Why I don’t assume people are guilty

I’ll always have sympathy for those accused of crimes until they’re proven guilty, even when they look guilty as sin from the outside. I know that isn’t a popular attitude these days. With the Harvey Weinstein story out there, it is probably very cathartic to assume he’s guilty and to cheer on everything that happens to him, but I have personal experience that makes me hold back.

When I was a kid in the ‘70s (not a kid, but I was in my early 20s, you’ll have to forgive me, everyone seems like a kid to me nowadays), I was charged with drug possession and nearly went to prison.

This was early on in the drug war years, and the police were searching anyone with long hair, just assuming that was reasonable enough proof they were smoking something.

I, actually, was not smoking something. Though I did have long hair and listened to all the right music, I didn’t go in for the drug scene. My father was an alcoholic, and that scared me away from anything that might give me a cloudy head or lead me down a bad road. I played it straight. I didn’t judge people for doing otherwise (still don’t), but it wasn’t for me.

That didn’t stop the police from assuming I was hiding something. One such officer harassed me in a park. He searched my pockets and whatnot, and when he didn’t find anything, he went looking around for anything on the ground. Unluckily for me, someone had actually thrown the butt of a joint in the grass. It was cold, clearly hadn’t been smoked in a week, but that was enough for the officer.

Off I went to the jail. I was fingerprinted, booked, and everything. Once the story was out, once I was released and had a court date, I don’t know how many people shook their heads at me, absolutely certain that I was guilty. And not just that I was guilty but that it wasn’t a misunderstanding or a one-time thing. Many people, including many close friends and some family, assumed I must be some kind of junky.

Now, for those too young to remember, the political climate was quite bad back then, in some ways better than now but in others much worse. There was an assumption that anyone in the counterculture was worthless and deserved any punishment they got.

But that sort of assumption, that attitude, is exactly what makes me pause before condemning people now. I think Harvey Weinstein is probably guilty, but I can’t be sure yet. I was lucky enough to find a good criminal lawyer. I am sure Mr. Weinstein will have the best anyone can pay for. I don’t really worry about him.

I do worry about the small time guys who get caught up in things they aren’t responsible for, though, just like me. I’m sure my situation happens every day still to this day. I hope people are more understanding. I also hope criminal lawyers are cheaper than they used to be. People need the chance to prove they’re innocent.

Hundreds of People Continue to Suffer Unduly Because of Reckless Drivers

Before becoming a licensed driver, a person applying for a license is first required by the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) to undergo formal driving lessons and go through written and actual driving tests to ensure that he/she has learned and developed proper road behavior. This is because driving is a privilege, not a right; therefore, no one can or should drive as if he or she owns the road. Simply put, public roads and highways should be no place for anyone who would fit the description of “reckless driver”.

A reckless driver, as defined under the laws of the United States, is a person who willfully and wantonly disregards the safety of persons and properties. The following are considered reckless driving behavior in the U.S.:

  • Overtaking an ambulance or a stopped school bus that is loading or unloading passengers;
  • Failing to use signal light when turning, slowing down, or stopping;
  • Driving above the speed limit in parking areas and public roads;
  • Maneuvering improperly;
  • Overtaking another vehicle on a one lane road or overtaking two vehicles simultaneously on a highway by driving in the lane of on-coming traffic or on the shoulder;
  • Drowsing off while driving, driving the opposite direction on a one-way street, and parking in a highway;
  • Passing a car where the view of oncoming traffic is obstructed, like on a curve or on the crest of a hill;
  • Running a red light or a stop sign; and,
  • Driving a vehicle that has defective parts, like faulty brakes or worn out tires.

Reckless driving is a serious traffic violation because it is a threat to people’s lives and properties. Though considered a misdemeanor, a charge can be raised to Class A misdemeanor (which means jail sentence of up to 12 months and/or a $5,000 fine) or felony if it causes injuries or death. In some states, reckless drivers can also have their driver’s license suspended or revoked. If the violation, however,  is committed in Federal territories, such as the George Washington Parkway, the Pentagon area, the Quantico area, in military bases, or in Northern Virginia Federal government facilities, then offenders are sure to suffer heavier penalties.

No one can be more aware of the dangers of reckless driving and the severity of injuries resulting from road accidents caused by reckless drivers than personal injury lawyers. Boston accident attorneys of Crowe & Mulvey, LLP, specifically, say that thousands of people suffer unduly because of reckless drivers, and are left with both injuries and high medical costs as a result. In the worst of cases, families may lose loved ones because of the irresponsible choices of reckless drivers.

Dealing with the consequences of a car accident caused by reckless driving can be difficult, but for many injury victims, it may be possible to recover compensation for the damages they may have suffered.

Driving recklessly is a choice and, though, accidents are never intended, drivers who choose to be reckless should understand that they put lives on the line the moment they start not to care about the safety of others – this is just one major driving mistake that they should not be allowed to get away with.

 

Child Custody: It’s all about Ensuring the Best Interest of the Child

Child Custody: It’s all about Ensuring the Best Interest of the Child

Child custody, which is intended to ensure that the best interests of the child are prioritized even after divorce, is a critical divorce-related issue. Its mandate is that the child’s future should never be compromised. Thus, whoever the court assigns as the custodial parent becomes responsible with regard to the child’s education, medical care and other growth needs.

The law firm Higdon, Hardy & Zuflacht explains, “Child custody and support cases can arise for a number of reasons and situations. Separations, divorce, parental deaths, parental incompetence, and a variety of other situations can give rise to child custody hearings. These are never easy, regardless of the different reasons for a custody hearing. Such cases are particularly important as they deal with the future of a child, and all parties involved should seek to find a custody solution that is in the best interest of a child, both short- and long-term. This becomes difficult, however, when multiple parties each believe they can provide the best environment for the child, and in such cases, legal action is necessary to ensure the child is put with the parent or guardian that will provide the best care. Given the gravity of such a decision, it is imperative to have an experienced and dedicated team to guide you through the often frightening experience of undergoing a custody battle.”

While there may be different types of child custody, courts, if they can, assigns both parents as custodians to ensure their continuous participation in their child’s life.

Child custody can be:

  • Legal custody – this type of custody grants the custodial parent the right to decide about what is good for their child, such as where the child should study and what church he/she should go to are a couple of these things. Some courts usually award legal custody to both parents. If this will be the case, then the custodial parent will have no right to withhold the responsibility and right of the other parent to decide for their child.
  • Sole custody – if one parent is deemed unfit by the judge to continue caring for his/her child, usually due to drug dependency, alcoholism, mental incapacity, child abuse or unsuitable new partner, or unsuitable living environment, then sole custody will most probably the court’s option.
  • Physical custody – this type allows the custodial parent to be in the same house with his/her children. If the parents happen to live near one another, then joint physical custody may be decided by the court instead; this decision will also allow both parents to continue spending almost equal time with their child.
  • Joint custody –this type of custody allows both parents to have joint and joint legal custody over their child.
  • Split Custody – Though an uncommon type of custody, this, however, refers to situations where siblings may be split between two parents.

Custody decisions are not always final and may be appealed for a number of reasons, particularly if the person granted with custody later proves unfit or drastic changes occur in the child or parent’s life.

Keep Yourself Safe on the Road or be Sorry

About 112,000 of motorcycle crashes were reported to the U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) in 2012. 4,957 of these crashes were fatal, while 93,000 caused serious injuries.

Studies show that majority of motorcycle accidents and crashes involve riders who never received formal riding education. Rather than learning how to properly ride a motorbike in a riding school, these riders believed that learning from friends or kin was enough. Motorcycling, however, is not just learning how to balance or how to maneuver a motorbike through traffic; the top priority is learning how to ride it safely. Thus, with many riders not learning how to ride properly and with the number of motorcycles continuously increasing, it will not be a surprise if the number of crashes will increase too.

Of the types of motorcycle accidents, single vehicle accidents are the most common. Causes of these types of accidents include riding while impaired by alcohol, riding too fast even during poor weather conditions, and failure to brake and maneuver properly, especially while rounding a corner. Due to these causes, it is not uncommon for motorcyclists to lose their balance and crash into road fixtures and get thrown off from their bikes.

Multiple-vehicle crashes are less common, though these result to more serious injuries and fatalities. Multiple-vehicle crashes involve another vehicle, such as a car. The worst kind of multiple-vehicle crashes is head-on collision, which often occurs in undivided highways, especially rural highways, where drivers and riders tend to drive/ride at fast speeds, and wherein one vehicle (either the motorbike or the other vehicle) happens to travel on the wrong side of the road.

Most multiple-vehicle crashes occur because many motor vehicle drivers fail or refuse to notice approaching motorcyclists or because many drivers deny motorcyclists their right of way. Despite actual crashes that verify these situations, many drivers continue to blame motorcycle riders, saying that they often careen in and out of traffic, putting their own lives at risk.

The NNHTSA affirms through crash studies that in multiple-vehicle crashes motorcycle riders are more susceptible to injuries or death due to the absence of whatever may protect them from the force of impact during collision. Injuries resulting from motorcycle accidents can actually be enough to permanently alter victims’ lives besides causing them emotional and physical trauma. Nothing can be more painful, however, if it turns out that the accident occurred simply because the one at fault acted recklessly or negligently.

A serious accident is naturally followed by many questions and concerns, especially if it caused injury. Thus, like any other personal injury law firm, it helps victims cope with the sudden and numerous changes in their lives after suffering an injury, by providing them with the necessary legal representation that will help them seek compensation from the liable party. The consequences of a car accident may extend well beyond damage to a vehicle and may include extensive medical bills, missed work income, and long-term or permanent bodily harm. This is why, if you get involved in an accident, getting in touch with a personal injury lawyer may be of utmost importance.

Wrongful Death vs Survival Action : What’s The Difference?

Wrongful Death vs Survival Action : What’s The Difference?

When a person dies unexpectedly, the first thing that the surviving family members will do is recover potential loss. According to the website of Williams Kherkher, the family of the deceased is forced to cope with the death and cope with the loss. In such instances, there are two possible actions that they will do and that is file a wrongful death claim and a survival action case. But what is the difference between the two? Let us take a look.

Wrongful Death

Wrongful death compensates the family of the deceased for their losses. In this type of claim, the lost wages is recoverable and usually includes lost wages that can be recovered by the family members as well as the emotional toll of the sudden death of their loved one.

The damages will go directly to the family members and need not pass through the deceased’s estate. In wrongful death, there are restrictions as to which relative can claim the damages. In some states, it is limited to the spouse or minor children. In other states, the adult children and dependent grandchildren can claim.

Aside from that, there are states that allows family members to recover for grief while in others it is only limited to lost support and guidance.

Survival Action

With survival action, the damage goes to the estate and not directly to the family members. It will then be divided among the family members according to the will of the deceased. If there is no will, the division will be pursuant to the law. In addition, the family members cannot recover for their personal losses.

Depending on what state they are located, the surviving family members can file a wrongful death and survival action case. In some states, while both actions can be pursued, surviving family members cannot recover for both claims.