Archive for September, 2017

How Does Three Strikes Law Work in California?

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This law came into effect in 1994, in an attempt to curb crime rates. Essentially, it proposed a much stricter punishment for people who were convicted of a felony if they had prior serious or violent felony convictions. These priors were named ‘strikes’, hence the 3-strike law. If you

Definition of a Felony

Before we can continue the discussion about this problematic law, we need to define some basic terms. A felony is a criminal act punishable by a state or federal prison, as opposed to a county jail. Felony is more serious than a misdemeanor, but it is still a very broad category. It includes everything from petty theft to rape and murder.

What Is a ‘Violent or Serious Prior’?

In order to be convicted under three strikes law rules, the defendant needs to have two priors which are deemed violent or serious. Even though this may seem a bit arbitrary and open to interpretation, this category is actually very well defined and documented in Section 667.5(c) and 1192.7(c) of the Penal Code.

Crimes included in this category are murder, kidnapping, most sex offenses, but also burglary and robbery. Additionally, any crime where a weapon was used, regardless of whether anyone was injured, arson and crimes involving explosive devices are on this list as well. Any attempt to commit any of these crimes is also considered a ‘violent or serious’ crime and can be used as a strike. A good example of this can be found here https://www.monderlaw.com/news/356-chief-keef-robbery-assault-criminal-case-understanding-the-elements-of-a-crime.

Second Strike

Even though the law is called three strikes, even after the first strike, things get much more serious for the defendants. If convicted, these people must serve prison sentences. That means that they cannot be sent to a rehabilitation facility or given probation.

What’s more, they need to be sentenced for a duration which is at least twice as long as the sentence for a first-time offender. Bad news doesn’t stop there, however. They must serve at least 80% of their sentence, compared to a third or a half of the sentence that non-strike prisoners typically serve, provided they display good behavior and do some work while in prison.

Third Strike

A person with two strikes who is accused of a felony faces a truly draconic punishment – 25 to life. Additionally, no time off is awarded to these prisoners, even if they are model prisoners and work hard.

After they have served the minimum (which is 25 years), they are eligible for parole. However, since there haven’t been any inmates who have served the required minimum, there’s no knowing whether this parole will be granted. The first cases of parole-eligible three-strikers will come up in 2019.

Is Three Strike an Obligatory Punishment?

There are instances when the Three Strike Law is put aside. The court itself or the prosecutor may feel that the second or the third strike are not in line with the serious and violent nature of a ‘strike-worthy’ crime. The courts have had this right since 1860, in order to ensure the implementation of justice. However, they need to state explicitly why they are putting strikes aside. This move can be appealed by the prosecution and it needs to be reviewed by the Court of Appeals.

Just because it’s possible, it doesn’t mean that it is practiced often. In most cases, it’s because the third crime is a minor one, or the previous crimes happened a long time ago.

What’s the Problem with the System?

Even though a lot of people voted to implement it, most of them weren’t familiar with the full scope of this law. What people mostly focused was that it would put away repeat felons with multiple rape, murder, and armed robbery charges.

However, the majority of those convicted were on the less violent and serious end of the felony spectrum; people like petty thieves and drug users.

To contact Monder Law Group
424 F Street, San Diego, CA, US
619-405-0063

September 30, 2017 ¡ Tim Kevan ¡ Comments Closed
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Tackling the Problem of Distracted Driving (USA)

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Despite every effort, road accidents caused by distracted drivers are still a major problem.

Of the 1,469 car accidents in the UK in 2015 which resulted in a fatality, over 500 of them were attributed to a lack of due care and attention by a driver.

Understanding the Problem

There’s a wide range of activities which can inadvertently divert a drivers attention away from the road. These root causes can be divided into three main categories, physical, visual, and cognitive distractions, each highlighting the different ways a driver can be impaired and thus safety becomes compromised.

Because smartphones now having multiple features and capabilities, distracted driving is increasingly being associated with the use of mobile phones and similar modern devices. Since mobiles were first outlined as a problem ten years ago, the scale of the issue has greatly intensified with the rise of technology and our increasing fascination with being in touch with the world.

As of March this year, the UK government increased the severity of punishment for drivers caught using their mobiles behind the wheel. In doubling the fine to £200 and doubling the number of penalty points applied to an offender’s driving licence to 6, the new legislation attempts to reflect the gravitas of this problem.

Outside of Britain

As a problem which afflicts modern society, many developed countries are now recognising the real threat of distracted drivers to public safety. Over thirty countries have now introduced laws to prohibit the use of hand-held devices when in control of a vehicle.

In contrast to this, Sweden doesn’t currently have any penalties in place for drivers using mobile devices and also have fewer deaths caused by crashes than any other developed nation. Relying on safe driving campaigns and educating the populous of the inherent dangers associated with inattentive driving, they have shown that there is more than one solution to this problem.

The American Dilemma

On the other side of the Atlantic, however, a more lax approach is still being taken and the result of which is some devastating statistics. The last two years have seen the greatest increases in the number of fatal highway accidents over the last 50 years. In 2015, a 7.1% increase in the number of fatalities was followed by a further 10.4% rise within the first half of 2016. This equates to more than 100 people losing their lives every day across America due to road accidents.

With no country-wide law to control the problem, the penalty for using a mobile phone while driving varies within each State. This ranges from a $750 fine in Utah to a $25 fine in Alabama for the same offense.

Considering road accident fatalities have rocketed in Alabama from 849 to 1,058 over the last year and the number of crashes attributed to distracted driving has increased by 20% over the previous two years, this is a serious problem which America and places like Alabama specifically need to address.

America’s Legal Choice

One potential part of the solution could be at a grass-roots level. The Madison County Sheriff’s Office currently offers a Distracted Driving program which is a one-day course targeting students and young drivers in particular. Sponsored by Morris, King & Hodge of mkhlawyers.com/legal-services/auto-accident-lawyers, the course is one of many such programs beginning to roll out across the States with a view to educating the masses on the dangers posed.

it’s encouraging to see positive initiatives being launched to cut the death rates of this modern epidemic, however, it remains to be seen whether this alone will be sufficient to halt the growing trend or if harsher penalties need to be introduced as in the UK.

September 26, 2017 ¡ Tim Kevan ¡ Comments Closed
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Appearance in Court and Proceedings When Facing Criminal Charges (North America)

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Facing a criminal charge is an unpleasant experience, no matter what you are accused of. Whether it be impaired driving, domestic violence, breach of the peace, traffic offense, theft, drug charge, or something else. It’s a daunting challenge for the defendant to manage a criminal charge. It is even more hard to mount a good defense if you’re arrested and accused of a crime in a state or country that is not your permanent residence.

Let’s how criminal proceedings look like, what happens at the first court appearance and thereafter, as well as some important things when facing criminal charges out of home state.

Criminal Proceedings

There are 3 possible ways a criminal charge might be commenced:

  1. When the Police arrest you according to the warrant a District Court judge has issued.
  2. When the Police arrest you without a warrant. Keep in mind that the Police have the right to do so if they have reason to believe that you’re attempting to or have already committed a crime.
  3. When a District Court issued a summons which obliges you to appear in court.

First Appearance in Court

You have two options when you appear in court for the very first time. You can either enter no plea or enter a plea to the charge – to plead Guilty or Not Guilty. In the first case, you will be required to enter a plea at your next appearance in court. So, the choice is yours.

Yet, it’s recommended that you don’t enter a plea at your first appearance in court. That will allow you to take your time to meet with a lawyer and get professional advice on how to plead. It is particularly advisable if you don’t have a lawyer or in case you haven’t met your lawyer already. If you still don’t have your own attorney, consider hiring criminal lawyer edmonton.

The Following Proceedings

What will happen after your first court appearance? Until the next appearance in court, you’ll either be remanded:

  • in custody (meaning you will be held in custody until your next court appearance),
  • at large (meaning you will be allowed to go home until the next court date), or
  • on bail (meaning you will be released on the certain conditions – for example if you don’t have any contact with the victim, if you live at a particular location, or if you must report to the Police).

You will be remanded multiple times throughout the process, whenever you’re waiting for the next appearance in court. It usually takes a week or two. That’s enough time to scrutinize all the circumstances with your lawyer and find the best possible approach to your case.

Criminal Charges Out of State

Out-of-state residents are often facing criminal charges that refer to breach of the peace or drunk driving. Here are some facts useful to know if you ever face an alleged crime in other states.

Jurisdiction

Only the state where the crime has occurred has the official power to prosecute the criminal offense. For instance, if you live in California and you’re arrested for a traffic offense in Nevada, then the state of Nevada has jurisdiction to institute legal proceedings against you for that offense.

As the defendant, you are required to appear in court as many times as the criminal process requires that from you. However, it could be burdensome to get back to the courtroom multiple times if you have been released on bail. This is especially true if you have committed a crime out of your state. By the way, it’s not simply to return to your home state. The U.S. Constitution obliges all the states within the territory of the United States to extradite a person accused of a crime on request of another state.

Misdemeanors

Misdemeanors are considered to be the less serious infringement of a law. In most cases, a year’s imprisonment is the maximum penalty a convicted person can receive. Luckily for defendants, the majority of states let the defendant hire a local lawyer. Your lawyer is supposed to advocate you during the criminal proceedings, meaning you won’t have to lose your time and travel to defend yourself. Of course, you should know what happens with your case so that make sure to stay in contact with your lawyer by e-mail and/or phone all the time.

Felonies

The first thing that happens if you’re blamed and arrested for a felony is a bail hearing. However, it’s quite unlikely that the court will be willing to leave you home on your recognizance when the arrest happens out of your home state. That’s because you don’t have strong connections with to the community over there. This is where a bail comes in.

Bail

It is highly likely that the judge will require from you to post bail. In criminal proceedings, bail serves as a guarantee that a defendant will come back. The judges almost always require bail for out-of-state defendants. The bail gets returned to the defendant once he comes to court as required. If the accused doesn’t appear in the court as required then the bail will not be refunded. In addition, the judge will probably issue a request for arrest and the defendant will be held in jail pending trial date. In most circumstances, the conviction is an integral part of the public record. That means your out-of-state conviction may follow you if a future employer or another party is interested. Therefore, you need to stick to the rules of court, respect the judicial process, and cooperate with a competent lawyer.

September 26, 2017 ¡ Tim Kevan ¡ Comments Closed
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Is Whiplash Covered By Workers’ Compensation? (In the USA)

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Whiplash is a common neck injury that often occurs after a serious car accident. Sometimes referred to as whiplash associated disorder (WAD), it is most likely to occur with a rear-end hit to the car that propels your body forward. Since the passengers are restrained by their seatbelts, the impact causes their heads to rapidly move forward while their body is firmly held back in the seat, causing a sudden jolt.

A whiplash accident could lead to torn or strained tendons, ligaments and muscles in the neck and shoulders. It can happen regardless of what type of vehicle you are in, although it is most common with cars.

Apart from car accidents, whiplash is known to occur as a result of working with heavy equipment or load, as well as a result of a fall.

The most important question a worker has is whether their workers’ compensation covers these injuries, and the answer is yes in most cases.

Symptoms and Lasting Effects

A lot of patients do not realize they might have whiplash immediately after an accident as the pain may not be immediately obvious. This happens due to high adrenaline and cortisol levels which render you temporarily immune to pain.

This is also what makes whiplash extremely dangerous!

A patient may not even feel an injury to their muscles, tendons or ligaments immediately following an accident. However, as your adrenaline levels drop the pain becomes more and more obvious, followed by limited motion and swelling. Patients may also experience stiffness, dizziness, blurred vision, sore jaw, ringing in the ears and other unusual sensations.

The symptoms may not become apparent until 12 hours following an accident. If the injuries are not addressed and treated, whiplash could cause severe lasting effects. This is why patients should see a doctor immediately after an accident.

How to Act?

The first thing you should do is let the paramedics examine you at the spot, even if there are no apparent symptoms yet. If they feel you should go through some additional tests at a hospital, don’t delay it. If you sustained a whiplash at work, you may be entitled to workers’ comp benefits. But the process might be tricky.

First, make sure you are represented by an experienced company like Workers Compensation Attorney Group. Next, look for a doctor you trust and one that the insurance company finds credible. Gather all the data from the exams, like blood tests, admission forms, charts and other notes as the evidence. In case your employer’s insurance company insists you visit their preferred clinic, you have to go through their tests again.

The main obstacle in obtaining workers’ compensation benefits is proving that the accident did, in fact, happen during work hours and as a result of your work. However, with appropriate legal representation, this should not be a major issue. As workers’ compensation is a no-fault system, you are entitled to the benefits even if you were responsible for the accident, as long as it occurred in the line of work. You can read more about it here: http://workerscompensationrights.com/phoenix-personal-injury/

If you are looking for an experienced attorney in Phoenix contact Work Injury Attorney Group at:

125 Great Avenue Suite 900 Phoenix, AZ 85001
602-358-0168

September 25, 2017 ¡ Tim Kevan ¡ Comments Closed
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Monday morning with Alex Williams’ cartoons

qccartoon
This cartoon is by Alex Williams who draws the Queen’s Counsel cartoons for The Times and in numerous books including The Queen’s Counsel Lawyer’s Omnibus. He offers almost all of his cartoons for sale at ÂŁ120 for originals and ÂŁ40 for copies and they can be obtained from this email info@qccartoon.com.

September 25, 2017 ¡ Tim Kevan ¡ Comments Closed
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Monday morning with Alex Williams’ cartoons

qccartoon
This cartoon is by Alex Williams who draws the Queen’s Counsel cartoons for The Times and in numerous books including The Queen’s Counsel Lawyer’s Omnibus. He offers almost all of his cartoons for sale at ÂŁ120 for originals and ÂŁ40 for copies and they can be obtained from this email info@qccartoon.com.

September 18, 2017 ¡ Tim Kevan ¡ Comments Closed
Posted in: Uncategorized

Monday morning with Alex Williams’ cartoons

qccartoon
This cartoon is by Alex Williams who draws the Queen’s Counsel cartoons for The Times and in numerous books including The Queen’s Counsel Lawyer’s Omnibus. He offers almost all of his cartoons for sale at ÂŁ120 for originals and ÂŁ40 for copies and they can be obtained from this email info@qccartoon.com.

September 11, 2017 ¡ Tim Kevan ¡ Comments Closed
Posted in: Uncategorized

Monday morning with Alex Williams’ cartoons

qccartoon
This cartoon is by Alex Williams who draws the Queen’s Counsel cartoons for The Times and in numerous books including The Queen’s Counsel Lawyer’s Omnibus. He offers almost all of his cartoons for sale at ÂŁ120 for originals and ÂŁ40 for copies and they can be obtained from this email info@qccartoon.com.

September 4, 2017 ¡ Tim Kevan ¡ Comments Closed
Posted in: Uncategorized