July 7, 2006
Driving Under the Influence (DUI), commonly referred to as drunk driving, is the act of using a transportation device, such as a car, motorcycle, boat, plane, or bicycle, while under the effects of alcohol or any other drug that impairs mental ability or motor skills. The most common drug cited in examples of DUIs is alcohol, but other common drugs include tranquilizers, marijuana, opiates, amphetamines, and cocaine. In most countries, it is a serious criminal offence.
In the United States, a federal law prohibits driving with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.08 percent or higher. Driving with a BAC of 0.08 percent or higher is considered driving under the influence, and is punishable with DUI charges. Some states have a lesser charge sometimes called ‘driving while impaired’ (DWI) for people with a BAC in the 0.05-0.08 range. In many European countries the legal limit is 0.05 BAC, some countries don’t allow any amount of alcohol in the blood of vehicle operators, and some counties don’t have any laws about driving under the influence at all. In most countries, the drivers of commercial vehicles, such as planes, trains and buses, have stricter limitations on alcohol usage while driving and harsher penalties for violating them.
In the United States, driving under the influence of drugs other than alcohol is referred to as DUID, and carries similar penalties as a DUI. However, because there is often difficulty in determining if a driver is impaired by the drugs found in his or her blood, current laws state that ANY amount of an illegal substance found in a drivers system makes them subject to DUID charges.
The fines and punishments for a DUI usually vary depending on the circumstances of the crime, and whether or not there is a history of prior offences. A first time offender stopped by a police officer for swerving slightly will receive a much lighter penalty than a repeat offender who drove erratically and crashed.
The penalties vary from state to state across the United States, but usually involve a steep fine, temporary suspension of your driver’s license, and possibly some amount of jail time. First offences rarely involve jail time unless the DUI incident involved injury or death. Deaths caused by someone under the influence usually carry the additional charge of vehicular manslaughter, and are much more serious crimes.
Because DUIs are such a common criminal charge, there are many defense lawyers that specialize solely in representing people with such charges. These lawyers are often called ‘DUI attorneys’. Since a DUI is a serious charge, it is highly recommended that you speak to a lawyer as soon as possible after receiving a DUI.
Posted by Mark at 8:56 AM
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May 23, 2006
Obtaining the services of a competent Michigan lawyer can be a lucrative proposition. Michigan, after all, is one of the most litigious states in the country. Every doctor, every teacher, every landlord – really, every property owner of any kind there – has to occasionally obtain the services of a Michigan lawyer.
All of this turns out to be very good news for those of us in the legal profession. You see, at a time when, because of the large number of new law school grads, lawyers across the country are finding themselves out of work, a Michigan lawyer like myself finds a higher level of job security. I am comfortable – really verging on wealth – and business shows know signs of slowing down.
Of course, this isn't just a matter of being in the right place at the right time. Sure, being a Michigan lawyer constitutes an ideal placement, but really in this business, its your record combined with your publicity that do it. I have been involved in a wide range of legal fields, and have met great success in all of them. I have clerked for circuit court judges, and ghost written some of the most important decisions of the decade. I have been involved, as an attorney, in divorce law, inheritance, personal injury, malpractice, and real estate. I even did a three year stint as a prosecutor back in my more idealistic days when I was fresh out of college. I'm not the only Michigan lawyer, and it is only because of my tireless work that I am among the most successful of them.
Of course, working at a good law firm will also do amazing things for your exposure. I work at one of the most respected law firms in the state, and have for ten years. I was never seen as a shoddy or second rate Michigan lawyer, but I certainly was rather green when I began to work at Levin and Schlitz. Green, at least, in comparison to my current level of success. But seeing where I worked, and being aware that the partners valued my legal skills and credentials enough to trust me to represent their law firm, There would be a respect which would come over those I came into professional contact with, be they judges, prosecutors, or even police investigators. To make it as a Michigan lawyer is something many can do, but to obtain true respect from your pears requires both talent and the right connections.
Posted by Mark at 12:43 AM
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May 22, 2006
So, you have a car eh? And you drive it along every day? God forbid, but what do you do when you happen to get into an accident and your car suffers extensive damage. Well, based on who is at fault, the insurance companies will more or less be able to replace the car. That is what you pay that premium for. But what if you yourself have made the accident? Or worse, been affected by the accident physically and emotionally? In such cases, the insurance companies will be able to do precious little for you. But based on the nature and status of the case, a car accident lawyer will be able to help you.
Like criminal lawyers specialize in crime, civil lawyers specialize in civic issues and litigation lawyers specialize in litigation, the car accident lawyer is a new breed of lawyer who can help you set the accident right. This is especially so in cases where the other driver, who happens to be at fault, has little or no insurance. At such instances, you will need to use the services of a car accident lawyer, who can not only get you adequate money and respite, but will be able to navigate through the quagmire of information that characterizes such scenarios.
A typical case in point pertains to a friend of mine. He was happily driving along when out of the blue, a speeding car jumped the signal and crashed into him. My friend suffered not just concussions and broken ribs, but also had his car nearly totaled. To add insult to injury, the driver of the other car was a minor, had no license and absolutely no insurance. Putting him in jail would not help my friend. So, he decided to use the services of a car accident lawyer.
This car accident lawyer was good. He not only managed to get my friend money from the insurance company, but also managed to work out a deal to reduce the amount of premium he would have to pay for no fault of his. Since then, my obviously elated friend has been going around recommending the services of the car accident lawyer to all other people he knows. Which is how I heard about it in the first place!
But remember, like most other legal issues, using the services of a car accident lawyer can prove to be a double edged sword. If you manage to win the case, great! But if you lose the case, remember that you will be the payer party rather than the payee! So evaluate your chances before you fish out the yellow pages and ask for a car accident lawyer.
Posted by Mark at 11:02 PM
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May 20, 2006
When something as awful as a birth injury happens to cross paths with you, it is important to know that a birth injury lawyer is just a phone call away. No one can possibly know the trauma and heartache a person must be feeling when dealing with an issue like this, and so information in regard to birth injury lawyers is not easy to find in many cases.
You should know as someone going through this that you don’t have to do it yourself. By contacting a birth injury lawyer you can get valuable information to help you along the path you are desperately struggling to get through. A birth injury lawyer can also be someone of support and empathy during these hard times, but for the most part they will help to seek justice where justice is due. A birth injury lawyer can make sure a birth injury lawsuit is done properly and with as much care as possible.
It is important to keep in mind that not all birth injuries are due to negligence. It is hard to keep this in perspective when you are a person suffering the outcome of a birth injury. A birth injury lawyer works with qualified medical professionals to help in discovering what happened, how it happened, and why it happened.
If it turns out that the birth injury is due to malpractice or negligence, the birth injury lawyer will help you to get compensated fairly. If findings of an investigation lead to evidence that the birth injury was not caused by malpractice or negligence, at least you will have the peace of mind knowing there was nothing anyone could have done to make the outcome different than it is.
When choosing your attorney, make sure you choose a qualified professional that specializes in the field. A lawyer who deals with auto accidents will not be able to help you to the degree that you need the help most. Your family lawyer probably will not be able to offer specific help in this matter either, but they may be able to refer you to a birth injury lawyer that can. Referrals are your best bet if you can find one; because it means that the person you are referred to is known as doing extremely well in their field of work. What this means to you is the highest fighting chance you can have when it comes to an issue as delicate as this one.
Posted by Mark at 10:36 PM
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May 6, 2006
Since, on the whole, the majority of the U.S. population will end up driving a car a few times every week, the odds are pretty good that eventually you’re going to be pulled over and given a traffic violation. It happens to the best of us (well, except for some senators and other highly ranked elected officials, but that’s a topic for another day). Maybe you were in a hurry to get to work so you were going a little fast, or you were going the speed of traffic and didn’t see the cop, or you were changing the stations on your radio so you accidentally blew through a stop sign. Whatever the traffic violation, you’re probably going to have the option of signing the affidavit written on the back of the ticket and sending in your cheque for the fine, or you can try and fight the traffic violation. More serious traffic violations, like D.W.I’s or vehicular manslaughter charges, require a court appearance, but most petty offenses can be taken care of by simply paying the standard fine unless you’re a repeat offender.
So, should you give in and send in your cheque? That depends a great deal on what sort of traffic violation you were given and what the circumstances of the violation were. It also pays off to take a look at the state statutes you were charged against. In particular, take a look at whether or not the traffic violation you were cited with fits under the heading of a “strict liability offense.” If it does, then you’re in luck. Often charges like inattentive driving fall into this category, but the specifics will vary from state to state. A strict liability offense classification means that the officer who cited you with the violation will have to prove in court that you committed the traffic violation in question. In the case of inattentive driving the officer will have a hard time proving his or her case unless you explicitly said that you were changing radio stations or doing something else besides concentrating on the road. These traffic violations are therefore fairly easy to fight.
Other violations, like speeding, aren’t so easy. In cases not classified as strict liability offenses a traffic judge is much more likely to take the word of a law enforcement officer over yours, so unless you were in some sort of an emergency situation or can prove conclusively that you didn’t violate the traffic law you may be better off paying the ticket.
Posted by Mark at 2:39 PM
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May 5, 2006
Next to being a priest or a rabbi, a personal injury attorney probably has more bad jokes created on his behalf than a member of any other profession. “What do you call 1,000 lawyers at the bottom of the ocean? Not nearly enough!” “What do you call 1,000 lawyers covered up to their necks in sand? Not enough sand!” So why is the personal injury attorney portrayed in such a bad light? A lot of it comes from the stereotype of the personal injury attorney as an ambulance chaser, hanging around in hospital waiting rooms to accost injured people to see if they have a case where there’s money to be made. They’re also often seen as sleeze-balls, persuading clients to fake back injuries or other problems in order to secure large settlements.
Part of this stigma may come from the fact that, if personal injury attorneys are good at their jobs, there’s a good chance they’ll be making some pretty good money. The standard pay scale is 33%. That is, if you’re injured and an attorney handles your case, if you win your attorney is entitled to 1/3 of the monetary settlement. This may seem like a lot, especially since you were the one who was injured. However, think about what happens if you don’t win. Most personal injury attorneys won’t charge for consultations or even for taking on your case. If you end up losing your case, your personal injury attorney will have to swallow all the costs for the case including administrative, filing, personnel, and often even court costs. Every case is a gamble for a personal injury attorney, so in some ways they’re justified in asking for a significant portion of the settlement.
So is the stereotype of the ambulance chaser justified? Though you’ll probably be able to find a personal injury attorney with flexible morals without much trouble, most of them do ground themselves with solid ethical frameworks. If you can get past the stereotype and think about the work they really do, much of the work of personal injury attorneys is quite noble. In a sense they’re righting wrongs and getting money and settlements for people who have been injured by no fault of their own. Sure, you’ll find the occasional victim who is falsely claiming injury after a fender bender, but most of the people who file personal injury claims have been seriously hurt and are just trying to find a way to cover their medical bills and lost wages.
Posted by Mark at 1:50 PM
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May 4, 2006
If you want to be an attorney you’re going to have to go to law school. Though it may sound like an easy task once you’ve finally decided to go to law school, it’s not quite so easy. There are hundreds of law schools to choose from, and getting into law schools in the first place isn’t an easy task.
The first thing you’re going to have to do when applying to law schools is to get an undergraduate degree. The subject matter isn’t particularly important; I’ve worked with attorneys who majored in dance and vocal music as undergrads. However, your grade point average is important, and law schools usually favor candidates who show particular strengths in writing and speaking. Don’t bother with a pre-law major; you’ll learn everything about the law you need to know in law school. Major in what you’re interested in.
Once you have an undergraduate degree you still can’t start applying to law schools; you need to take the Law School Admission Test first. The LSAT is offered four times a year, and it’s usually a good idea to take the LSAT in the June a year and a half before you plan on entering school, i.e. if you wanted to start law school in August of 2008, take the June 2007 LSAT. Many students take the LSAT in October, but if you do poorly on the October LSAT you won’t have time to retake the test before you need to turn in your applications.
Once you have your LSAT score it’s time to start applying to law schools. Fortunately, the Law School Advisory Council makes this a relatively painless process, handling applications for virtually all ABA-approved law schools online. You can apply to as many schools as you want, though most will charge application fees between $50 and $75.
Eventually you’ll have to make a decision on what law school you eventually want to attend. This decision often depends on many factors including finances, geography, and reputation. You can find all sorts of law school rankings in various publications and online, and though these ranking systems can give you a good idea of what law schools are highly regarded, the rankings aren’t very scientific and don’t tell you a whole lot about the law schools you may be applying to. One of the best things you can do to help make your decision easier is to visit all of the schools that accepted you, though this can get expensive if you’ve applied to schools on both coasts.
Posted by Mark at 9:15 AM
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May 3, 2006
If you’re applying to law school, your law school admission test, or LSAT, is by far the most important factor in whether or not you’ll get into law school and, perhaps more importantly, what law schools will accept you. Though many law schools make a big show about how they don’t cut by the numbers, most will admit that your undergraduate grade point average and your law school admission test score are the two indicators given the most weight when they review their pool of applicants.
Your law school admission test score is heavily weighted because the test itself is designed to measure how well you’re expected to do in law school. A high LSAT score doesn’t guarantee you’ll be a good lawyer or even a good law student, but to score well on the law school admission test you need to show critical thinking ability and solid reading comprehension skills; two of the most important skills to a law school student.
A lot of both past and present controversy has been stirred up over the law school admission test, along with other standardized tests like the ACT and SAT. Detractors claim that these tests are biased toward students who “test well” and that they don’t adequately measure students’ ability. Though these claims may have merit, it still holds that law schools are most concerned with your GPA and LSAT score. These, along with your personal statement, will decide the fates of all but a few law school applicants.
So, if you’re applying to law school you’re going to want to have a good LSAT score. The best way to get a good score is to study; even great students don’t do very well on the first LSAT they take. The LSAT is given four times a year, and each year three of these old tests are released to the public. The best way to study is to get an LSAT prep book, Kaplan is a popular publisher for these guides. The prep book will give you an overview of the LSAT along with some suggestions on how to study and how to do the test well. Once you have the basics down, start taking old tests under timed conditions, since you’ll have to take the real LSAT under timed conditions as well. Since the LSAT format doesn’t change from test to test, familiarizing yourself with the format of the test and the format of the questions will be a huge help, especially when dealing with the logic puzzles. Don’t take the official LSAT until your practice test score has stabilized within five points or so; once you get to that point you can be pretty sure your official score will be in the same area.
Posted by Mark at 1:15 PM
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August 31, 2005
A personal injury attorney has possibly the worst reputation of all types of lawyers. Many people will refer to a personal injury lawyer as an ‘ambulance chaser’. The basic reason for this is that the business of a personal injury attorney relies on people getting hurt, and being able to blame that pain on someone else. In some cases, a personal injury attorney will be performing an honorable service as some people deserve to be compensated for an injury that was the fault of someone else. However, the negative reputation given to a personal injury attorney has come from the many times that they try to place blame on someone for a fluke accident. In many instances people will get hurt by no fault of anyone, and often times a personal injury attorney will try to place blame on an innocent person or organization.
When looking for a personal injury attorney, the most important thing you should be looking for is their level of experience. Has your potential personal injury attorney gone through cases similar to your own? Do they have a good record of past wins? Do they obtain good settlements for their clients? Does your potential personal injury attorney settle most cases outside of court or are they usually taken to trial? Depending on what you are looking for from your personal injury attorney, these questions will need to be answered. When you know exactly what you want from a personal injury attorney, the task of finding one will become much easier.
Posted by ben at 12:49 PM
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August 30, 2005
As soon as the medical ramifications of exposure to asbestos became known, there are immediately appeared an extensive network of people acting as a mesothelioma attorney. A mesothelioma attorney will represent clients who have developed this rare form of cancer that is caused by asbestos. The goal of a mesothelioma attorney is to prove that their client’s exposure to asbestos occurred at the fault of someone else, usually their employer. The mesothelioma attorney will then fight for the employer to compensate their client for the suffering they have undergone. Since mesothelioma can be fatal, some of the settlements achieved by a mesothelioma attorney in the past have been quite substantial.
Although asbestos has not been used in the work place, a mesothelioma attorney will realize that the impact of asbestos can occur as much as several decades after exposure. Thus, many victims who currently would hire a mesothelioma attorney are not young people. Since many of the companies responsible for the asbestos exposure in the past are no longer still in operation, it is difficult for many people who would legitimately hire a mesothelioma attorney to actually do so. Many of these companies have gone bankrupt over time, either from business conditions or due to large asbestos related settlements. This leaves a lot of the victims with no compensation for a life threatening illness that they now have due to a previous employer. This type of injustice is what will drive many people who act as a mesothelioma attorney.
Posted by ben at 1:19 PM
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