The Fourth Amendment and DUI Charges

Posted by on Jun 9, 2018 in DUI, DUI Attorney

The Fourth Amendment to the United States Constitution reads as follows:

The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.

Nowadays, the Fourth Amendment is known as the protection against unreasonable searches and seizures. These words that were ratified in 1788 still carry significant weight today. Because I am an enthusiast of the Constitution, specifically the Fourth Amendment, I decided to do a little research on the protections against unreasonable searches and seizures as related to DUI charges.

At the outset, I came across an excellent blog by Truslow & Truslow that explained the basics of the Fourth Amendment and its relationship to DUI charges. The blog revealed that sometimes, if an officer pulls an individual over with “reasonable suspicion,” and the individual is ultimately charged with a DUI crime, the individual’s Fourth Amendment rights may have been violated when they were pulled over. The blog stressed that cooperation is vital if you are pulled over, even with the Fourth Amendment, because the protection can often be used to reduce, or even eliminate the DUI charge in the later stages of the criminal process.

Over the course of my research, I noticed that the relationship between the Fourth Amendment and DUI charges is an ever-changing area of the law. In most DUI cases, an officer pulls over an individual under reasonable suspicion that was created by some strange driving behavior. Sometimes, an officer may even be said to have reasonable suspicion if he or she receives an anonymous tip of poor driving by the individual.

What interested me the most regarding the Fourth Amendment and DUI charges was whether roadblocks, commonly referred to as “DUI Checkpoints,” constituted a violation of a person’s rights against unreasonable searches and seizures. Roadblocks are areas on the road where officers will stop drivers to inspect for signs of intoxication. Some states allow roadblocks while others do not. It seems that the law tends to go both ways on whether these checkpoints are constitutional or if they are in violation of an individual’s right against unreasonable searches and seizures. The issue seems to boil down to the intrusion the roadblocks create for drivers, the protocol followed by the officers at the roadblock, and a determination of whether the roadblock combats a public safety concern.

In closing, I learned a great deal about the Fourth Amendment and its relationship to DUI charges. DUI charges are very complex, and the Fourth Amendment is very complicated, which makes for an interesting relationship. The law seems to be continually changing, and it does not appear that it will be stopping any time soon.

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Have you or Someone you Love Been Assaulted on a Cruise Ship?

Posted by on Sep 4, 2017 in Accidents at Sea, passenger claims

Unfortunately, physical and sexual assaults are not uncommon and one of the most likely places they will occur is on cruise ships. Maritime environments are among the most hazardous. Passengers are often the victims of assault by crew members, but workplace violence between crew members is also highly likely. According to FBI statistics 55% of sexual assaults and 22% of sexual assaults occurred on cruise ships. Most occurred in private cabins and were related to alcohol use.

Violent Incident Factors and Common Injuries

One contributing factor to violent incidents may be the cramped conditions of a commercial vessel. Spending weeks or months on a ship can be very taxing. No room to stretch, no solid land, time away from family and friends, and time with the same people all day is incredibly stressful, even for mentally and physically healthy workers. A worker with an underlying mental illness may be triggered by stressful sea conditions. Many people cope with this kind of stress by using alcohol and/or drugs, which only increases the likelihood of violent incidents.

Some common injuries sustained from physical assault are:

  • Head and back injuries
  • Neck injuries
  • Broken bones
  • Sprains
  • Eye injuries
  • Puncture wounds

Physical and sexual assaults at sea can often lead to anxiety, depression, and post-traumatic stress disorder in victims. In many cases, assaults lead to fatalities due to not having adequate medical care or being pushed overboard during a fight or sexual assault. Sadly, most victims don’t know that they have legal rights and many maritime crimes go unreported. Many victims of sexual assault are children because pedophiles know that many cruise ships don’t perform adequate background checks. In the case of predatory passengers,  the ambiguous nature of international maritime law is seen as an opportunity for them to get away with their heinous crimes.

Preventing and Treating Cruise Ship Assaults

It is important for employers to have a zero-tolerance policy when it comes to the workplace or passenger-on-passenger violence on their vessel. Consider the mental health of your employees. Make sure crew conditions are livable, that they have plenty of opportunities for breaks with fun, healthy diversions when not working. It is vital to have a proper screening process that weeds out people with histories of violence so they don’t harm other crew members or passengers. Placing limits on alcohol intake can also help prevent violent outbursts. Make sure all surveillance cameras are working properly since this will be instrumental in catching crimes. Cruise ships must have medical personnel who are able to perform sexual assault examinations and should have medication stocked to prevent STDs for assault victims. Crew members should be trained to properly handle crime scene evidence. Passengers and crew members should always know the whereabouts of medical and security.

Employee Rights

Your employer has a responsibility to you to make the workplace as safe as possible. Remember that if you a commercial vessel employee, you have rights. You should be paid if injured on the job and that compensation should cover medical and mental health care as well as lost wages. In the event of your death on the job, your dependents are entitled to compensation.

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Why Contested Divorce is Secretly Better than Uncontested Divorce

Posted by on Jun 10, 2017 in Family

Uncontested divorce has its obvious advantages over contested divorce. First, uncontested divorce has no issues when it comes to agreements, so the process is much faster. Second, the less argumentative process reduces the hard feelings between the spouses. Third, the children are also less active and involved in the divorce process, so they are generally unaffected.

For these reasons, a lot of couples settle for uncontested divorce. But do you know that, in its own ways, contested divorce is actually better?

A contested divorce occurs when the spouses involved have disagreements in the terms of the separation. According to the website of Marshall & Taylor, P.C., the most common issues include child support, custody, and visitation, spousal support, and division of assets and debts.

When you look at it plainly, a contested divorce is disadvantageous because of its argumentative nature. There will be more emotion involved. The process will be a lot longer, because you and your partner will have to come up with a compromise, and therefore the legal expenses are also higher compared to an uncontested divorce. But when you look at it deeply, it is secretly better than uncontested divorce.

You get to speak

The adversarial nature of contested divorce can be considered as an advantage. First, it means that you disagree with a legal aspect because something is wrong. Second, it means that you step up to tell the court that something is wrong and needs to be corrected.

In a contested divorce, you will have the platform to speak up, and you cannot say the same thing for uncontested divorce.

You avoid bias

In whatever kind of divorce, the spouses involved will always have his or her own interests in mind. That’s where contested divorce comes in, when you think that your ex-partner has too much or you have too little.

In a contested divorce, you are speaking up to make a compromise, to come up with legal decisions that put the interest of both you and your ex-partner into consideration. Sometimes, you cannot say the same for uncontested divorce, where a spouse may give in to bias just to get the process over with.

You get what you deserve

Getting what you rightfully deserve is important, because certain aspects of a divorce may have significant impacts in your life, especially in terms of finance and relationship with your children.

Because you speak up and avoid bias, it is likely that you will get what you deserve in a contested divorce. A relatively passive process like an uncontested divorce may have biases and the ability to block your voice, putting you in a position where you might not get what is truly yours.

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Explosion Accidents

Posted by on Mar 10, 2017 in Explosion Accidents

When gas expands abruptly and violently, an explosion is most likely to follow. Though explosion accidents do not occur often, these, nonetheless pose many serious threats, such as heavy and extensive damage to properties, severe injuries, trauma, and death. The ones who get severely injured are usually those closest to the site of a blast, those who are farther away, however, may also sustain serious or fatal injuries that hurling pieces of shattered glass or objects can cause.

Explosions create balls of flame, scorching heat, an ear-piercing loud noise, thick, black smoke that can easily suffocate a person and, shock waves with such power to knock down doors and walls, as well as smash glass doors and glass windows. These can also fling injurious items to various directions which can injure and knock people down.

Some of the most common causes of explosions are bombs, leaking gas pipelines, gas or oil tankers, propane gas, gas stoves, natural gas used in boilers and furnaces, and agricultural fertilizers, which contain ammonium nitrate, a highly explosive substance. Explosions that occur in enclosed spaces, such as inside a building or a mine, are always more intense and dangerous.

Besides severe injuries and trauma or shock, non-fatal explosion injuries can include cuts or lacerations, severe burns, broken bones, fractures, lung injury, loss of limb, traumatic brain injury (TBI) and death.

The most common causes of explosions include bombs, leaking gas pipelines, gas or oil tankers, propane gas, gas stoves, natural gas used in boilers and furnaces, propane gas, and agricultural fertilizers which contain ammonium nitrate, a highly explosive substance. Unless an explosion in open space is totally massive, one that occurs in an enclosed space, like inside a building or a mine, will remain more intense and more dangerous.

While explosions occurring inside houses and offices, where natural gas is commonly used, can destroy said structures, those that can cause huge damage to properties and loss of many lives is that which occurs in industrial factories or plants, oil rigs, or manufacturing facilities.

The May 1988 explosion of the Pepcon rocket fuel (ammonium percolate) plant in Henderson, Nevada, is one example of a very destructive explosion; it is also one of the worst explosion accidents in the U.S. The explosion of this manufacturing facility, where rocket fuel for the U.S. space shuttle program was made, killed two people and injured more than 300 others; it was also felt as far as 600 miles away and left the $100 million plant totally destroyed.

Investigators believed that the explosion was caused by welders, who accidentally ignited drums of ammonium percolate, while making new storage containers. The problem was that the place was stacked with sealed drums of ammonium percolate.

Chemical or manufacturing plant explosions are accidental; however, an innocent victim, who is left with severe or disabling injuries cannot and should never be left to suffer the consequences of an accident that is a result to someone else’s carelessness or negligence. A lawsuit filed against a person liable for an accident is civil in nature and, under the law, a civil lawsuit that is decided in favor of an innocent victim will allow such victim to seek and receive compensation from the person and/or company at fault.

It is mentioned in the website of the law firm Williams Kherkher, “If you or someone you love has been seriously injured, or someone close to you has been killed by an explosion, you, no doubt, are fighting through an extremely difficult time for several reasons. Perhaps the last thing you want to think about is the prospect of taking on a corporate giant in court, but before you shy away from that possibility, you owe it to yourself to contact an explosion attorney, who may be able to help you plan out the best course of legal action to take, to hold the responsible party liable for their negligent or reckless act.

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Embezzlement, a White-Collar Methodical Crime

Posted by on Feb 5, 2017 in Fraud

Embezzlement is a form of white-collar crime. It is committed when a person misappropriates the assets entrusted to him/her. Despite the amounts of money that have been or continue to be embezzled, which often reach millions or billions of dollars, it is shocking to know that this crime often gets discovered only when a relatively large portion of the funds is needed at one time or if a complete and independent accounting of all real and liquid assets is suddenly required.

Some of the biggest embezzlement cases in the U.S. include:

  • The embezzlement of billions of dollars of investor money;
  • Embezzlement of employee retirement funds and billions of dollars in accounting fraud;
  • Fraud, embezzlement and ponzi scheme totaling to $8 billion; and,
  • Embezzlement of $20 million of investor dollars.

Embezzlement is usually a deliberate crime that is methodically performed. By repeatedly embezzling only a small fraction or proportion of the total resources or funds and falsifying records in order to minimize risk of the detection, an embezzler can continue committing this crime for years or even decades without being detected. Some past embezzlement schemes are deemed very successful as these went on for many years before detection. This is due to the embezzler’s skill in concealing the nature of the transactions or in gaining the trust and confidence of investors or clients.

Laws on embezzlement may be federal or state-based. On the federal level, embezzlement laws target those who steal from the government. On the state level, laws go after public officials working for state and local governments, as well as people who do not work for the government.

Under federal statute 18 USC 3282, an embezzlement case may only be pursued within five years of the commission of the offense. Those convicted will be punished based on a point system. Base Offense Level, which is six, is the point assigned to those who have embezzled $5000 or less; the highest offense level is 36, which can be assigned to those who cause losses above $400 million.

According to the law firm Truslow & Truslow, no matter the offense, criminal charges at any level should be taken seriously. If charged with a crime or if you are under investigation for a crime, then contacting a criminal defense attorneys immediately may help safeguard your livelihood, property, and freedom, as well as save you from jail.

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Explosion Accidents: Causes of Severe Injuries and Fatalities

Posted by on Oct 14, 2016 in Personal Injuries

Natural gas is highly combustible and, therefore, extremely hazardous. Without it, however, furnaces, boilers, gas stoves, ovens, clothes dryers, air conditioning systems, and a lot of other things will not be able to function. This is why about 657 billion cubic meters or 657,000 liters of natural gas is used in homes and offices (all throughout the U.S.) annually.

The U.S. Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration, a branch of the Department of Transportation, says that pipes used to distribute natural gas extend more than two million miles through cities. These pipes connect natural gas distribution sites to consumer sites. In order to help ensure total safety and avoidance of accidents, such as leaks, which can very well lead to an explosion, distribution companies implement safety programs, such as:

  • One Call System, which refers to the “call-before-you-dig” 811 telephone number. Contractors, excavators and customers should know this number, which needs to be contacted before any digging (for pipeline installation), is made. This is to make sure that no facility or other pipeline is damaged in the digging process;
  • Emergency Preparedness, which is a way that will help make sure that distribution companies and local utilities are prepared for any possible natural disaster. These distribution outlets are necessitated to participate in local emergency preparedness and community programs;
  • Technicians on Call, a program which makes sure that, in the event of problems, like leaks, a group of well trained technicians can be relied on 24/7;
  • Safety Education Programs, which are aimed at making sure that customers are informed through seminars held in community centers, schools and other associations about natural gas safety procedures; they are also told what measures to take during emergencies; and,
  • Leak Detection Equipment, which include the latest leak detection tools and equipment that will enable distribution companies to detect and immediately locate leaks in the distribution network. Natural gas odorants are also used to make leak detection easier and faster.

Unmaintained pipes and unchecked leaks can result to explosion accidents, the effects of which can be severe, even deadly. It is not hard for the law firm Habush Habush & Rottier S.C. ® to identify the great and serious threats posed by an explosion accident due to its first hand knowledge of the severity of injuries suffered by those who have been victims of it. Though the tragic effects of an explosion can never be undone, said law firm explains that, if any of these catastrophic incidents can be proven as a result of someone’s negligence, such as a property owner or a product manufacturer, then such person or party may be held accountable for his/her carelessness. The victim, on the other hand, may be eligible to pursue financial compensation for all present and future damages he/she may suffer due to the injury

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