Archive for September, 2018

Does My Criminal Record Show Up in All States or Only Where My Conviction Occurred?

Wednesday, September 26th, 2018

Does My Criminal Record Show Up in All States or Only Where My Conviction Occurred?

If you have a criminal record in one state and you’re moving to another, you might wonder if that record will follow you. For felonies, the answer is almost always yes. However, just because your felony conviction will show up doesn’t mean the person searching your record will find it. There are a few caveats to the way background checks are conducted that might prevent someone from finding your conviction.

Searching Out of State

A felony conviction won’t show up on the state search for states outside of the one in which you committed the felony. So, let’s say you were convicted of a felony in Georgia and you move to California. The records in California won’t automatically alert the searcher that you had a conviction in Georgia. The person running your background check would have to search in Georgia’s records to find that conviction. That being said, if you’re being screened for employment, for instance, and they know you’ve moved states, it’s pretty likely they’ll search in the state you came from. However, there’s a possibility they won’t.

Job-Specific

Many times, it’s not having a criminal record that will be the problem but rather the type of conviction you had. For instance, if you are applying to be a truck driver, the person doing your background check is probably going to do a nationwide search (or at least a search of the states in which you’ve lived) for DUIs, speeding tickets, and other offenses related to the job.

Background Check Consent

Keep in mind that you have to consent to a background check before any employer or person can conduct one. That being said, many people feel that they have to agree to a background check or they won’t get the job. In many cases, that’s true. Background checks can reveal a lot more than just your prior convictions. They can uncover your financial history, driving record, education, income, debt, and a lot of other things about you. If you’re worried about something turning up in a background check and it’s an employment situation, it might be better to tell the person hiring you at the interview that you have some charges and explain them to the best of your ability. Honesty is usually rewarded.

What About Misdemeanors?

If you were convicted of a misdemeanor, you’ll probably have an easier time getting a job and explaining your record to potential employers. Felonies are serious crimes and usually involve harm to others, drug charges, and the like. Misdemeanors, however, are less serious, and if you only have one on your record, you can probably explain that away to an employer. That being said, if your misdemeanor conviction is directly related to the job for which you’re applying, you might have a harder time landing that particular job. However, each employer is different, so your experience can vary depending on who you’re trying to work for.

Honesty is the Best Policy

No matter what you were convicted of, it’s important to be upfront and honest with an employer or anyone else who’s conducting a background check. Honesty is usually rewarded, while keeping your conviction a secret in the hopes that nobody will find out can often lead to questions about your integrity and motives for not speaking up. More than likely, employer and background checkers will turn up that conviction, so it’s best to be upfront and honest about it in the beginning. Transparency is almost always appreciated.

While employers have the right not to hire someone based on a prior conviction, they also have to refrain from discrimination. If you feel you’re being unfairly judged for a conviction that was old or not related to your job, you can hire an attorney to help you fight for your right to have an equal opportunity to obtain employment, education, financial assistance, and the like. In some cases, you may be able to expunge your record. Contact an attorney today and ask them how you can better your chances of success.

Can I Get a DUI For Marijuana Use?

Thursday, September 20th, 2018

Can I Get a DUI For Marijuana Use?

When most people think of DUIs, they think of alcohol. However, you can be driving under the influence of many things, including marijuana. Even if marijuana is legal in your state, that doesn’t mean it’s legal to drive while using it or while under the influence of it. The punishments for DUI of marijuana vary by case and location. However, here are some factors that contribute to a DUI case for marijuana usage.

How Much?

The amount of marijuana you were found using or under the influence of matters a great deal. As with most drug and alcohol related infractions, the more you were using the greater your punishment will likely be. With alcohol, there tends to be very specific limits and levels to refer to when deciding on or determining what your punishment will be. However, the law is a bit more ambiguous with marijuana and other drugs. That being said, you can expect that your punishment will likely be relative to the amount of marijuana found in your system at the time of your arrest.

Which State?

As with alcohol related in fractions, different states have different laws regarding the use of marijuana. The punishments and consequences related to driving under the influence of marijuana greatly depend on where you live and where the incident took place. Look into your state laws to find out which specific penalties you might have to deal with. Of course, a qualified and experienced DUI attorney in your state will be able to provide you the most accurate information.

Prior Convictions?

As with most legal issues, if it’s your first offense you might be able to negotiate a lighter sentence or fewer punishments. However, if you have prior convictions, especially if they were drug-related, it’s likely that you’ll be subject to more or stricter penalties. Prior convictions also play a part in determining how likely you are to commit the same kind of infraction in the future. If you have multiple prior convictions, jail time will likely be part of the equation because, in the eyes of the law, you are more likely to commit the same kind of infraction again future. However, if you don’t have any prior convictions or they aren’t related to drugs and alcohol, the courts might not see you as being a great risk of future similar behavior and subject you two fewer punishments.

Aggravating Circumstances?

Were there aggravating circumstances surrounding your case? Aggravating circumstances are those which make it harder for you in court. In essence, aggravating circumstances make your situation worse. If you were using violence while driving under the influence of marijuana, for instance, that violence would be an aggravating circumstance. Having a minor in the car while you were driving under the influence of marijuana can also be seen as an aggravating circumstance. Cases that have aggravating circumstances attached to them tend to be penalized more harshly than those that don’t.

Mitigating Circumstances?

Conversely, mitigating circumstances are those that make your situation better. Not having any prior convictions, for instance, is sometimes a mitigating circumstance. Not being the main perpetrator of a crime but rather being an accomplice can also be a mitigating circumstance depending on the type of crime. Ask your attorney about mitigating circumstances and whether or not there are any that apply to your case.

It is never wise to enter the legal system without an attorney by your side. Driving under the influence of marijuana can be seen as a serious offense. Having that charge and conviction on your record can impact your future for many years to come. It can impact your job status, your ability to get another job, your ability to secure a car loan, and other aspects of your life. Get a consultation today with a qualified and experienced DUI attorney in your state and take the first step towards protecting your freedom and your future.

What Are My Legal Options If I Was Injured in a Car Accident?

Thursday, September 13th, 2018

What Are My Legal Options If I Was Injured in a Car Accident?

If you were injured in a car accident, your first reaction is likely to feel a sense of worry and fear. But once the initial shock wears off, you’ll probably wonder what your legal options are. Personal injury can be expensive as well as painful. However, it’s important to keep a clear head after an accident and record as much information as you can. Even if you’re already past the date of the accident, there is still information you can collect to help your attorney make the best case for you in court. Here are some of the things you should collect.

Photographic Evidence

Photographs can show who was at the scene, how the cars were positioned, the visibility or lack thereof of any road signs, and more. Photographs can verify weather conditions, as well. Grab as much information as you can and snap as many photos as you can after the accident. Even if you’re post-accident, you can still take photos of damage, bruises, injuries, and other things to help your attorney bolster his or her case for you.

Weather and Road Conditions

National records are kept on things like weather conditions, road conditions, and so on. Printing out records that verify the conditions at the time of your accident can help you in court, as well. If you have legitimate reports, especially if you also have photographic proof, that can go a long way in helping you obtain the best possible outcome when you go to court.

Documentation of Injuries

Taking photos of any obvious injuries at the time of the accident is helpful. However, many injuries don’t show up until days later, such as bruises, and some are internal. Medical reports, hospital records, diagnoses from your doctor, a list of medication and treatments issued to you post-accident, and witness statements can all help your personal injury attorney fight effectively for you in court.

Financial Records

Part of your case will involve putting a dollar amount on your losses. That’s why it’s important to keep as many financial records as possible. You’ll want to consider the obvious things like car repair bills, money spent on prescriptions and doctor’s visits, and the like. However, also keep in mind that wages lost due to being unable to work also constitute financial loss. Keep track of everything, and work with your attorney to arrive at dollar amounts for all of it. Also make a note of any property that was damaged or destroyed in the accident, such as laptops, cell phones, and the like.

Impact On Your Livelihood

If you’ve ever watched a courtroom drama show on television, you know that being compensated for “pain and suffering” is a part of most personal injury cases. Keep a diary of emotional stress, changes to your livelihood, difficulty sleeping, therapy appointments, and anything else that documents just how much of an impact this accident had on your life. This is something else your lawyer can use to fight for you in court.

While you always have the option of representing yourself in court, it’s highly ill-advised, particularly in nuanced cases such as personal injury cases. A personal injury attorney can help you navigate the legal waters and can negotiate on your behalf for benefits you might not even know you’re entitled to. Contact a personal injury attorney today and get started on the road to recovery.