember to always update your software whenever possible both on your laptop and mobile devices. These updates install patches that can help fix weaknesses in security as well as strengthen it.
Use security measures online.
Try to limit the personal information you post online through social media websites and always use the security settings offered by these websites. Facebook, Twitter, and other websites all allow you to make your profile as private or public as you see fit.
Be cautious of emails and other online messages.
A good rule of thumb when it comes to emails asking you for money or to click through to an unknown website is if it’s too good to be true, it probably is. Phishing scams use links in emails and other online messages to steal your information and typically are found in emails. It is also good to have a good spam filter for all your incoming emails as well.
Your first appearance in the court is called an arraignment. Hiring a bail bondsman may not be enough to fully protect yourself in court, so you will want to be prepared for what will occur during your arraignment. There have been many instances in which arraignments are unpredictable. Here are a few things to expect during this process:
The judge will formally tell you what the specific charges are against you. Knowing what you are accused of is protected by the Sixth Amendment of the Constitution. The court will also advise you of all of your Constitutional rights.
You may enter a plea, either guilty, not guilty, or no contest. These pleas depend on the crime and what your lawyer advises you to do, if you need one.
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A future trial date is set if applicable.
Bail and release issues are settled. The bail amount is determined by a number of factors in serious cases, such as flight risk, danger to others, etc. Usually for small offenses that require a bond or bail being posted, the amount is relatively low. Some bail bond companies arrange to have a bondsman present at the arraignment, so that they can post bail for you even if the amount has gone up.
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You have a right to an attorney even if you can’t afford one, so if your case is serious, get a public defender to help you. A bonds agent can only help you post bail; they are not there to give you legal advice. Make sure you know your rights and your options are clear.