Common Defense for Theft

Posted by on Sep 18, 2014 in Criminal Defense | 0 comments

Theft is primarily defined as the illegal appropriation of property. According to the website of criminal defense lawyer Ian Inglis, the penalties for a theft conviction can be quite serious under the Texas Penal Code. When charged with theft and the property had actually been taken by the defendant, there are a few defense that a defense lawyer may apply depending on the circumstances.

Intoxication

One of the requirements for a charge of theft to stick is that there an intent to steal. If the defendant can prove that at the time of the incident he or she was under the influence of an intoxicating substance (drugs, alcohol, etc.) and had no mental capacity to form intent, it may succeed in having the charges dismissed or reduced.

Right of Ownership

If the property is the defendant’s obviously a charge of theft will not stick. However, there are circumstances when the defendant did take someone else’s property in the belief that he or she had right of ownership. The defendant took someone else’s luggage from an airport carousel, for example, believing that it was his or hers to take because it was similar or even identical to their property. The defendant has to prove that it was an “honest mistake” such as by producing their luggage and demonstrating that it does indeed look similar enough to have been switched.

Entrapment

This is a rather complicated defense for theft because the defendant has to prove that the property owner had induced the defendant to take the property in order to substantiate a charge of theft. A shrewd defense lawyer will have to show that the plaintiff had lured the defendant to commit the crime for whatever reason.

Return of Property

In most cases, returning the property cannot be used as a defense against a theft charge unless the defendant can prove that there was intent to return the property when it was taken. The defendant can claim that the property had merely been “borrowed.”

If you are facing a charge of theft, it is important that you understand your rights and protections under the law. Engage the services of a reputable defense lawyer in your area to help you avoid a conviction.

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Do More in Your Community

Posted by on Aug 17, 2014 in Community Building | 0 comments

With recent events leading to widespread discussions about activism and the internet, I’ve been thinking about what people can do in their communities to raise awareness about the issues that impact their lives. I mean in addition to taking to hashtags, Facebook, and other homes for “slacktivism,” there are real physical actions you can take to help foster change in your community.

There are many classes of people that can benefit from organized help, including the homeless, the elderly, and children. Organizing events to help a group of people can do a lot to raise awareness of the problems that group faces as well as brighten someone’s day. It doesn’t have to be anything major. I once went to a video game tournament at a local library. It had a great turnout and all the kids had a blast. They got to compete and cheer in a safe environment and many of them made new friends.

There are tons of ways you can try to bring your community together. Building a community is not easy, but it’s well worth the effort, as a strong community where everyone knows and trusts one another can work wonders.

community building

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The Roles Criminal Defense Lawyers Play

Posted by on Jun 28, 2014 in Criminal Defense | 0 comments

The criminal defense lawyer is more than an officer of the court and a necessary personality in a trial. There are many roles that a criminal defense lawyer plays way before the courtroom drama commences. In fact, many cases don’t actually get to that point at all, and in general, that’s how defense lawyers prefer it.

Confidant

A defendant can tell his or her lawyer everything without fear of it being used against him or her. This is the main purpose of the attorney-client privilege. In fact, if the lawyer breaks confidentiality, it can be grounds for the lawyer’s license to be suspended or revoked, and the leaked information still cannot be used against the defendant because it is “tainted” except in some circumstances. A criminal defense lawyer is still required to build the best possible defense for the client even if he or she knows the client is guilty of the crime, although they are barred from lying to the court.

Adviser

The lawyer is also there to provide the client various scenarios that may pan out for a particular case, the client’s legal options, and to advise the client about the best course to take from a legal standpoint. In most cases, the defendant is clueless about the law, and the lawyer is there to elucidate matters.

Advocate

The criminal defense lawyer is there to defend the client, if only to introduce reasonable doubt in the case presented by the prosecutor. The burden of proof is on the prosecution; the defense can introduce reasonable doubt by challenging any statement that is damaging to the client, and to present an alternate theory of the case to that presented by the prosecution.

Negotiator

When it is apparent that the evidence against the defendant is overwhelming, the lawyer can take on the role of negotiator during a plea bargain. Prosecutors generally prefer to settle the matter out of court because it saves on trial costs, but the defendant must bring something to the table to justify a more favorable deal. A good Houston criminal defense lawyer will know how and what to offer to minimize the severity of the punishment of the client and to indicate to the defendant when a deal is as good as it is going to get.

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Hospital Negligence: Its Usual Causes and Consequences

Posted by on Jun 26, 2014 in Medical Malpractice | 0 comments

One legal and moral obligation that all health care providers owe patients is provision of quality care.  This means timely treatment, correct diagnosis and effective medication. Besides the commitment to save lives and treat patients well, the level of trust that patients give doctors ought to be more than enough for them to live up to patients’ expectations, and so provide fast and effective treatment to patients’ health concerns.

The ideal, however, is often deviated from by what is real, as hospital negligence, which leads to medical malpractice that often inflicts more severe harm in patients, is a reality in the US, as well as in all parts of the globe. Every year, more than a million individuals either suffer worse medical conditions or die because of medical malpractice, which can very well be prevented from happening.

The causes of medical mistakes vary; some of these are miscommunication between nurse and doctor, not enough time to really listen to a patient’s health complaints, wrong interpretation of a laboratory result, mix-up in patients’ records, wrong diagnostic tests, and so forth. Some of these mistakes lead to major medical actions, like surgery, but which actually only puts the patient in greater harm than on the road to recovery.

Negligence is often the reason why mistakes take place. While others may mention overworked nurses and medical personnel, or whatever excuse one may think of, the root cause of it all is still negligence. This negligent behavior usually results to surgery being performed on the wrong patient, operating on the wrong site of the body, injecting the wrong dosage of anesthesia, and many others.

New Hampshire medical malpractice lawyers are just a few of the many highly-competent legal minds who can help victims of hospital negligence and medical malpractice file a civil case (for damages) against the liable party, fight for the victim’s rights and interest and help him/her earn the full compensation that he/she is legally entitled to receive.

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Car Accidents Due to Driver Errors and Driver Distractions

Posted by on Jun 25, 2014 in Automobile Accidents | 0 comments

With cars becoming the most common means of transportation in the US, their steady increase on all US roads and highways has also given rise to the number of automobile accidents every year. Records from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration show, at least, five million road tragedies annually. While drunk-driving, overspeeding, and reckless driving figure to be the main reasons for accidents that seriously injure or kill innocent people, there is another culprit, which majority of drivers may not be totally aware of but are surely guilty of committing – driver error and driver distraction.

Often, when driving has become a daily chore, drivers end up becoming too complacent on the road, committing traffic violations with the excuse or thought that they are in full control of the wheel, anyway, and can avert danger in the event that it shows itself. Thus, many never slow down or stop when making turns, try to beat the red light, fail to use signal lights, fail to check for incoming motor vehicles, especially at intersections, overtake other vehicles improperly, tailgate other vehicles (trucks, worst of all), fail to use the seatbelt, make sudden lane changes, and so forth.

As for driver distractions, though most common among young drivers, it can probably be safe to say that all have been distracted, at least one or a couple of times in their whole driving career. Though driving distraction has many forms, all these cause the very same thing – take a driver’s attention off the road. The many different forms of driver distractions include: looking at a map for directions; adjusting a GPS or a radio; playing the car stereo at full volume; chatting with friends while driving; taking, or having a picture taken, while driving; fixing a tie, grooming; drinking and eating; and, worst of all, texting or using a handheld phone while driving, which is now illegal.

Whether the cause of an automobile accident is driver error or driver distraction, one sure thing is that it is a result of negligence and carelessness on the part of the liable driver. Seeking the help of legal professionals, such as Los Angeles car accident lawyers, would be advisable in order to bring to justice the at-fault driver and to make him/her compensate the victim for all the damages resulting from the injury which he/she has caused.

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Construction Sites – Most Prone to Work-related Accidents

Posted by on Jun 24, 2014 in Construction Accidents | 0 comments

The Willow Island disaster in April of 1978, which killed 51 construction workers who were all working on a scaffold, is considered the largest construction accident in the history of the United States. So many more construction site accidents happened before and after this one tragic event, all severely injuring scores of workers and taking the lives of many others.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics records about 150,000 job-related injuries annually in construction sites alone, making industrial jobs the most dangerous of all types of works. To ensure safety in construction sites, in particular, and in all workplaces, in general, the US government passed into law the Occupational Safety and Health Act, or OSH Act, in 1970 which, after a year, established the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). OSHS’ main concern is to implement the mandate on safe and healthy working conditions in every working environment for the benefit of all employees.

In 2012, of the 4,175 deaths involving employees in the private sector, 806 were construction workers. The top four causes of deaths, which OSHA came to call the “Fatal Four,” include: falls; being struck by something, such as a truck, crane, a falling wall, a falling object or other heavy tool or vehicle; electrocution; and, being caught-in/between.

On its website, Hach & Rose, LLP, points out the necessity of construction jobs, yet also affirms the many dangers construction workers are regularly exposed to. Thus, property owners, contractors, machinery manufacturers and all workers have the responsibility of doing their part in keeping working sites as safe as possible to avoid untoward incidents, which, in reality, can be avoided.

When an accident occurs, however, then hiring a highly-competent legal counsel, such as a Milwaukee construction accident lawyer, would be much advised. He or she would be able to help the accident victim assess the extent of the injury, correctly fill out claims forms and file everything within the statutory period.

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BP Oil Spill Claims by Non-Profit Organizations

Posted by on Jun 21, 2014 in Oil Spill Information | 0 comments

In April of 2010, an explosion caused by a wellhead blowout or a failure in the pressure control system engulfed the Deepwater Horizon oil rig in flames, sinking it and resulting in the release of 4.9 million barrels of oil into the sea. This sea tragedy, which occurred off the coast of Louisiana in the Gulf of Mexico, took the lives of 11 persons, injured 16 others and was regarded as the biggest ecological disaster in the United States.

Aware of the severe harm that spills can cause to marine life, the health of coastal residents, and the gulf’s economy, BP made an estimation that the total amount necessary to cover settlement claims, clean-up costs and other legal fees would be approximately $7.8 billion.

It has become quite obvious, however, that the settlement administrator has interpreted the terms BP’s settlement agreement in a way that BP believes approves claims by people and businesses who were not even harmed by the spill. A New Orleans U.S. District Judge agreed with the administrator’s interpretation, while the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals declined BP’s request to deny an injunction on the judge’s decision.

While BP has raised its appeal to the US Supreme Court, the order to continue paying settlement claims, which have ballooned to at least $9.2 billion stays. Among the claimants that BP needs to pay are non-profit organizations, such as educational organizations, disease research organizations, pildlife preservation organizations, and historical societies. Obviously, these types of organizations depend greatly on charitable donations made by individual benefactors and a number of business owners who, in turn, may have suffered economic losses themselves due to direct or indirect effects of the spill.

While it may be understandable that BP is trying to save itself from paying business economic losses (BEL) which are not traceable to the spill, authentic claimants will have to wait indefinitely until the court’s decision is made. For organizations making non-profit oil spill claims, “indefinitely” can mean great harm to their operations, even existence. This is why many legitimate claimants have deemed the services of a BP claim appeal lawyer a necessity in helping them acquire the settlement payment, which they legally deserve, much faster.

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A Business in Overwhelming Debts: Which Bankruptcy Chapter is the Best Legal Option?

Posted by on Jun 20, 2014 in Business Concerns | 0 comments

Business firms, especially small and developing ones, are always faced with legal concerns that make operations and overcoming competitions and obstacles really challenging. Hiring the right (and competent) employees, employee benefits and compensation, purchasing better equipment for improved business operations, taxes, company debts and, sometimes, company losses – all these will have to be addressed, and on time too. But to remain competitive and to ensure the timely payments of all financial matters, business firms will have to have a steady flow of cash or should continuously make profit.

This is not the case with a slowed-down economy, though. And with not enough profit, a number of small, developing firms will find even keeping their heads above the water a much greater challenge. Some, which find the challenges simply overwhelming, decide to close, while others, in order to survive, apply for business loans until they lose control of financial matters and end up in debts too big for their company to settle.

While quitting at this time may already be too late, seeking legal advice may just be the means to solve all financial problems, with the chance of saving the company too. A Louisiana business lawyer, for instance, can advise a company owner to solve his/her company’s overwhelming financial problems through legal means, that is, by filing a case of bankruptcy.

Bankruptcy, which is a federally authorized procedure, gives individuals and businesses the chance to regain control of their finances, while enabling creditors get some measure of repayment. The US bankruptcy law forgives debtors of their dischargeable debts, while allowing them to liquidate some assets or design a payment plan which will enable them to settle their debts that are non-dischargeable.

Through bankruptcy, business and individuals are given a fresh start. It is, however, necessary to determine which particular chapter of the US Bankruptcy Code ought to be filed for the debtor to enjoy the full benefits of the bankruptcy law.

The US Bankruptcy Code offers business firms, especially small ones, the option to file for Chapter 7, which is liquidation bankruptcy, Chapter 11 or business bankruptcy, or Chapter 13, also known as Repayment Plan or Debt Adjustment Plan.

For small businesses with no intent to continue operations, then Chapter 7 may be the appropriate legal option. Chapter 13 can be filed if the type of business is sole proprietorship (since this chapter can only be filed by individuals); thus, corporations, limited liability companies, and businesses owned by partners cannot file for this particular chapter. There is a cap, though, to the amount of loan, which an individual should not exceed, to be able to qualify for this chapter.

Owners of small firms that have intent of recovering can file for Chapter 11, which allows them to restructure their finances, modify payment terms or downsize by selling all or a part of their assets. Though Chapter 11 may help owners continue business operations, regain profitability, and balance their income and expenses, it is risky, expensive, complex and time-consuming.

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