Ignition Interlock Devices: How Effective Are They in Reducing Vehicle Crashes?- Guest Post

  

An ignition interlock device is a breath analyzer that is installed and connected to a vehicle’s ignition. It is used to determine if a driver has alcohol in his system and if the BAC (blood alcohol concentration) is over the limit.

Ignition interlock installation is one of the primary penalties for DUI drivers, especially those who are on probation. Its purpose is to prevent these drivers from operating a vehicle while alcohol-impaired. If their BAC is above 0.08, which is the legal limit, the device will prevent the car from starting. As for drivers who are not alcohol-impaired, their goal is to remain sober while driving, or the device will automatically stop their vehicle.

An ignition interlock device has a data recorder that allows probation officers to monitor the DUI offender’s driving behavior. This recorder is where BACs are logged after every test. Running tests – or repeat tests – are implemented throughout the offender’s trip, and these help guarantee that drivers are alcohol-free while they are on the road.

IID Origins and State Laws

Interlock devices have been around for years and were first developed in 1969. However, interlocks that came with alcohol sensors were created and only became popular in the 1980s. That was also the time when some states implemented several pilot programs in the U.S. The first State to officially enact the legislation was California, when they created the Farr-Davis Safety Act of 1986 and implemented IIDs in four of its largest counties.

In 2012, all states in the country started implementing IID laws, although the specifics vary from state-to-state. For example, in some states, the authority that mandates ignition interlock devices is the DMV or Department of Motor Vehicles, not the court or the state.

Additionally, depending on which state the driver committed the offense in, the device is required for 1) first offenders, 2) offenders with high BACs, and 3) repeat offenders.

Ignition interlock device programs in the United States are divided into:

  1. Administrative programs managed by a State licensing authority.
  2. Judicial programs managed by a court system.
  3. Hybrid programs that combine the administrative and judicial categories

How Effective are Ignition Interlock Devices?

The general public strongly supports the ignition interlock device program. Additionally, the use of IIDs has steadily increased over time. In 2010 alone, there were 212,000 installations compared to the 101,000 recorded in 2006. Today, these numbers have more than doubled.

Lesser Drunk Driving Cases

Since 2006, ignition interlock device laws have helped prevent over 2.3 million people from driving drunk. The numbers are higher now as these statistics cover the period from 2006 until 2017 only.

Additionally, the American Journal of Preventive Medicine came out with a study called “Ignition Interlock Laws: Effects in Fatal Motor Vehicle Crashes, 1982-2013” that indicated several significant findings. According to the study, IIDs resulted in a 7% reduction in fatal car crashes due to drunk driving.

Also, IID laws helped bring down the number of first-time offenders involved in fatal drunk driving crashes by more or less 8%. The study covers only incidents that happened from 1982 to 2013, but this trend continues today.

Recidivism

One of the major reasons for the implementation of ignition interlock laws is to prevent recidivism or reduce the number of repeat offenders.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), IID laws are responsible for decreasing repeat offenders by around 70%.

Some studies also indicate that around 90% of those who graduated from the interlock program went on to drive safely. Furthermore, they successfully avoided committing new drunk driving offenses.

Ignition Interlock Devices and Alcohol Abuse Treatment

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, in partnership with the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (FLDHSMV), conducted a study on recidivism that focused on two groups of drivers. The first group went through an alcohol abuse treatment while IIDs were installed in their cars, while the second group did not participate in an alcohol abuse treatment program.

The results clearly indicated that two years after the device was uninstalled from the vehicles, drivers who went through the alcohol abuse treatment reduced the recidivism rate by 32% compared to those who did not undergo treatment. As such, this led to lesser DUI arrests, fewer vehicle crashes, and a decrease in the number of drunk driving-related injuries.

It is also essential for authorities to complement IID programs with a comprehensive monitoring system.

Lastly, the CDC also has identified eight program keys that can help states strengthen their ignition interlock programs. The program key’s significant actions include:

  • Substantial penalties
  • Incentives
  • Interlock monitoring
  • Consistent and uniform implementation
  • Multi-agency coordination
  • Education and training for management and staff
  • Resources for funding and staff
  • Complete data records

If you want to learn more about ignition interlock devices and how they can help prevent drunk driving, get in touch with and talk to an IID provider.

 

 

 

 

About the Author

Lauren McDowell is the Content Marketing Strategist for Interlock Install, a Phoenix-based company that performs the installations, service appointments, and 

removals for ADS Interlock. When not writing, she attends book clubs and enjoys reading stories to her kids.

4 Precautions to Take if You Did a State Level Crime- Guest Post

  

If you have been charged with a crime that occurred at the state level, or if you have a friend or family member who was, there are a few things you should do to ensure you get a fair trial and a favorable outcome.

 

Knowing what you should do will not only help you to protect yourself from unfair tactics used by lawyers, judges, and the prosecution, but it will also make it easier for your attorney to protect your interests and advocate for your best interests.

 

Did you know that you can be charged for a crime committed in your state even if you were outside of your state? Here are a few things to keep in mind if you have been accused of a crime in your state that happened outside of your state:

 

1. Find a good Lawyer

 

If you have been charged with a state crime, it is essential that you hire a lawyer who has experience with your particular state’s laws. This is especially true if you are facing a felony charge.

 

And, if you are facing a misdemeanor, you need to know what a misdemeanor charge is. The best way to gauge the experience of your lawyer is simply to ask him or her about the types of cases he or she has worked on in the past.

 

Finding a good lawyer is not so easy when you have been charged with a crime. You have to do a lot of research and find the best one to represent you. You can type in Google or Yahoo, but then you will be overwhelmed with results.

 

So, what you should do is to just go to your friend’s/brother’s lawyer and ask them to recommend you a good lawyer, and they will definitely help you find the best lawyer to help you.

 

2. Do not tell anyone you have done a crime

There are many different types of crime. Some are minor and others are very serious. The ones we are most concerned about are the serious ones that carry a sentence of more than two years in jail. You will have to go to jail if you did a state level crime. You could tell everyone that you did not do the crime, but that is not the truth.

There are two types of crimes: (1) You may get arrested or be placed under a restraining order. In this article, I will talk about what to do if you did a state-level crime. First, I would like to talk about the physical evidence.

 

The police will use at least two types of techniques to determine whether or not you did what you are accused of, including comparing the evidence to that of other people and reviewing cell phone records. If the police believe that you are the culprit, they will arrest you, send you to jail, or will place a restraining order on you.

3. Make sure your attorney knows your rights

 

The first thing you should do is get your criminal case in front of as many people in the criminal defense field as possible. Don’t just ask your attorney if they know someone. Ask them if they know as many attorneys as possible who get paid to know a lot of attorneys. If you can get them to know a bunch of other attorneys, then that only increases your chance of getting a fair trial.

4. Make sure you have witnesses

 

There are a lot of things you have to remember if you’ve done a state level crime. You have to remember to have someone to write down exactly what you did.

You have to remember that there are people that are going to charge you. And, just remember that you might need to testify against your criminal in a court of law.

 

If you are ever accused of a crime, you should make sure your parents, friends, neighbors, coworkers, or others to back you up on the stand to demonstrate your innocence. Doing so will help you to present a more complete defense at your trial that will help to get you a better outcome.

 

 

Author bio: Criminal Defense Lawyer, Lynne Torgerson Esq. has nearly 30 years of experience in law. She can handle all criminal charges, gun rights, all felonies, gross misdemeanors, and misdemeanors, throughout the State of Minnesota including the Twin Cities of Minneapolis / St. Paul.  Ms. Torgerson, Esq., graduated from the University of Minnesota with a double major, with degrees in political science and psychology.  Follow Lynne on Twitter @lynne_torgerson.

Can You Still File An Insurance Claim If Your House Was Destroyed Due To Arson?- Guest Post

  

arson criminal lawyer

Arson is one of the most serious types of house damage. It may happen to anybody at any time. Vandalism like this may happen in every city. Home insurance, on the other hand, is quite obvious. Home insurance seldom covers fires started by someone else. What does this imply if someone else sets fire to your house? There are a few things to think about.

What exactly is arson?

The deliberate act of setting a fire with the aim of causing malicious harm is known as arson. Though properties are the most common target of arson assaults, vehicles, boats, and woods are also susceptible to fire and charring damage due to intentional fire starting.

The person who initiates arson is referred to as an arsonist. When attempting to start a fire, arsonists will typically utilise accelerants such as petroleum, kerosene, alcohol, or any other dangerous and ignitable substances.

An arsonist may set fire to their own or someone else’s property for a variety of reasons, including: 

  •     Vandalism in general.
  •     Deliberately setting a fire on their own property in order to profit financially from their home insurance coverage. This is deemed insurance fraud, which is likewise illegal and punished by law.
  •     An unhappy person may seek ‘revenge’ against another person by setting fire to their home.
  •     An arsonist may suffer from an impulse control problem or Pyromania, which is defined by the pathological starting of fires. However, flames set by true Pyromaniacs are uncommon.

Which properties are in danger?

Although any structure, from a permanent house to an uninhabited facility, might be a target for arson, vacant properties are often more vulnerable. Vandals and arsonists may be more motivated to attack empty properties due to the absence of human activity in or near them. Unoccupied properties that may be in danger include:

  •     Access points such as damaged fences, windows, and doors should be easily accessible.
  •     There are no security mechanisms in place.
  •     Located in a remote area.
  •     Have a flammable waste buildup nearby that might function as an accelerant.

Because a vacant property is just that uninhabited, it is more likely to sustain fire damage than a frequently occupied property, merely because there may be no one around to raise the alert to the authorities so the fire may be controlled. The longer the fire burns and expands, the more destruction it will undoubtedly cause.

How to Aid in the Prevention of Arson Attacks

  •     If your property is vacant, you should visit it on a regular basis and inspect the structure, garden, and any outbuildings for evidence of unwelcome activity.
  •     Install surveillance cameras and an alarm system.
  •     Placing floodlights in vulnerable areas around the house, such as at key entry points and the driveway.
  •     Remove any material that has accumulated outside the home to prevent arsonists from using it as a fire starting.
  •     Keep a close eye out for any anti-social behaviour in the neighbourhood and report anything suspicious to the police.
  •     Turn off the utilities since gas and electricity are especially prone to accelerating flames.

How do you deal with an insurance adjuster after arson?

Local authorities may investigate and establish the cause of a house fire in some cases. Insurance companies may send an investigator to establish if the fire was intentionally caused for financial advantage. In addition, the building’s family or owner is frequently involved in specific sorts of activity that might lead to insurance fraud.

Financial deprivation motivates an arson suspect because the customer is plagued by financial troubles and wants to set fire to his or her home.

The individual may be unaware that insurance providers or local authorities have flagged them for insurance fraud, arson, or other offences. However, suppose the individual is prepared to pay a lawyer to represent them and launch a lawsuit against the insurance company. In that case, they may be able to avoid punishment and get the funds.

Red Flags

When an insurance company suspects a person may commit fraud, it may look for specific warning signs that indicate false claims are being made. A fire investigation will determine if the incident was accidental or deliberate. Several issues can be found in phone records or financial documents. Others include monitoring credit scores and looking for potential fire warning signals.

The individual may acquire things and supplies that they would not normally purchase. He or she may also seek the advice of a lawyer, a fire specialist, or someone who can explain how fire burns.

Level Of Evidence

For fire inspections, the local police may use a different degree of proof than home insurance companies. The only proof that the incident was intentionally created by the house owner or someone who ignited the fire in residence will be considered by the law. However, the insurance company is interested in insurance fraud issues and recouping its expenses by withdrawing from the insurance coverage.

Some of these events result in litigation, financial losses for the affected party, and criminal investigations for vandalism.

Arson

Part of the problem in claiming that the homeowner or user started the fire is the evidence needed, which might lead to being charged with arson. Three reasons might lead to the policyholder losing owing to a false fire claim or the insurance provider paying out as much as feasible to the individual. These factors include the individual’s purpose and willingness to take advantage of the insurance coverage and the actual fire. The evidence may lead to a police inquiry as well as an insurance company investigation.

Investigation of the insurance

While law enforcement must acquire significant evidence, the insurance company rejects coverage based on the parties’ additional conclusions or circumstantial proof. For example, the agent might contact the firm to find out if the owner was lying about the facts of the case. The claim must contain either a knowing or willful misrepresentation, according to the standard. If this circumstance impacts the insurer’s coverage of the home fire, the payout will be rejected. Even if there is no proof of guilt on the side of the homeowner or another individual, the carrier may be released from the obligation.

The insurance company considers circumstantial proof such as phone and bank records, the policyholder’s behaviour before the fire, data about their interactions with others, and so on. Before the fire even starts, an effort should be made. Behaviour following a major home fire may indicate arson and insurance fraud. According to the carrier’s statement, the policyholder had a motivation to perpetrate fraud.

Hire a Lawyer

You would be wise to retain the services of an insurance attorney at the start of this process. Valid insurance claims are frequently underpaid by at least $10,000 by insurance companies. When insurers deny a claim due to the possibility of fraud, an attorney may be necessary to assist in proving that the fire was either natural or caused by an outside source. Monetary compensation aids in the recovery process after an injury.

Because insurance companies frequently underpay fire claims, consumers are well adapted to consulting an attorney at the start of the insurance claim public adjusters florida.

 

HIPAA Violations Could Cost Your Practice More Than You Think- Guest Post

  

Health Insurance Portability and accountability act HIPAA and stethoscope.

In this article, we will focus on the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) of 1996. We will look at what HIPAA is, what constitutes a HIPAA violation, and how much a HIPAA violation can cost your business. 

Defining HIPAA Compliance

The HIPAA law was passed by Congress in 1996. The federal law protects patient’s privacy rights in the United States. In accordance with the law, organizations are required to abide by a set of standards to protect against unauthorized use and disclosure of Protected Health Information (PHI). 

In addition to protecting privacy rights, the federal law also facilitated and strengthened the flow of PHI with the aim of reducing healthcare fraud and abuse. 

Any individual or organization that comes into contact with PHI must implement appropriate policies and procedures to safeguard patients’ data to ensure compliance with HIPAA law. That means if you:

  • Speak to patients directly
  • Check blood pressures
  • Write or give out prescriptions
  • Oversee the firewall in a healthcare setting
  • Encrypt medical data on behalf of a covered entity
  • Manage a database that stores, maintains, or creates patient data

You are responsible for HIPAA compliance and HIPAA violations. Individual employees may face charges if PHI gets jeopardized, but that doesn’t mean the entity is exempt from following the HIPAA rules.

HIPAA Violation

Any healthcare practice that compromises Protected Health Information (PHI) is considered to be at fault. However, individual employees may also be considered at fault depending on their actions and face serious consequences. 

According to the HHS, “Individuals, organizations, and agencies that meet the definition of a covered entity under HIPAA must comply with the Rules’ requirements to protect the privacy and security of health information and must provide individuals with certain rights with respect to their health information.”

The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) does not accept ignorance on the part of an employer or employee as an excuse. That is why HIPAA training is so crucial to protect patient data and avoid HIPAA violations. 

HIPAA Violation Penalties

HIPAA violations can be of two types – civil and criminal. The penalties enforced will depend on the severity of the violations, and whether it was deliberate or unintentional will be taken into consideration. 

Civil Penalties

The civil penalties can be divided into four tiers. Here’s what they look like:

Tier 1: A category of violation that was unintentional, and the entity was unaware that a violation could occur given that they had taken all the necessary steps. Penalties for this tier range from $100 per violation to up to $50,000, and a maximum of $25,000 per year. 

Tier 2: A category of violation where the organization could not have prevented the violation but was or should have been aware of the potential risks, not willfully neglecting all the necessary steps. Fines for this tier range from a minimum of $1000 up to $50,000 per infringement, and a maximum of $100,000 per year. 

Tier 3: A category of violations where the entity willfully neglected all the HIPAA requirements, and as a result, a violation occurred. Although, the entity made efforts to rectify the violation in some cases. Fines for this tier range from $10,000 up to $50,000 per violation, and a maximum of $250,000 per year. 

Tier 4: A category of violations where the organization was fully aware of the potential risks, willfully neglecting all the HIPAA requirements, and did not attempt to rectify the violation. Fines for this tier range from a minimum of $50,000 per violation to a maximum of $1.5 million per year for repeated violations. 

Criminal Penalties

Violations that are considered to be criminal in nature are handed over to the Department of Justice. From there, individuals at the practice involved in the violation could be held criminally liable. These types of violations could stem from the theft of PHI for financial gain or wrongful disclosures with malicious intent. 

Criminal violations can be divided into three tiers, with the term and an accompanying fine decided by a judge based on the facts of each separate case. Here’s what they look like:

Tier 1: Up to 1 year in jail for reasonable cause or no knowledge of the violation

Tier 2: Up to 5 years in jail for obtaining PHI under false pretenses

Tier 3: Up to 10 years in jail for obtaining PHI with malicious intent or for personal gain

To conclude

In addition to civil or criminal penalties, there are also Corrective Action Plans (CAP) to worry about. Not to mention, you might also risk losing the license to practice. These CAPs are enforced by the Office for Civil Rights (OCR) when a data breach occurs. These plans are often cumbersome and costly. 

Nevertheless, it just goes to show that HIPAA violations could cost you more than you think. Hence the best way to go about this is to ensure that you are as compliant with the HIPAA law as possible by implementing all the necessary policies, procedures, and controls in place. 

Understanding HIPAA is essential for you, your employees, and your practice as a whole. Make sure to deliver proper and timely HIPAA training to your workforce members and make a lifestyle out of HIPAA compliance. 

 

Author Bio: Riyan N. Alam is a digital marketing analyst at CloudApper, a supplier of mobile ERP solutions, including HIPAA compliance software, facility management software, and many more. Combining his passion for reading books, he writes about subjects valuable to people and their daily lives. Riyan loves traveling and trading in his free time. 

 

Important steps to take before you register a trademark- Guest post

  

Many business owners launch their brand or product without considering the trademark registration process. You can save yourself a lot of time and effort (and money) by taking these simple steps before you hit the market. They will help you avoid potential issues that could delay your trademark registration process.

Registration search before registering a trademark

The first and most important step is to do a trademark registration search.

You will discover registered marks within Australia by doing a simple trademark search before your lodge an application to register a trademark. It will reveal if your mark is similar or identical to another company’s mark. If so, this could be a factor that leads to your application being denied. You’d need to make changes to your mark before you apply again to avoid infringing on the rights of an existing trademark holder. You’ll also be able to determine if your mark or logo is eligible for trademark protection.

It’s advisable to work with a trademark professional if you are doing an in-depth search. They will advise you of how to proceed, and many offer a service where they do a preliminary and comprehensive trademark search at a fixed cost rate.

If you want to get started, here are some free resources offered by IP Australia you can look into:

  • Australian trademarks Online Search System

ATMOSS gives the most important information about similar or identical trademarks to your own. It includes all of the currently registered trademarks and all pending applications and records of their progress.

  • Classification Search

You can use the classifications search to help you determine which class or classes you should file your goods or services under.

  • trademark Check

This will help reveal if your business name infringes on a registered mark that is identical to similar to your proposed mark. If the mark is confusingly similar to yours, yours will not be registered.

  • trademarks Image Viewer

You can use this tool to view trademarks that include images or typescripts.

  • Business Names Applicant Search.

You can use this tool to get details on business name availability. Use it before you attempt to register your business name with ASIC.

Determining what can be trademarked

Another area to explore before applying for a trademark is to look into what you can and can’t register. The trademarks Act 1995 defines a trademark as a ‘sign’ used to distinguish goods or services from those used by other similar traders. It’s pretty broad as it covers a range of ‘signs’ used alone or in combination. Ask yourself if any of the following are relevant to your service or product to determine if they might be available or not.

  • Is there a brand, heading, letter, word, or name used to distinguish my goods or services from others?
  • Is there a signature or numeral that is used that distinguishes my goods or services from others?
  • Is there a label, ticket, or form of packaging that is used that distinguishes my goods or services from others?
  • Is there a shape, colour, scent, or sound used to distinguish my goods or services from others?

Note that any mark that is considered to be too descriptive will receive an adverse report. Some marks that may be a little descriptive might still get approval based on evidence of use but some are simply too descriptive to ever be registered. For example, if you tried to register the word ‘smartphone concerning a ‘smartphone’, it wouldn’t be registered. Likewise, any mark that is against the law or is considered ‘scandalous’ will be rejected.

What happens if someone has a similar business name registered to my proposed trademark?

If your search reveals an individual has registered a business name that is similar to yours, there’s no need to panic. When you file your trademark application, IP Australia conducts a database search of pending and registered trademarks. If this rival company has not applied for or registered a trademark for their business name, IP Australia will not prevent you from registering that trademark.

The only risk with this is that once the trademark has been accepted for registration, you may find an opposition being filed against it by the other business. Any third party has a two-month time frame in which they can lodge an opposition to a trademark. If they feel they have a reason to lodge an opposition to your application in this window, they have the right to do so. Or, if the competitor has a strong reputation in the name, before you, they may have common law rights to act on even if you register the trademark first.

A trademark attorney is the best port of call if you find yourself facing opposition. Even better, they will warn you if you are at risk of this happening if you discover someone has a similar business name registered as a trademark and how you can defend your position.

nd your position. 

Can I Sue Someone for a Car Accident If There’s No Police Report? Guest Post

  

When pursuing compensation after a car accident in Texas, the police report forms an essential part of the necessary evidence. It offers the written account of the police’s assessment of the accident scene, eye witness reports, damages to the vehicle, and the victims’ injuries.

While the police report can help expedite your claim, it does not determine fault at trial. In simple terms, its absence cannot bar you from filing a lawsuit against the other party if injuries become evident after several hours or days.

What if the police didn’t show up?

The police may not always show up after an auto collision. In such a case, you have a legal obligation to report the crash within ten days to law enforcement.

However, that may not be necessary if there are no apparent injuries, death, or the property damage is insignificant. You and the other party may agree to walk away without calling the police or filing a report. If that happens, bear in mind that your chances of winning may be limited in case injuries become evident after some time or the other party decides to turn against you and sue you.

That’s where skilled Corpus Christi car accident attorneys come in. The right team of lawyers will ensure you are on the safe side if the other party decides to sue. Better still, your attorney can help you recover the compensation you deserve if you get injured in an accident and do not have the police report.

What should I do after a car accident if there’s no police report?

 

Get the other driver’s personal information.

When the police fail to show up and the other driver(s) involved are at the scene, taking their information can be critical. These should include:

  • Their full legal names, address, and the license plate number
  • Make and model of the vehicle(s)
  • Insurance information
  • Date and the location of the accident

Take pictures and video footage of the accident scene. 

As soon as you establish that it is safe, it’s important to document the accident scene. Take photographs and video footage of the scene. While at it, make sure that the photos you take clearly show the extent of the damage, injuries sustained, the other vehicle’s license plates, and anything else that could be relevant to your case.

Call your insurance company.

Fault notwithstanding, making a report of the accident to your insurer as soon as possible is essential. Most insurance policies require that you make a report to their office in case of an accident. Other than remaining on the insurer’s records, the report can serve as evidence of the crash where a police report is missing.

Collect witness reports. 

After an accident, it’s always necessary to talk to people who may have witnessed the accident happen. Among them, you may be able to identify individuals who are willing to help you as witnesses to your case.

Video footage from nearby businesses or homes. 

If your accident happened in a residential area or near business premises, checking to see if they have CCTV surveillance can help. CCTV footage can be used in court by the Corpus Christi car accident lawyers you hire to prove fault in court.

Let our Corpus Christi car accident attorneys handle your personal injury case.

If you have suffered an injury in an auto crash and are feeling stranded for not having the police report after a car accident, don’t despair. The experienced Corpus Christi car accident attorneys at Burkett Law Firm can help you with your case.

————————————————————————————————–

 

What You Need to Know About Child Protection Orders- Guest Post

  

What You Need to Know About Child Protection Orders

Children are vulnerable in nature and need maximum protection, not just from family and relatives, but also from the government. Laws that mitigate abusive behaviours protect children, covering their basic rights for a normal, safe, healthy, and happy life. The alarming increase in child abuse in the UK highlights the importance of child protection orders to safeguard their well-being.  It is not unusual for households with domestic violence that children suffer from physical, mental, verbal, psychological, or sexual abuse.  This is when child protection orders come in full force. 

What are child protection orders?

Child protection orders are designed to protect the child from an abusive family member or any person who intentionally harms him. They are also applicable in cases where the child’s basic needs are neglected. After a thorough review of the pieces of evidence and testimonies from credible people, the court may issue any of the following child protection orders:

  • Interim care orders (ICO) – They give parental responsibility to the local authority or social workers to place the child in the care of a carer or anyone in his extended family like a grandparent, aunt, or uncle. 
  • Interim supervision orders (ISO)– The type of orders that place the child under the local authority’s supervision, but allow the parents or guardians to have parental responsibility. 
  • Emergency protection orders (EPO) – In exceptionally serious situations, the court issues an EPO to allow the local authority to remove the child from the present home environment along with limited parental responsibility for the child. The order takes effect for up to 8 days and can be extended for another 7 days if the court sees the danger is still present. 
  • Child assessment orders – These orders instruct the parents to make sure that the child is available for psychiatric, medical, or social work assessments when the court says it is necessary for the case. 

Who is allowed to apply for child protection orders?

Anyone can apply for child protection orders if they believe that the child is neglected, ill-treated, or abused in ways that cause significant harm or likely to harm him. 

  • A biological parent
  • A family member
  • A guardian
  • A grandparent
  • Local authority or social worker
  • NSPCC
  • Police
  • Any person who has shared parental responsibility for the child

How to file for a child protection order?

To obtain any of the child protection orders,  the applicant should fill out a form, petition for the order, and file it to the court. The petitioner needs to prove that there is a valid reason for getting a child protection order. It involves submitting assessments, witness testimonies, and other pertinent evidence that will support your request. From there, the court will review the request and the supporting documents and make a decision to grant or deny the request.

Why is there a need for child assessment?

If after the enquiries, the evidence shows that the child is suffering significant harm or likely to suffer significant harm, the court and the parties involved in the case can decide to know more about the situation of the child. This may result in a series of assessments conducted by an independent expert agency. The parents, guardians, social services, and other qualified individuals will be asked to share their insights. The court will assess the report and use it to make a decision. 

Are child protection conferences necessary?

Child protection conferences (CPCs) are arranged by the social services to pool information and discuss any relevant issues and concerns of people who care for the child. 

  • Parents
  • Guardians and carers
  • Family members
  • Older siblings
  • Teachers, doctors, and other professionals who are involved with the child
  • Social services
  • The child, if he is old enough to understand the situation

If the parent or carer of the child does not want to attend the conference or is unable to do due to some circumstances, it will be fine. However, it will leave an impression of unwillingness to cooperate or engage and affect the assessment of the threshold. Hence, it is necessary to attend all the conferences to show good faith and willingness to the process.

The meeting should be held within 15 working days of the strategy discussion. If during the culmination of the conference or a series of conferences, there is a finding that the child is likely to suffer significant harm in the future, the group will come up with a child protection plan. 

A child protection plan details the actions that need to be taken, by whom and by when to ensure that the child is safe. It would be reviewed regularly during the conferences until he is safe or taken into care. If needed, it will be updated to guarantee his safety in the future.

On the other hand, if there are serious circumstances like sexual abuse, physical abuse, emotional abuse, physical injury, domestic violence, harm, or neglect, the case can go to legal planning with the possibility of issuing court proceedings. During the proceedings, the parents and carers of the child will be given a chance to explain or defend themselves. They would be needing legal assistance to ensure that they fully understand the process and the documentation necessary for child protection. 

What happens when the request is granted?

Once granted, the applicant has the right to remove the child from his present home and take him to a safe place. If the child is already placed in a safe place like a hospital, child centre, or a residence of anyone who shares parental responsibility, the order will prevent the parent or carer from taking him away. The parent can file for a recall of the child protection order with the help of a family solicitor. 

Anyone who violates child protection orders can be arrested and faced a criminal offence. Violating a child protection order can result in both civil and criminal penalties. If the order carries some criminal consequences, the violator can be charged with a misdemeanour, contempt of a court order, or felony. It would mean conviction and heavy fines.

How To Seek Legal Assistance From A Domestic Abuse Solicitor- Guest Post

  

The UK Office for National Statistics issued a report in November of last year, highlighting that domestic abuse cases rose significantly during the pandemic. Unfortunately, since people are still not free to go out of their homes, there is a high possibility that they will continue to see an increase in these cases. Given this fact, now more than ever is the right time to keep yourself and your family members safe from any forms of abuse. If you’re part of the rising statistic, know that there’s a light at the end of the tunnel. Talk to a domestic abuse solicitor and understand your legal options. 

What counts as domestic abuse?

Women’s Aid defines domestic abuse as a pattern of incidents or circumstances that involve control, coercion, threats, violent and degrading behaviour, and even sexual violence committed by a spouse, partner, ex-partner, or any family member, guardian, or carer. Though the abuser can either be a man or woman, statistics reveal that most cases involve men as perpetrators. Domestic abuse can include the following: 

  • Coercive control or patterns of isolation, degradation, intimidation, and control coupled with physical or sexual violence 
  • Emotional or psychological abuse
  • Sexual or physical abuse
  • Economic or financial abuse
  • Stalking and all forms of harassment 
  • Digital or online abuse 

How can a domestic abuse solicitor help you?

Though you can always represent yourself or a loved one in a domestic abuse case, you got better things to do — heal and keep yourselves safe pending litigation. So, the most level-headed person who can take on your case, defend you when you have to go to court, and lead you on your road to victory is your lawyer. 

First and foremost, your domestic abuse lawyer will assess your situation, determine the facts of the case, and ask the hard questions to build your case. After hearing your narrative and painting a clearer picture of your current circumstance, he will suggest the best courses of action that you should take to protect and vindicate your rights. This might involve filing an emergency protection order, child arrangements order, or temporary restraining order in the appropriate court. His suggested courses of action will also most likely result in filing a criminal and civil case in court. 

When your case reaches the court, your lawyer will draft your Affidavit Complaint, ensure that it follows the proper form, submits the same to the appropriate court, and ensure that the other party is notified of the said complaint. 

Your lawyer will also ensure that the other party observes the procedural due process in answering the affidavit. Should the other party fail to comply with the same, your lawyer will raise the matter and petition the court to rule the case ex-parte. If your case reaches the litigation stage, your lawyer will be the one to interpellate all the witnesses brought to court. Aside from that, he will also screen the pieces of evidence presented and make necessary objections.

His role doesn’t end after the hearing. When you win the case, he will also ensure that the court order will be implemented according to its letters and intent. In other words, he will be your ally from the start until the final stage of your domestic abuse case. 

Given the crucial role of a lawyer in a domestic abuse case, it, therefore, follows that you should be careful in choosing one. Know your options, research, and choose a lawyer who is more than capable of advancing your cause and winning your case. 

Top 4 Questions to Ask When Hiring a Criminal Defense Attorney-Guest Post

   

You don’t want to think about needing a criminal defense attorney. Unfortunately, sometimes, it is necessary to protect your rights and to have a strong defense. The U.S. Constitution guarantees everyone a fair trial, and that means you are allowed to be represented by the best criminal defense attorney in Minneapolis. Before you hire an attorney, you should ask prospective attorneys these top four questions.

Question #1: What Is Your Background?

You want to make sure the attorney has defended people who are facing similar charges to yours. Therefore, you should ask the attorney for their background. You might want to avoid an attorney who has not tried many cases that are similar to yours or if they are new to criminal law. The more experience an attorney has, the more likely the attorney will understand how different judges operate. They will know the process and the correctional facility personnel. The ones with less experience will have to build these relationships and knowledge of judges. This will make the difference when your case is heard. 

Question #2: What Is Your Approach?

Every attorney has his or her way of doing things. You need to know whether the attorney is a good fit for you. Therefore, you want to ask what their approach to different types of cases is. If you agree with that approach, you can choose that person. However, if the approach doesn’t match your thinking, you might want to pick a different attorney. You also might not like how they approach you as the potential client. You want attorneys who will make you feel calm and not stressed. You want an attorney that makes you feel confident in his or her abilities. You want an attorney who will put your needs and fears first. Attorneys should approach you with the temperament that matches the seriousness of the charges and your personality.

Question #3: What Is the Cost?

Whether your criminal defense attorney will meet your needs depends on many factors beyond the fee to retain counsel. Still, it is an important question to ask. Some defense attorneys are out of your reach financially. Knowing whether you could afford to hire an attorney is helpful information. However, you might be facing a case where one or two attorneys specialize. In that case, you won’t have many options on the fee. You also might want a particular attorney because the person’s style and personality match yours. This would be a case where you would pay the fee regardless of the cost. In most cases though, the cost is important and must be known before picking an attorney.

Question #4: How Are Fees Accepted?

You will want to know how payments are accepted. Some criminal defense attorneys are willing to spread the fee over monthly payments. Others prefer to have their payments through the half at the beginning of the case and a half at the end of the case. You might meet attorneys who could accept payments through new technology while others wish to have a credit card on file. However, your attorney accepts payments and will determine how much money you need to have to retain counsel. You might have to ask for help or get a loan. Asking this question upfront will help you plan your financial strategy.

 

 

 

Author bio: Criminal Defense Lawyer, Lynne Torgerson Esq. has nearly 30 years of experience in law.

She can handle all criminal charges, gun rights, all felonies, gross misdemeanors, and misdemeanors, throughout the State of Minnesota including the Twin Cities of Minneapolis / St. Paul.  Ms. Torgerson, Esq., graduated from the University of Minnesota with a double major, with degrees in political science and psychology.  Follow Lynne on Twitter @lynne_torgerson.

 

 

 

 

 

What are The Possible Consequences of DUI for U.S. Immigrants?- Guest Post

  

DUI Immigration

DUI or Driving Under the Influence (of drugs or alcohol) carries harsh penalties, but the consequences are even more dire if you are not a citizen of the United States.

 

Many immigrants think that a DUI offense cannot affect their immigration status, but the truth is that criminal convictions, especially crimes of moral turpitude — which includes DUI, may be enough basis for removal, denial of entry, denial of application of citizenship, and other immigration consequences.

 

Any non-U.S. citizen charged with DUI needs an experienced immigration attorney to help them manage the immigration-related implications of a conviction.

 

Consequences of DUI for Green Card Holders

 

Can a person legal permanent resident status be deported because of a DUI offense? Well, the short answer is YES. Your green card or LPR status cannot protect you against removal from the U.S., especially if you’ve committed a criminal offense, such as a DUI.

 

While one misdemeanor DUI may not put you at risk if being deported, multiple DUIs or a felony DUI can. The common charges associated with a DUI offense such as criminal damage, endangerment, having children in the car, or driving under the influence of drugs can also render you deportable or inadmissible to the United States.

 

Green card holders and LPRs with DUI convictions could be tried in immigration court. If the judge determines that your offense matches any of the grounds for deportability, you can have your green card taken away.

 

Moreover, those with their green card applications still pending approval may find that a DUI on their record can make the entire process longer than usual.

 

Consequences of DUI for Current Visa Holders

 

If you’re in the United States on a valid visa, a DUI arrest could bring severe consequences your way. Both the federal government and immigration authorities take DUI offenses very seriously. Many DUI offenders have had their visas revoked by the State Department and were either deported or required to re-apply.

 

Even if you did not end up having your immigrant visa revoked, a DUI offense could still create problems for you once you leave and then re-enter the United States. A crime on your record could subject you to increased customs scrutiny when reapplying for a visa or, worse, become a ground for inadmissibility and bar your entry into the U.S.

 

According to U.S. Immigration laws, people who have committed crimes of moral turpitude may be ineligible for admission to the United States. Multiple DUI offenses and DUI with aggravating factors typically involve moral turpitude and can make you inadmissible to the U.S. after having left.

 

Consequences of DUI for Undocumented Immigrants and DACA Recipients

 

Those who are in the U.S. without immigration status are already in a very vulnerable position, and a DUI on their record will only put them in a tighter spot. In many parts of the country, immigration officers have been making arrests and deporting people who are both undocumented and with prior DUI.

 

If you’re a DACA recipient or applying for one, committing a DUI offense could likely cost you your DACA status. DACA is a discretionary benefit. Any convictions can affect your DACA eligibility and put you at risk of deportation.

 

Because of the grave consequences of DUI, it’s critical for DACA recipients with DUI charges to work with a DUI attorney who is experienced in mitigating the immigration consequences of driving under the influence.

 

Consequences of DUI on U.S. Citizenship Application

 

As a green card holder, the most natural next step is to apply for a U.S. citizenship. But since one of the primary requirements for naturalization is “good moral character,” a legal permanent resident with a DUI charge will generally have a harder time obtaining citizenship than others.

 

In many states, naturalization is usually denied if the applicant has a DUI or DWAI type conviction within the past five years. For a better shot at getting approved, wait until at least five years since your conviction has passed and you have established a clean record before applying for citizenship.

 

Note, though, that even after five years, a DUI charge can still delay your application for naturalization because the USCIS will likely require you to provide court documents about your conviction/arrest and study the circumstances surrounding it before coming up with a decision.

 

Get Legal Help

 

Any criminal conviction, not just DUI, can have extensive and lasting immigration ramifications. Handled improperly, a DUI charge can lead to deportation or – worse – cost you your U.S. citizenship.

 

To ensure that the immigration consequences of your DUI, or any criminal offense, is given full consideration and does not jeopardize your chances of permanently living and working in the United States, contact an experienced criminal and immigration lawyer for advice.

 

About the Author

Andrea Williams is the Community Manager at The Law Offices of Alcock & Associates P.C., a premier law group in Arizona that provides legal services to clients involved in Personal Injury, DUI, Immigration and Criminal cases. She enjoys cooking, reading books and playing minigolf with her friends and family in her spare time.