The Nasty Facts Behind Mandatory Minimums

We live in an era when the War on Drugs is extremely unpopular. The vast majority of the country wants to see it rolled back to some extent, and some even want it to end completely.

And its no wonder thats the case. The facts behind drugs are complicated, involving a mix of addiction, poverty, police and society biases, and common mistakes. For all those extenuating points, drug laws are incredibly harsh. Just consider the crack cocaine laws in Massachusetts as outlined by James Powderly Cape Cod Criminal Defense Attorney.

This supposedly very liberal state that you would expect to have far more lenient laws still has a mandatory minimum sentence of one year for a first-time offender. For a single mistake, or self-medication of a serious problem, a person must go to jail for one year. Its even worse if its a second offense. That involves a mandatory three-and-a-half years in prison.

Those mandatory minimums have come under a lot of criticism in recent years. Part of that is because of the absurd number of people in American jails because of them, and part of that is because theres no evidence that such tough tactics work.

In fact, quite the opposite. Mandatory minimums remove the ability of judges and juries to sentence according to the actual situation. They have their hands tied even when the convicted individual has a highly sympathetic reason for their possession of the drug.

While quality lawyers like Mr. Powderly can help some individuals avoid these punishments through excellent lawyering skills, that by no means saves everyone who is at risk of suffering mandatory sentences.

As more people now recognize, the best method to deal with drug problems is through providing the tools to recover from addiction or to remove the individual from a bad environment. While it would be ridiculous to say no one should ever go to jail for a drug crime, the vast majority of cases would be better dealt with through counseling, addiction programs, and efforts to improve life prospects for those caught with the drugs.

This is by no means a novel point. Again, the majority of people are behind this, but for some reason, our laws continue to lag behind. Whether its Massachusetts, Alabama, or Alaska, the laws are all built off an outdated notion that drug use can be limited through threats.

More should be done to provide access to lawyers like Mr. Powderly in the short-term to help more people escape punishments that do no one any good and cost taxpayers millions. In the longer term, we must all lobby our states and our federal representatives to change these laws so that they represent a more effective and more compassionate way to deal with the drug problem in this country.

Crack cocaine may be a serious problem in Cape Cod and elsewhere in this country, but the way towns, cities, states, and the country at large handle the problem isnt working. We need a better solution now.

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The breaks didn’t work

Not sure who to go to and ask about this, so I’m just going to post it here. What do you do if you’ve caused a car accident but it wasn’t your fault?

That probably sounds ridiculous, but I swear, that’s what’s happened to me recently. I was driving down the road and someone stopped suddenly in front of me and I crashed into them. So far, sounds like my fault. But it wasn’t. The car in front of me stopped because the light changed to red really quickly. I wasn’t expecting it, but I was driving at a pretty safe distance. But when I hit the breaks, the car didn’t respond. Or not right away at least. I felt the breaks grab after a second, but it was that second that led to the collision. And now…

Now, I’m in trouble. The cop who responded to the call didn’t believe my story. And my insurance doesn’t believe me either. The guy whose car I hit wasn’t the nicest guy in the world, and he doesn’t believe me either. Nor do my parents. Nor do my friends, who all laughed at my story and said I was making it up.

So no one believes me. But it is true. I swear it is. The breaks didn’t catch until it was too late.

The cop says I was on my phone texting and that is the reason, which just isn’t true. My phone was out, yes, but it was on the passenger seat. I won’t deny that sometimes I do text and drive. I know I shouldn’t, but everyone does sometimes. Sometimes you have to get back to someone.

But I wasn’t doing it just then. I actually had both hands on the wheel and I was facing forward. I hit the breaks when I should. I shouldn’t be at fault.

Of course, because of my driving record, no one believes me. I’ve had a few crashes, all minor, and usually due at least partly to me. I’ll admit that. But this one wasn’t.

As I said, this is important because I’m in trouble now. My insurance is dropping me. I may lose my license. If I lose my license, I’ll lose my job. I don’t have the money that my insurance is saying I’ll have to pay to fix my car and this other guy’s. And that guy isn’t willing to cut any deal. I don’t have the money, and I may not have a job, so I won’t be able to get the money.

What do I do? Is there anyone out there who has an idea? I’ve looked at lawyers, but I’m afraid to take that step. Maybe just because no one else has believed me. But probably because I’m afraid they’ll take what little money I have and run.

I may not have a choice, though. I may have to find a lawyer now. I just don’t see any other way out.

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General Causes of Car Accidents

Car accidents often include enough force to injure someone and destroy property. Aside from the risk to life, injuries and property damages translate to financial burdens. There are the medical costs of injuries and the repair costs of property damages, and there is the possibility of lost wages for losing time at work because of the physical limitations sustained from the accidents.
Also, according to the website of the Chicago car accident lawyers of Karlin, Fleisher & Falkenberg, those who have been hurt in car accidents, especially those that have been caused by someone else’s recklessness or negligence, may have legal options. So, if you have involved an innocent party in your car accident, you have further financial damages, in the form of legal fees and monetary compensations.
The best way to avoid car accidents and their associated financial burdens is road safety, but before that, it is important to know the general causes of car accidents, so you actually have an idea what you are trying to prevent.

Driver Error or Recklessness

Drivers control the vehicles, so it is not surprising that they are some of the primary causes of car accidents. Driver factors can generally be divided into two – error and recklessness. Errors are legitimate driving mistakes, such as failing to use the turn signal or negotiate a curve during a turn. Recklessness involves reckless behaviors in the road, often intentional, like drunk driving and speeding.

Auto Defects

Defects in the vehicle or its parts can also cause accidents, especially if the parts involved are brake systems, door latches, seatbelts, and tires. Designers and manufacturers should be responsible for this, but not solely, because drivers should also maintain their vehicle to prevent wear and tear and inspect them from time to time for possible defects.

Auto Design

The design of the vehicle can also contribute in triggering car accidents. For example, narrow and long vehicles, such as SUV’s and vans, have higher centers of gravity, so they are more likely to rollover. If the driver is not aware of this, he or she may be particularly vulnerable of rolling over, especially during a turning maneuver.

Dangerous Conditions

Dangerous road and weather conditions are some of the most overlooked driving hazards. Conditions such as slippery roads and fog blankets can affect tire traction and road visibility, while defects such as malfunctioning traffic lights can create right-of-way problems.

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Common Reasons for Divorce

Divorce can be a very complicated process, as it involves a lot of legal matters such as distribution of property, child custody, spousal support, and child support. For this reason, you should be entirely sure that you want a divorce before filing for one, because all the legalities can tire you out physically and emotionally. Below are some of the common reasons why spouses file for divorce. If you at least have one of them, filing for a divorce may be worth all the trouble.

Lack of communication
Maybe you and your partner argue all the time and have given up on the idea of reconciliation. You don’t talk anymore to identify and solve problems and bond with each other. In fact, you don’t want to do anything with your spouse anymore and you would rather be alone. Communication is an important part of relationships, and without it, your relationship may be in trouble.

Another reason why spouses file for divorce is neglect on the part of the partner. Neglect may come in the aspects of relationship and responsibility. In the aspect of relationship, it may be the lack of sexual intimacy and the lack of care towards their children. In the aspect of responsibility, it may involve the careless spending of resources and other dangerous habits. There is a good chance that you filing for divorce because of neglect may be contested, and contested divorces can be lengthy and expensive.

Unfaithfulness is one of the most obvious reasons for divorce. It leads to overwhelming feelings of betrayal, pain, and doubt on the part of the cheated spouse. Trust is a fundamental aspect of relationships, and a cheater basically throws trust out of the window, therefore ruining the entire relationship. Unfaithfulness does not just ruin spousal relationship, as it can also ruin entire families because of the repercussions of divorce cases.

Financial Problems
Money is also in the responsibility aspect of relationships, so money issues can become a problem in relationships in the long run. The most common financial issues involve the lack of financial support, but there are instances where negligent behaviors such as overspending and dishonest behaviors like the hiding of assets can be grounds for divorce.

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Understanding The South Carolina DUI Process

When you get charged for DUI, the legal process can be long and time consuming. Depending on the ability of the lawyer you hired, the end result could either be dismissal or you will be charged for a lesser offense such as reckless driving. For a not guilty plea, and if there is no deal from the prosecutor, trial usually commences.

According to the website of Truslow & Trsulow, Attorneys at Law, a DUI charge can be life changing. It is usually associated with criminal and administrative offenses. The DUI trial usually starts with the implied consent hearing. In this stage, the license of the driver may be immediately suspended due to their refusal to be subjected to a chemical test or have a BAC level of more than 0.15%,.

After the implied consent hearing, bench trail starts. In this stage, you will be facing a judge and will plead either guilty or not guilty. As the accused, you have a right to a jury trial. The judge will then set the date of the trial and will select the juries for the case.

Prior to the start of the trial, you will then need to gather evidence to prove your innocence. This could be the police report, CCTV footage if any, in-car video, and others. The testimony of the police man who flagged you can be vital in the decision of the case. You may also want to challenge the validity of the BAC readings, and others.

During the trial, it is best to avoid getting another DUI offense as this could have an impact on the decision of the court. It will be much easier for the prosecution to pin you down for DUI because you committed another offense. During the trial, there will be the presentation of evidence and witnesses. Both sides will be given the chance to cross examine witnesses. If there is no settlement, the process usually ends with the verdict.

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The Immigrant Investor Program or EB-5 Visa: Is This the Right Program for You to Attain Permanent Residency Status in the U.S.?

Foreign nationals who, with their families, dream of relocating to the U.S. are often faced with the complicated and difficult processes associated with visa application. Aside from the various legal matters that need to be dealt with, there are also the lengthy delays and wait times; add to these the experience of many foreign nationals whose visa applications get rejected, usually due to minor errors or filing problems.

The case is different, however, with regard to foreigners who are interested in investing in U.S. jobs and businesses. For these individuals, there is the Immigrant Investor Program, otherwise known as the employment fifth preference visa or EB-5, which will save them from strict visa requirements and time delays.

The EB-5 visa is one of the fastest ways foreign nationals can obtain permanent residency in the U.S. It has three basic requirements:

1. Investment of $1 million for the creation of a new commercial enterprise in the U.S., or $500,000 if the investment is to be made in a Regional Center or a Targeted Employment Area (an EB-5 Regional Center is an organization pre-approved by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS); one of its tasks is to help EB-5 investors and project developers meet the “create 10 jobs” requirement which will help investors qualify under the EB-5 program. A “targeted employment area,” is any geographic area that has an unemployment rate that is at least 150% of the national average. . . Every individual state possesses the authority to designate a geographically limited area as a targeted employment area for the purposes of the EB-5 visa.
2. Prove that the capital used in the investment program is from a legal source and not obtained through criminal or illegal activities; and,
3. Show that the investment has preserved or created, or will preserve or create, the required 10 new jobs for U.S. workers.

After being granted an EB-5 visa, it will take only two years before an investor can request that the conditions on his or her visa be removed in order to have his or her status changed from conditional permanent residency to permanent residency. Approval of this request requires proof that the investor has satisfied all the conditions of the EB-5 Immigrant Investor Program; proof should be shown to the USCIS as the investor makes the petition for the removal of the conditions on his or her visa.

Besides the fast processing time, the limited requirements concerning age, work/educational experience, and English proficiency, the investor can also bring his or her spouse and unmarried children (below 21 years old) in the U.S. and enjoy the privilege of finding work or attending schools.

The Immigrant Investor Program is not for everyone, and not all those who qualify in the program find success. Thus, before making any investment, it is important that a foreign national fully understands the EB-5 visa requirements and the investment options that will help him or her satisfy the program’s requirements, the only way which will earn for him or her a permanent residency status. In connection to this, seeking assistance from an EB-5 visa lawyer may prove to be an advantageous move.

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Car insurance for high risk drivers

Aside from New Hampshire and Virginia, all states including Illinois require vehicle owners to have at least minimum of car insurance coverage for them to be protected in accidents. However, some insurance companies may deny coverage to a driver if he or she is considered to be “high-risk.”

Insurance companies consider “high-risk drivers” as those individuals who have higher chance of filing for a claim. While many insurance companies often make it hard for high-risk drivers to get a car insurance coverage, some agencies assist high-risk drivers to find insurance policies based on their preference. Vehicle drivers can be considered as “high-risk” by insurance companies if they have been convicted of driving under the influence of intoxicants. Such convictions, depending on the graveness of the offense often lead to imprisonment and hefty amount of fines. Drivers are also classified “high-risk” if they have violation records of excessive speeding, driving without or with a suspended license, illegal street racing, traffic violation that cause death, and any acts of recklessness behind the wheels. New drivers and elderly drivers are also considered to be high-risk drivers. Certain types of vehicles like sports cars, super cars, and vintage cars belong to the insurance category of high-risk.

According Franklin, WI car accident attorneys, high-risk drivers should not fret if they are denied coverage by insurance companies. Fortunately, there are plans called “assigned risk” designed for high-risk drivers to comply with the car insurance requirement in Illinois. Aside from insurance agencies, high-risk drivers may try applying for an assigned risk plan in their state’s Department of Insurance. Assigned risk plans are offered by insurance companies collaborating with the state. The state’s Department of Insurance usually considers high-risk driver applicants after several private insurance companies continue to deny them of coverage. High-risk drivers should understand that assigned risk plans are quite expensive compared to other insurance policies that are normally offered.

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Child Support

While divorce is often a healthy and appropriate choice for a couple to make, there are certain aspects to it that prove to be complicated and difficult to navigate. One of the more complicated parts of a divorce agreement can be negotiating child support. This process must lead to a decision that is fair to both parents and the child or children involved. This is a delicate topic and must be handled by an experienced legal professional. It is important to know the nuances of such an agreement so that parents can make the best decisions possible for their children.

It is of vital importance that not only are Child Support agreements established to the satisfaction of both parents, but that these agreements are enforced once they are agreed upon. The website of the BB Law Group PLLC explains that this can be very helpful in: establishing regular schedules, proving that an ex cannot financially disregard responsibility, providing children with necessary funding for needs, allowing financial security for a spouse / children, and mandating that the law must be followed. Children of divorced parents rely on the consistency of these agreements being upheld. Although it can be frustrating, it is often best to seek legal repercussions for a spouse that fails to adhere to a child support agreement.

While divorces are often for the best, they are always tumultuous and emotional times for all family members involved. Child support can be a point of negotiation and in many cases one of the more problematic parts of a divorce agreement.

Establishing this agreement and then enforcing these terms can be a difficult process, but it is important to the stability and the future well-being of the entire family that an experienced legal professional helps the family come to a conclusion that is agreeable and consistent for everyone involved.

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Dangerous Medications

We expect the medications we buy to be helpful to us, and to improve our lives. Although we are all aware of side effects that can accompany certain medications, we make the best health decisions for ourselves considering all of the risks. It is unfortunate, then, when medications prove to be dangerous in ways that were unanticipated. When patients are unaware of certain harmful side effects that accompany a particular medication, they are likely to make a decision to take that medication that they would not have made had they been aware of all of the risks. It is important to be wary of all of the potential dangerous side associated with any medication they take.

Many medications are just now revealing themselves to be dangerous. One prominent example of this is the medication Depakote. The FDA recently released warning that Depakote can cause harmful birth defects, such as Spina bifida and other spinal defects, Brain defects, Malformation of face or skull, and Malformation of cardiovascular system, if taken by pregnant mothers. This led to a Depakote lawsuit in which these effects were brought to light.

Medication such as Depakote, which was originally prescribed to treat seizures, can often be very effective at accomplishing their intended purpose. However, the dangerous side effects associated with them that may not reveal themselves for many years can make the harmful to those in certain conditions. If this is the case, and the victim of a tragedy relating to a dangerous medication was not properly warned of all of the medications potential side effects, they may be owed certain damages.

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Nursing Home Abuse

As our loved ones reach a certain age, there comes a time when they might need to move to an assisted living facility. Many of these facilities are wonderful and can help residents live happy and healthy lives and provide peace of mind for their families. However, some of these facilities prove to be harmful places, in which the elderly are subject to tragedies such as theft, molestation, or abuse. Nursing home abuse is a tragedy that no family should have to face, yet these occurrences happen every day to some of the most vulnerable victims. These occurrences cannot go ignored and families should be vigilant and wary when entrusting a caretaker with their loved one.

According to the website of the Abel Law Firm, some warning signs family members should be on the lookout for include:

  • Staff members who are unwilling to answer questions or let you tour certain areas
  • Unexplained bruises, cuts, or other injuries on your loved one
  • Deterioration in your loved one’s health not explained by pre-existing conditions
  • Signs of trauma in your loved one (regressive behavior, sudden aggression, social withdrawal)
  • Unnecessary restraints or overmedication

These signs should always be investigated, as they could serve as red flags that alert family to a greater tragedy that is occurring in a place they considered to be intrinsically safe.

The website of the Sheboygan personal injury lawyers at Habush Habush & Rottier S.C. ® notes that “although nursing home abuse can take many different forms, the challenges that elderly residents may face as a result of any type of abuse can be devastating.” This behavior can be extremely harmful and traumatic for the victim and the victim’s family. It cannot be tolerated and anyone who learns of this should seek legal representation and prevent anyone else from suffering any further.

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