Criminal Defense: Defending Against Drug Possession

It is easy to assume that the men and women in blue are the righteous, law-abiding officers that they should be. However, as a great fictional uncle once said, “With great power comes great responsibility.”

There are some people in positions of power who abuse their titles and don’t necessary uphold the law but, rather exploit their command of it. Such is the defense that can be taken with the criminal charge of drug possession, according to the website of criminal attorney Mark Lassiter. There have been some cases wherein the evidence was illegally seized. You, as a natural person, are protected by your constitutional rights and should the police violate these rights, it is a viable defense for drug possession. However, any criminal defense attorney will tell you that it is sheer folly to defend yourself in a court of law.

It can be quite the brutal battle field, court room debacles, and legal practitioners speak in a language that is all their own and, if you are not properly represented, you could lose everything – and more. Drug possession, in some countries, is taken so seriously that they practice capital punishment and execution when the accused is found guilty. It might not be quite so severe in this part of the world but the consequences of drug possession are life altering all the same – and not in the good way. Educational and professional opportunities will be suddenly closed to you; you must now live with the stigma of the conviction attached to your shadow and even your family’s reputation. Simply paying the fines and believing the conviction to lose its potency on your reputation is a false interpretation of how the world works. It will be a permanent part of your identity and it can never be expunged.

Therefore, it is recommended that should you or someone you know be accused of drug possession, it is of the utmost importance to contact specialized legal help immediately.

Texas Law on Juvenile Offenders

Juvenile offenders are typically treated differently from adult offenders because they are presumed to have an incomplete or inadequate appreciation of the gravity of their actions when they commit a crime. For example, if a 10-year-old hits a playmate during an argument, it is unlikely that the child will be charged with assault.

However, juvenile offenders, especially habitual ones, do not get off with a warning and a slap on the wrist for serious crimes such as theft or sexual assault. In Texas, juvenile offenders between the age of 10 and 16 are turned over to Texas Juvenile Justice Department if it is necessary for the protection of others and to prevent further criminals acts from being carried out by the child. A criminal defense lawyer in Dallas will be quick to point out that children below 10 years old are not held accountable at all.

From this point on, the process becomes much more complicated. While a juvenile is given the same rights as an adult defendant, because it is a child who is being taken into custody, there are restrictions about how they are handled within the system. And while a child may not actually go to prison, their records will show that they have been adjudicated for delinquent conduct or “conduct in need of supervision” which will be reflected in their juvenile records. Some may be remanded to “juvy” homes designed to treat habitual delinquents.

Parents make decisions for that child and have rights of access, and they can choose to fight criminal charges instead of accepting probation or paying a fine. This would be advisable especially if it is a first offense, no matter how minor the charge, because paying a fine or accepting probation indicates an admission of guilt can reflect on the child for a long time after the fact.

When your child is facing charges as a juvenile, don’t think that it will eventually go away. Juvenile records are sealed, but not deleted, so anyone with the proper authority can have access to them which may have undesirable consequences on your child in the future. To avoid the need for fear or expunction, get a criminal defense lawyer to handle the case and help you fight the charges.

Scarred for Life

One of the most common aftereffects of accidents is scarring, and while external scars seldom pose physical health problems, they do have an adverse effect on a person’s quality of life. Some scars can make it physically uncomfortable or even painful to do certain movements, such as burn scars over joints, and limits an individual’s range of movement. But perhaps the biggest motivation for plastic surgeons to manage scars is their psychological and emotional effect on a person, especially when they are on the face, disfiguring, or both.

Most people are visual animals; they are seldom able to look past the exterior into the person under the scars on first acquaintance, which can be disconcerting for all concerned. Even if many people can ignore or don’t care about the scars, people with facial and other noticeable scars often feel uncomfortable in social situations, imagining that people are talking about them, and many lapse into depression and low self-esteem. Some experience posttraumatic stress disorder especially when the scars were acquired in a violent manner.

There are procedures to eliminate or at least minimize facial scarring but not all are good candidates for them. There are many factors to consider in cosmetic surgery, and the results may not be what patients expect or hope to get. Plastic surgeons encounter these problems for patients with acne scars, but it is even more distressing with accident victims. In most cases, there is nothing that can be done to put them back to the way they were before.

What is even more difficult to accept is when the scars are a result of the negligent acts of others. According to the website of law firm Crowe Mulvey, it could be due drunk driving, an unsafe work site, an improperly restrained animal, or a defective product. In each of these cases, the adverse incidents are preventable, and this makes the third party liable for any injuries and other consequences of their actions. If you have sustained extensive or severe scarring due to a negligent accident, you may have the right to compensation for the pain and suffering you were made to go through. Consult with a personal injury lawyer to find out more.

Minors and DWI or DUI Charges

It’s tough being a minor if you have a penchant for alcohol. While 21 is the legal age for drinking alcohol, a minor can drink if on private premises or in a bar or restaurant that serves alcohol as long as they are chaperoned by an adult i.e. parent, spouse, or guardian.

There was a time when the legal drinking age was 18. After all, the legal voting age in the US is 18, so if you can vote for the people who will run the country, surely you should be considered responsible enough to drink a couple of beers. But when the National Minimum Drinking Age Act was passed in 1984 in reaction to the increase in drunk driving fatalities, it stipulated that the federal drinking age was 21. Several states followed suit in the same year, but with the previously mentioned exceptions.

When charged with drunk driving, the age is important because it can spell the difference between a driving while intoxicated (DWI) and driving under the influence (DUI or DUII). DWI typically carries heavier penalties than DUI, and DUIs are reserved for defendants who are under the age of 21. However, even less serious offenses are still serious and should not be taken lightly. Furthermore, a minor can still be charged with DWI/DUII if they are indeed impaired while driving when apprehended.

According to the website of an experienced attorney Ian Inglis, a DUI charge is typically given when a minor has any detectable alcohol in the system, meaning you can be charged even if your blood alcohol content (BAC) is below the legal limit of .08 if you are a minor. BUT, it is also an offense to merely have possession of alcohol in the vehicle even if you are not driving or drinking.

If charged with DUI or DWI, you could be facing a suspension of your license for a minimum of 30 days, fines, and a black mark on your record. Consult with a lawyer in the area specializing in criminal defense of alcohol-related offenses to handle your case.

The Greater Risk of 15-passenger Vans to Rollover

In 2004 the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) released information regarding the great risk of heavily loaded 15-passenger vans to rollover accidents. This move was part of the NHTSA’s extensive campaign to significantly reduce the more than 30,000 rollover accidents in the US each year.

Rollover accidents have been occurring since the mid of the 19th century. It was not until recently, however, when these caught the government’s attention, due to the thousands of injuries and deaths they cause. And with the increase in the number of vans in the 90s, plus the addition of SUVs, the number of rollovers involving these types of vehicles also rose.

A rollover can happen to any type of vehicle that has a great tendency to oversteer or turn a bit more sharply or farther than actually intended, especially when you are managing a turn or a curve. Vehicles that have a high center of gravity, though, like vans, pick-ups and SUVs have a higher tendency of rolling over, since their center of gravity is farther from the ground.

The risk of a rollover is still much higher in 15-passenger vans, especially if it is filled with passengers. This is because the more individuals there are in the van, the higher its center of gravity becomes. Adding heavy cargo inside or, worse, on the roof, will further raise its center of gravity, rendering the van to tip easily during a sharp, emergency turn. This is because the combined weight of cargo and passengers will reduce the vehicle’s stability, and so, increase its tendency to oversteer.

Some of the precautions issued by the NHTSA to owners of vans and SUVs are: have passengers, if there are only a few, occupy the seats that are frontward of the vehicle’s rear axle; refrain from loading heavy cargo on the roof or inside the vehicle, otherwise, make sure that the cargo’s weight is equally distributed and that it does not exceed the vehicle’s maximum safe load; and, most important of all, make sure that the vehicle bought is equipped with the ESC or the Electronic Stability Control, a safety device that helps drivers keep control of the vehicle. The device also applies automatic brakes on each wheel when the vehicle skids, reducing the chances of a rollover accident.

Many individuals have been victims of rollover accidents in the past; many have lost their lives due to the accident, while most of those who survived were left with severe injuries that required costly medical treatment and resulted to loss of income due to the victim’s inability to report to work. Since rollovers cause personal injuries, or injuries resulting from the negligent or careless behavior of someone else, the law gives victims all the right to seek and receive compensation from the liable individual or party. Many victims have been shortchanged in the past as they dealt with the liable parties on their own. Hiring a good lawyer, who fully knows his/her trade, would be a really good decision as he/she may be your ticket to getting the amount of compensation that you legally deserve.

Propane Explosion: Surely an Avoidable Accident

In July of 2013 propane explosions shook a refilling plant in Tavares, Florida, injuring about eight plant workers and requiring at least a half-mile evacuation area. Propane explosions, which cause serious injuries and/or death in many homes and work places, have become more frequent in the US. Some of the reasons why propane explosions occur include improper maintenance of propane facilities, equipment failure, improper use of the propane, gas leaks and human error.

It only requires a small amount of propane for an explosion to occur. Thus, any hint or suspicion of propane leak, you should never switch on or use any device or appliance which causes a spark; and make sure that you entrust the repair of the leak only to a qualified individual.

Though a highly flammable gas and, therefore, dangerous, propane is, nonetheless, a very common fuel used in American homes. People use it to cook food, barbecue, heat their homes and fuel engines. To keep from the possible occurrence of a propane explosion, propane systems and propane-powered appliances should be checked by qualified service technicians regularly. Home residents should also refrain from using propane grills inside their home or in small and enclosed areas, as well as from using damaged propane cylinders or tanks.

If an exploding propane tank inside a residential unit is enough to tear down an apartment; imagine what a 10,000-gallon propane tank could do to a plant facility and the workers inside that plant. Explosion injuries are sometimes sustained by completely innocent parties in accidents that could have been avoided. For example, complying with the stipulations of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) regarding proper handling, labeling and storage of propane and other hazardous elements can significantly reduce workplace injury.

The primary duty of ensuring safety in the workplace is placed on the shoulders of every employer, thus employers should include maintenance of safety a duty of everyone in the workplace. According to the website of a Fayetteville Workers Compensation Lawyer, failure to make the workplace a safe area for everyone is an act of negligence and a violation of OSHA safety standards – an act punishable under the law.

Safety – The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s Highest Priority

As an arm of the US Department of Transportation, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), which oversees the commercial trucking industry, continues to enforce trucking regulations intended to ensure safety in motor carrier transportation.

The enforcement of various federal regulations, such as the truck’s braking system standard regulation, tire’s tread depth requirement, commercial driver’s license (CDL) program and hours of service (HOS), runs in harmony of the administration’s highest priority, which is safety.

According to the website of Habush Habush & Rottier S.C. ®Operation of a commercial motor vehicle (CMV), like a big rig or an 18-wheeler truck, which has an 80,000 lb. or 40 ton-weight and which measures up to 70 feet long, requires advanced skills, physical abilities, experience and knowledge. Since an 18-wheeler can practically crush anything in its path (still objects or other vehicles) in a ramming accident and, thus, cause greater damage and more severe injuries due to its speed and huge size, a driver should be equipped with the skills and knowledge that will enable him/her to avoid such situations. Thus, anyone applying for a CDL should first pass advanced knowledge and skills tests prior to obtaining a license.

No matter how good a truck driver might have become in performing his or her job, fatigue and sleepiness will not save him or her from a possible road disaster, such as a trucking accident. To make sure that no driver renders more than an 11 consecutive hours on duty, the FMCSA has mandated an 11 hours maximum hours of service. And to ensure that drivers get the sleep they need even while on the road, trucks have been designed with a sleeper berth area where drivers can take their much-needed rest.

Concerning manufacturers, DOT requires them to strictly observe the quality standards in the design and production of tires and brake parts. This is because recent records from the FMCSA show that the most common causes of big rig accidents is defect in either truck brakes or tires. Defective truck parts, unless checked and replaced by the driver, can cause worse accidents. Many lives have already been lost due to such defects and many more lives will still be lost if production of defective and poor-quality truck parts continues.

Dog Bites – A Negligent Act of Dog Owners

Dogs are the most common household pets in the United States and families having as many as a dozen dogs in their homes are a familiar sight to many. These animals are simply adorable and, though, some may not really look charming, this lack is compensated by their playfulness and loyalty to their masters or caretakers.

The lovable characteristics of these animals, which have even been depicted in some films, present a startling contrast, though, to reports of dog bites around the country which, according to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) number to 800,000 every year.

Since majority of those bitten are owners’ young children and older adults, some consider dog bite injuries as simple, minor wounds. In reality, however, many bites cause lacerations, nerve damage and, as mentioned by the car accident lawyers at Habush Habush & Rottier S.C., scarring, broken bones, disfigurement and even death.

Dog bite injuries are most commonly suffered by young boys aged four to nine years, but the worst and most traumatic bites, which are on the head or neck, are suffered by children below four years old. In fact, due to the severity of these bites, many children are no longer able to recover.

Only certain breeds of dogs cause bite injuries, however, and these breeds have been identified, even by dog experts, as naturally more hostile than other dogs. Topping the list of these “more hostile” canines are Pit bull terriers (and their mixes) and Rottweiler. In many states, Pit bulls have even been identified as lethal weapons and police have been authorized by courts to shoot these dogs if these threaten to attack or bite anyone. Between 2005 and 2012, at least 250 fatal attacks on senior citizens and children involved Pit bulls alone.

Though dogs can be trained, CDC still strongly enforces the Leash law, which requires dog owners to put a leash on their dogs, especially if they will take their dogs for a walk. In all states, dog owners are also held responsible for any harm or injury that their dog/s will cause.

Major Health Issues can Affect A Child Custody Case

When making decisions regarding custodial rights, family law courts in all US states always consider the children’s best interests as their primary determining factor. In the past, child custody was awarded to only one parent, while the other was given visitation rights to ensure his/her continuous communication with the child. Today, however, joint physical and legal custody may be granted by the court if both spouses are deemed by the court as fit custodians and if the physical, mental and emotional contributions of both are vital to the child’s growth and development.

Joint physical custody gives both spouses the right to have equal time with the child, while joint legal custody allows them to make decisions that will affect the child’s religious development, education and health.

There are occasions, however, when special issues arise, which alter the circumstances and which necessitate modifications in the custody arrangement decided by the court. A few of these special issues can be:

  • The child preferring to live with one parent
  • The custodial parent remarries and the child cannot adjust well with
  • The new step-parent or the step-parent’s child / children
  • One parent is convicted of a crime
  • One parent becomes alcohol and/or drug dependent
  • The physical and/or mental health of one parent becomes an issue

A parent suddenly diagnosed with a severe health condition will definitely have his/her custodial rights over the child affected, considering the fact that such serious illness may render him/her incapable of satisfying all the child’s needs.

One example of a serious illness that can suddenly alter a person’s health and physical condition is mesothelioma. As mentioned in the website of Williams Kherkher, mesothelioma is an incurable and deadly malignant cancer caused by exposure to asbestos.

Like all other types of cancer, mesothelioma cannot be diagnosed during its early stage, but manifests itself only when it has already worsened and can no longer be treated. Deadly as it is, there can be no other time when having custody of your child would mean so much to you. If your former spouse would obstinately deny you the rights or even privilege of having your children live with you, then having a really good lawyer who, fully understanding your health situation, would be determined to strongly fight for your interests and rights.

Topamax, A Dangerous Drug for Pregnant Women

In 1996, the anticonvulsant generic drug Topamax, more popular under the name Topiramate, began to be prescribed to patients suffering from migraine and seizures due to epilepsy. This Johnson & Johnson product came to be an effective relief from the excruciating pains of migraine, as well as an effective means in holding back epileptic seizures by controlling signals released by the nerves.

Because Topamax clearly worked better than any other anticonvulsant drug, it became the first choice of doctors when prescribing this type of drug to patients, even to pregnant women. A particular drug can have different effects in people who use it, however, mainly due to the differences in how each person’s body reacts to medicine. Thus, it was not long after it became available that cases of severe side-effects, which particularly affected the unborn child, began to circulate.

The most common recorded Topamax side effects on the unborn child are cleft lip, cleft palate and hypospadias, a congenital condition wherein the urethra’s opening (the urethra is the tube which connects the genitals to the urinary bladder) develops under the male organ. Pregnant women, to whom Topamax has been prescribed, usually give birth to children with any of these injuries. These birth defects may be corrected through a surgical procedure, but this will have to done upon the baby’s birth – a definitely costly treatment for the child’s family.

The severe harm caused by the said drug on the unborn were concerns serious enough to make the US Food and Drug Administration issue a statement regarding the great risks to which the drug exposed the unborn child. With this statement, the FDA also advised doctors to observe extra precaution when prescribing the drug to pregnant women.

The pharmaceutical dangers linked to Topamax did not affect the unborn only, however. Many other side-effects were recorded that were suffered by other patients who used the drug. These side-effects included diarrhea, speech and/or coordination problems, paresthesia or “pins and needles,” which is numbness in one’s arms and/or legs, memory recall issues, fatigue, nausea, dizziness and so forth.