Legal Issues with Neighbors

Medical Marijuana, Workplace Drug Policies, And Federal Law – Oh, My! A Quick Guide For Employers

Posted by on Sep 23, 2016 in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Medical Marijuana, Workplace Drug Policies, And Federal Law – Oh, My! A Quick Guide For Employers

Medical marijuana laws are constantly in flux throughout the U.S., which means that employers are often left wondering what to do when their company policies come head to head with an employee’s legal marijuana use. Can you fire an employee for marijuana use when they’re using it legally under your state’s laws? This is what you need to know. You don’t have to permit marijuana use on the job. While 25 states and the District of Columbia allow some form of medical marijuana use (or even recreational use), the laws in each state vary greatly. Federal law, however, still considers marijuana to be a Schedule 1 drug under the Controlled Substances Act (CSA)—which means that there is no protection for users under federal law. That’s important because that restricts the ability of employees to assert a claim for protected use of marijuana under the Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA). The ADA operates under federal law, so it isn’t subject to variations in the laws from state to state. You can probably fire an employee for marijuana use on their own time. One of the problems with marijuana is that it isn’t really possible to tell when exactly an employee last used the drug based on a blood or urine test. The presence of THC, the active ingredient in marijuana, can stay in a user’s body long after the effects of the drug have passed. Many companies have zero-tolerance policies on drug use and do random drug testing. If an employee comes up positive for THC but asserts that he or she is using it legally for a medical reason only on his or her own time, what do you do? Some states, like Delaware, prohibit employers from discriminating against employees who test positive for marijuana if they’re properly registered as medical users. However, it seems like the courts are holding with the idea that the federal rules still trump any state’s laws and have sided with employers who have chosen to enforce their zero-tolerance policies. For example, even though Colorado allows medical marijuana and has a specific statute designed to protect workers who engage in a legal activity during nonworking hours, the court ultimately allowed the firing of a quadriplegic telephone operator who used medical marijuana while off-duty to control his muscle spasms. The court ruled that the state’s statute could only protect activities that are legal under federal law—not state law. While this seems like it gives you a clear green light to fire an employee who fails a random drug screening, you may have to be prepared to take the dispute to court. Because the laws around medical marijuana use are still being developed, that leaves any negative action by an employer open to a legal challenge. You can take steps to minimize your risk of a legal issue. How can you minimize the risk that your business will end up in court over a medical marijuana issue and a fired employee? You have essentially two options: You can change your company policy to make an exemption for employees who use medical marijuana and are in full compliance with state laws (including necessary registrations). You can continue to enforce the zero-tolerance policy and clarify your company policy toward medical marijuana use to eliminate possible claims of confusion. If you...

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Simple But Effective Ways To Convince A Jury That You Are A Strong Witness

Posted by on Jul 22, 2016 in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Simple But Effective Ways To Convince A Jury That You Are A Strong Witness

Nobody really wants to be sitting in a courtroom with the possible exception of those whose careers revolve around a court of law. If you find yourself needing to go to court and be a witness, the good news is that preparation can help you establish yourself as credible without coming out and declaring what an honest, trustworthy person you are. Here are some essential ways that you can convince the jury that you are telling the truth and deserving of respect as a strong witness. Keep in Mind That Talk Is Expensive They may say that talk is cheap in everyday life, but talk can be very expensive in a court of law. What you say and how you speak are of the utmost importance. It’s very important to speak clearly. Keep the following things in mind before opening your mouth: Take a moment to think before you answer a question. That doesn’t mean that you are hesitating to tell the truth, and that will come across. You do need to reflect before you speak to make sure that what you are saying is true and not unjustly accusatory. Even if you are angry, take a moment to reflect, and never answer a rude person in the heat of the moment when you are giving testimony. Keep your voice in the low register. There’s never any need to shriek or shout in court. In fact, yelling can only hurt you and damage the impression that the judge and jury will have. Stick to the facts. Don’t try to be charming or funny. Humor likely won’t come across, and it may offend some people depending on the seriousness of your case. Establish Your Reliability While there may be some first impressions and initial judgments made about you for a variety of unfair reasons, one undeniable way to make a good impression in the courtroom is to establish your positive history. Be sure to establish how long you have lived in a single location or specific town if you have been in one place for an extended amount of time. Likewise, discuss steady jobs or particularly long lengths of employment that you have had. Also, if you do not have a criminal record, be sure to point out a record that’s free of felonies, misdemeanors, and other mischief. Finally, remind yourself that you need to speak with conviction in a courtroom. The judge and jury both want to be reasonably assured that you aren’t hiding big secrets or trying to manipulate them. Following these tips will help you stay in your power and best showcase the truth that you have to tell. Talk with a lawyer, like CHARLES P. ERICKSON, ESQ., for more...

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Personal Injury Claims: 4 Mistakes To Avoid If You Want A Shot At Winning

Posted by on Jul 1, 2016 in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Personal Injury Claims: 4 Mistakes To Avoid If You Want A Shot At Winning

Regardless of how you’ve been injured, if you have suffered an injury, you may be owed monetary damages for lost wages, medical expenses and other losses. Unfortunately, in the midst of all the chaos, it isn’t uncommon to make mistakes that can cost you your entire personal injury case. Here are four mistakes that are 100 percent preventable: 1. Failing to Seek Medical Care Immediately One mistake that can literally cost you your entire personal injury case is failing to obtain medical treatment immediately after the accident takes place. By waiting, the insurance company has the opportunity to argue that your injury potentially occurred in a completely different situation and environment – sometime between the time of the alleged accident and the time you finally sought medical care. Even if the insurance company doesn’t go that route, they could still argue that your injuries weren’t severe enough to seek out medical attention immediately and you may not receive the settlement offer that you rightfully deserve. 2. Providing a Recorded Statement to Insurance Companies If you’ve never been injured before, you may think that it is harmless to give a recorded statement to an insurance agent. However, if you are nervous or unprepared when you speak to the adjuster from the insurance company, you may disclose information that could potentially harm your case. These recorded statements are often used to the insurance company’s advantage and to find a way to discredit you in order to offer you a low settlement or to eradicate your settlement completely. These statements can be used against you, so it is best to not consent to one unless an attorney has told you to do so and has prepared you for it. 3. Missing Your Medical Appointments After your accident, if you are required to continue seeing a doctor of any kind, it is vital that you maintain those appointments. Try not to reschedule them or be late. Failing to follow your doctor’s recommendations, showing up to your appointments late or constantly rescheduling your appointments will show a judge or a jury that your recovery is not important to you or that you are not taking your personal injury case seriously. Remember, your doctor will likely be one of your most important witnesses, so your relationship with him or her is crucial. 4. Posting on Social Media In today’s day and age, everything blows up on social media as soon as it is posted on there. Even if you have a change of heart a minute after you post something, someone – or several someones – has already seen it and shared it or shown others. Therefore, even if you delete it, the chances are that your words or photos are already out there, and there is no taking them back. If your friends and family can get their hands on this information, the insurance company can as well. If this is the case, they can use this information against you and potentially weaken your credibility and overall case. This can lead to a lower settlement offer or a complete dismissal of your case, depending on the circumstances. So when you are involved in a personal injury case, it is in your absolute best interest to simply stay away from all forms of social media....

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How An Attorney Can Help If You Were Charged With Drug Possession

Posted by on Jun 10, 2016 in Uncategorized | Comments Off on How An Attorney Can Help If You Were Charged With Drug Possession

Are you facing criminal charges after getting caught with drugs in your vehicle during a traffic stop? The best way to get through your case with the lightest jail sentence is to invest in the assistance of a criminal attorney, especially if it isn’t your first offense. This article will give you an understanding of some of the things that a criminal attorney can do to build a defense that is in your favor. Evaluate Your Criminal History Before deciding how to go about handling your drug charges, an attorney will learn about your criminal history. The number of crimes that you have committed in the past will lay a big role in the outcome of your case. When you consult with an attorney, he or she will ask you about the drugs that were found in your car and how you intended to use them. If you are simply a user and had no intentions of selling the drugs, it can lead to you being issued a lighter sentence. Be honest about your overall criminal history because it will help the attorney build a stronger defense on your behalf. Gather Relevant Evidence If the drugs found in your vehicle were only for personal use, the attorney will try to gather evidence that proves you have an addiction. For instance, he or she might talk to people that know you and ask them how long you’ve been a user, as well as if you have ever tried to change. If you have ever gone through professional treatment for your drug addiction, the attorney can use your documents from the treatment facility as evidence in court. Your criminal history can also be used in your favor if you don’t have an extensive record on file. Try to Negotiate a Plea Bargain One of the best things that a criminal attorney will do in your defense is to try to negotiate a plea bargain with the prosecutor. Basically, a plea bargain will involve you having to admit that you are guilty of the drug charges that were filed against you. In return for pleading guilty, your attorney can help with getting some of your drug charges dropped and a lighter sentence. The attorney might recommend a just sentence to be considered, such as you spending less time in jail and going through drug rehabilitation. Consult with a criminal attorney or law firm like Larson, Latham, Huettl Attorneys about your drug charges as soon as...

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Using A Fire Pit At Your Upcoming Party? Practice Fire Safety

Posted by on Apr 20, 2016 in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Using A Fire Pit At Your Upcoming Party? Practice Fire Safety

Fire pits, though they can be a lot of fun, can also be a danger to you and your guests. Accidents involving fire pits can lead to lawsuits. Following these safety rules can help protect you from liability in the event that one of your guests becomes injured as a result of your fire pit. Check the Weather Check the weather forecast before starting your fire. Wind speeds in excess of 10 miles per hour can lead the fire to spread to other parts of your yard and to other structures in the area. If the weather forecast indicates that wind speeds will be above 10 miles per hour, cancel the fire pit portion of your party. Limit Alcohol Consumption Combining heavy alcohol use and a fire pit is unsafe. If you’re planning on lighting a fire later in the evening, watch alcohol consumption among your guests. Refuse alcoholic beverages to any guests who seem to be reaching the point of inebriation before lighting the fire. This will help ensure that everyone who participates in the event is capable of keeping themselves safe. Clear the Area Sweep and rake the area around your fire pit before lighting the fire. Ideally, the area around the fire pit will be made up of bare dirt, or will be paved with stones. Rake the dirt to rid it of leaves and twigs that can catch fire during the party. Choose Your Fire Starter Carefully Starting a fire can be frustrating, but using combustible liquids like gasoline, kerosene and forms of alcohol can be dangerous. In addition, using newspaper as kindling can be dangerous because newspaper can easily blow in the wind. To avoid problems, use chemical fire starters intended for log fires. Fire starters are designed to burn in a controlled way for several minutes before extinguishing on their own. Be Smart with Your Seating Seating made of stone, metal and other non-combustible materials is best. Never use upholstered seating around a fire pit. Keep all seating away from the sparks that fly out of the fire. Some logs will pop and make more sparks than others, which means you’ll need to adjust the position of the seating at the time of the bonfire. Following these tips, you may be able to avoid accidents at your upcoming party. However, if there is an accident involving your fire pit, you may need help from a personal injury attorney. If this happens, contact an experienced, reputable lawyer in your area for additional information about how to...

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Time To Walk Away: 4 Steps To Protect Your Finances During Divorce

Posted by on Feb 9, 2016 in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Time To Walk Away: 4 Steps To Protect Your Finances During Divorce

You’ve decided to file for divorce. It’s time to contact an attorney at a firm like Backus Law Group. If you’ve decided to move out of the family home, or if you don’t trust your spouse to behave fairly, there are a few things you’re going to need to do. Here are four steps you should take to protect your finances while you proceed through the divorce process. Take Your Name off the Rental Agreement If you and your spouse are renters, you need to remove your name from the rental agreement as soon as you move out. Keeping your name on the agreement will make you legally responsible for any damages that your spouse may cause. Not only that, but you’ll be legally responsible for the rent if your spouse suddenly stops making those payments. Document Your Account Information If you share assets or debts with your spouse, such as bank accounts or vehicles, you need to document that account information. This should include the names, phone numbers and account numbers for all your shared assets. Failure to have access to that information will make it difficult during the settlement negotiations, especially if you’re planning on having those assets and debts divided equally between you and your spouse. Contact Your Joint Creditors Once you and your spouse have separated, it’s important that you notify your joint creditors as soon as possible. If you share credit cards or bank accounts, you’ll want to have those accounts frozen until your attorney can negotiate a divorce settlement for you. Failure to freeze the accounts could result in your spouse running up additional debts that you’ll be responsible for paying. It’s also a good idea to have your credit card company and bank send you verification of the account balances at the time you place the freeze on the accounts. Make Copies of Your Vital Financial Documents When it comes time to negotiate a settlement, you’re going to need as much financial documentation as possible. This will include access to tax returns, life insurance policies, retirement accounts and investment portfolios. Before you move out of the house, make two copies of all your vital financial documents. Keep one set of copies for yourself and give the other set of copies to your divorce attorney. They’ll need those documents to negotiate a fair settlement for you. Don’t take chances with your financial future. The information provided here will help you protect yourself financial now that you’re filing for...

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What To Discuss With Your Worker’s Compensation Lawyer: Ideas For You

Posted by on Nov 20, 2015 in Uncategorized | Comments Off on What To Discuss With Your Worker’s Compensation Lawyer: Ideas For You

When you have suffered from an accident and/or an injury at work, the last thing you want to do is to get involved in a legal battle with your employer and insurance companies over who needs to pay for and provide for your medical care. However, unfortunately, this situation can occur. And if it has happened to you, you may find yourself seeking the counsel and assistance of a workers compensation lawyer. Once you get to your meeting with the workers compensation lawyer, you may not know what to talk to your lawyer about and what issues to address. Get to know some of the topics and information that you should bring to your workers compensation lawyer to ensure that you get the best representation possible in your workers compensation case. Tell Your Version of What Happened in Detail First and foremost, your workers compensation lawyer will need to know as much detailed information about the accident and injury you experienced at work as possible. If you have already given some type of official statement to insurance agents, the police, or to your employer, get copies of these statements for your lawyer to look at. You will also want to retell your version of events for your attorney in your own fresh words as well. This will help your lawyer to see if there are any inconsistencies or issues with your chronicle of the events that will need to be addressed in your court case. It will also give them an idea of the type of situation you find yourself in and guide their actions going forward. Bring in the Records of Your Medical Appointments and Contact Info for Your Doctors to Discuss When you are injured at work and seek medical attention, you will be given paperwork for all of your appointments that explain any tests that were run, diagnoses, and treatment and recovery protocols. You will also have either business cards or included contact information for the doctors that you saw. Bring all of this information with you when you go to see your workers compensation lawyer. They will need all of the medical information you have to build your case for you. This is especially true if you are continuing to have health problems as a result of your workplace injury. Be sure to bring up any concerns you have with the care you received or if you feel that more tests should have been run immediately following your accident. All of this information will be important for your lawyer to know when developing their arguments. Now that you know a few of the key discussion points you should bring up when you meet with your workers compensation lawyer, you can go into your legal appointment ready to work with your lawyer and build the best case possible for yourself. Contact a company like Lipman Law Firm PC for more...

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Tax Evasion And Divorce: How Does It Affect You And Your Kids?

Posted by on Nov 8, 2015 in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Tax Evasion And Divorce: How Does It Affect You And Your Kids?

If your wealthy spouse plans to divorce you, you may expect to receive some of the funds and assets earned during your marriage. But if the spouse hides money, precious metals and other valuables in another country to avoid paying taxes, child support and alimony, hire a divorce attorney now. Your spouse’s lack of integrity and consideration for you and your children can leave you unsupported after your divorce. Here are things a divorce attorney can do to protect your family. Can Your Divorce Attorney Report the Spouse to the Internal Revenue Service? When spouses file for divorce, both parties must reveal the amounts and locations of their assets, funds and properties to their attorneys. The family court uses the information to decide how much financial support each parent must provide for their children. If one spouse makes more money than the other spouse, the court awards alimony to the spouse who earns less. But if your soon-to-be ex hides financial information to avoid supporting you and your kids, your attorney may contact the Internal Revenue Service to report them. When people report their taxes to the IRS, they create legal records of how much they earn or own. People who don’t want the IRS or their spouses to know about their financial information evade their tax responsibilities each year by hiding, moving or transferring their funds, assets and valuables to other countries not governed by the United States. The tax evaders convert their funds to the other country’s currency. Once tax season ends, the tax evaders repatriate the finances back to the United States. In most cases, it can take years to locate and prosecute tax evaders. However, it may not take long for the IRS to go after your divorcing spouse once your attorney reports them. Because of your vigilance and divorce attorney’s expertise, the IRS may now freeze and secure the spouse’s hidden finances sooner rather than later. Can Your Divorce Attorney Obtain Your Fair Share of the Hidden Assets and Funds? Although you and your children deserve a fair share of the spouse’s financial gains and earnings, the IRS may decide to take care of the spouse’s tax obligations before it releases its hold on the spouse’s funds. But if your divorce attorney can show IRS and family court that you and your kids are in need of support immediately, the IRS may release the hold on the funds temporarily. However, keep in mind that it may take the attorney longer than you expect or feel comfortable with to obtain your support if the spouse owes several years worth of taxes. Your divorce attorney will discuss what you may expect during a private consultation. For more information about your spouse’s tax evasion and lack of support, contact legal professionals such as Nichols, Speidel, &...

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Three Tips For Making Your New Business Efficient And Productive

Posted by on Nov 3, 2015 in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Three Tips For Making Your New Business Efficient And Productive

If you want to go into business for yourself, there are some important steps you’ll need to consider. Choosing the right bank, setting up an office space, retaining commercial litigation and other steps will help you get the most of your business for the long run. Follow these steps as you set out to create your enterprise.  Tip #1: Select The Best Bank For Your Company The bank that you choose for your business is incredibly important for the long term success that you need. You’ll need to decide how you want to fund ventures — either with a line of credit or some sort of bank loan. The bank that you choose may also allow you take advantage of advice from investors, while also going over your bill payment options. You can select between going with either a large scale bank that may be nationwide or worldwide, or choosing to do business with a small local bank or credit union. This will allow you to explore a number of circumstances that are relevant to your business interests, so that you can make the wisest decisions over the years.  Tip #2: Hire The Commercial Lawyer That You Need For Various Stages Of Business There are a number of stages that make it necessary to hire the service of a commercial lawyer like one from D.B. Clark Law Office. For example, you’ll be able to get an attorney who can assist you with the creation of your business plan, filing for company status — such as limited liability companies, helping you with the acquisition of licensed and designations and overlooking a number of purchases or sales transactions. By making sure that you get the service of a high quality commercial litigation firm, you’ll have all that you need to safeguard your business from a legal standpoint.  Tip #3: Find An Office Space That You Can Be Comfortable With  When you want your business to thrive, it boils down to finding the right office space. Even if you work from home, you owe it to yourself to carve out a space that is comfortable and convenient for you. This will help you to remain focused and organized. By using a home office, you can also take advantage of the home office tax credit, so that it works out for you favorably.  Make the most of these three tips so that you can make your business efficient and productive over the long...

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Do You Have To Tell Your Employer You’ve Been Charged With A DUI? Four Things To Think About

Posted by on Nov 3, 2015 in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Do You Have To Tell Your Employer You’ve Been Charged With A DUI? Four Things To Think About

If you have been charged with a DUI, you might wonder what the next steps are and if you must tell your employer about this. It is important to remember that being charged with a DUI isn’t the same thing as being convicted. There might be a chance that this won’t stand up in court and your charge will be ultimately be overturned. Here are four things to think about when it comes to your DUI court date and what you owe your employer in the meantime. 1. Get Advice From Your DUI Attorney Your attorney will be the first resource when it comes to your case and your right to confidentiality. They will know the nuances within your state and county, what areas in your life you will need to disclose information, and why. Be sure to keep communication open with your lawyer. If you have had adverse affects from disclosing your charges, this might have been handled improperly. 2. Make Sure You Aren’t Breaking Any Laws Depending on the severity of your DUI charges, your license might suspended, changing your situation. If your work position requires driving, you will need to disclose this immediately. If your DUI charges are compounded with other criminal charges, make sure that other charges don’t correlate with anything job-related as well. 3. Contract Obligations If you work for a government agency or are part of a union, you may need to disclose information on DUI charges. Make sure to bring your hiring docs or contracts to your attorney to review. If you don’t need to disclose anything until you have been officially convicted, you can keep this information to yourself. Some professional licenses will require disclosure if you have been convicted of a DUI, but this is separate from your employer. 4. Time Off for Court If you are working to lessen or overturn your DUI charges, this will involve time working with your lawyer and attending your court hearing. If you will need time off for work, you might need to tell your employer some of the story. Only your DUI attorney can advise you whether you need to disclose your reason for time off. If your curious employer is bullying you to disclose more information, consult with your DUI attorney like Wood Patricia K Atty on your rights. Fighting a DUI is a stressful situation that can involve a lot of prep work with your attorney. If you are worried about keeping information from your employer, be sure to know the nuances of your situation. Work with your DUI attorney to make sure that your privacy is protected, and at the same time that you aren’t withholding information from your...

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