Archive for July, 2019

Digital Driver’s Licenses Could Be the Future

Thursday, July 25th, 2019

Digital Driver’s Licenses Could Be the Future

Showing your driver’s license is an action we complete on a regular basis. From proving your age at a bar to showing a police officer your license if you get pulled over, we all use our driver’s licenses on a regular basis. But our driver’s licenses can also expose a lot of information that we wouldn’t necessarily want others to have, and they’re easy to replicate, so law enforcement officers can never truly know if they’re looking at a real ID until they take a closer look. What if there was a way to solve both problems?

The Idea of Digital Driver’s Licenses

The idea of digital driver’s licenses has come up and, in recent years, has been taken more seriously. Originally, many people thought that a digital driver’s license would be just a digital version of their current license. However, digital licenses stand to be far more advanced than that. One idea is that a digital license would be able to show information related to the activity at hand. For instance, if you’re using your ID to verify your age, only the information pursuant to your age would show. If you need to show all the information, such as showing it to an officer, then all of the information would show. It would also allow your record to be pulled up right away without having to wait for an officer to do so manually. Your license would be with you at all times and could easily be accessed from any smart device. The idea has a lot of people excited for the future of driver’s licenses.

The Benefits of a Digital Driver’s License

Since you only have to show the information that pertains to what you’re doing, digital licenses would be safer because you won’t have to show all of your personal identifiable information, or PII, to strangers. What’s more, you wouldn’t be able to counterfeit your digital license, so police officers wouldn’t have to deal with fake ID situations and you would always be able to verify who you are with no questions asked. Furthermore, you can’t lose your digital license because it can be recalled from any digital device you own, and if you lose a device, some say you would be able to turn off your license on that device until it’s recovered. In this way, having a digital driver’s license would be far safer than having a plastic license which you an easily lose, thus exposing your personal information to anyone who happens to find it. Others see a safety benefit in the fact that you’d no longer have to pull out your wallet or rummage through your purse just to get out your license, which can expose you to theft or put you in unsavory situations at times. Instead, just pull your phone or smart watch out and show your ID — objects that are usually in hand or readily available anyway.

The Drawbacks of a Digital Driver’s License

As with all digital items, some people are concerned that hacking into licenses would become a prevalent crime. In recent years, we’ve already seen major corporations fall victim to cybersecurity breaches on an extremely large scale. What’s stopping people from hacking into the system that holds the licenses? Those who are developing the licenses say it would be heavily encrypted and that part of the reason they haven’t been released yet is the need for extremely high security measures. No doubt there would be much testing and an intricate system of security would be built. However, people still worry that they would be at risk, and until more specific information comes out regarding how exactly that security would work there will likely still be people who worry.

New technology is quickly advancing all industries, including the law enforcement industry. Soon, we might be showing our phones to prove our identity instead of reaching into our wallets or purses. How this will change the way traffic stops are conducted is yet to be seen, but there will likely be benefits to both law enforcement and citizens. It will also change the way attorneys gather and display evidence when defending their clients. In the meantime, if you’ve been ticketed for a traffic violation or charged with something more serious, like a DUI, it’s important that you contact a local attorney in your area. Only a qualified and experienced attorney can help you navigate the legal waters and obtain the best possible results for you given the specifics of your case.

Can I Be Turned Away From a Job Because I Have a DUI On My Record?

Thursday, July 18th, 2019

Can I Be Turned Away From a Job Because I Have a DUI On My Record?

Having a DUI on your record can affect you for years into the future. Many people are concerned that they won’t be able to find employment because they have a DUI on their record. Yes, you can be turned away from the job because of a DUI. However, there are many factors that are usually considered when determining whether or not to hire you. These are some of the factors your potential employer might be looking at. It’s important to know what matters to a potential employer so you can answer these questions in an interview or on your application.

Severity of the Crime

The severity of the crime or the circumstances surrounding your DUI and might have a lot to do with whether or not you are turned away from a job. For instance, if it was a mistake you made once and it was a misdemeanor, you might still have a chance at getting a job. However, if the crime was very severe and included violence or endangering a minor, that might give a potential employer a bit more pause when it comes to giving you a shot. As with most things in life, the severity of the DUI itself will likely weigh heavily on the mind of your future employer.

Criminal History

Your criminal history will also have a lot to say to your potential employer. If the DUI in question was the only thing that you’ve ever done wrong or got in trouble for, you’re probably going to have a much easier time getting a job. However, if that DUI was just one violation or conviction in a series of criminal convictions, it might be a lot more difficult to land a job. Whether or not your criminal history will play into an employment decision has a lot to do with the type of job you’re applying to, as well. But for most employers, the more criminal convictions you have and the longer your record is, the less likely it will be that they’ll take you onto their team.

Age At the Time Of the DUI

How old you were at the time of the DUI can also play into the decision making process of your potential employer. Let’s say you were 22 at the time and you ended up with a misdemeanor DUI. That might easily be explained away as being young and careless and making a mistake that ended up on your record. However, if you were 35 or 40 at the time of your DUI and you also have a criminal history surrounding it, that might make things a little more difficult for you.

Life Since the DUI

Another thing that employers might look at is what you’ve done with your life since your conviction. Having a DUI on your record is not an end-all be-all when it comes to employment. If you’ve taken substantial efforts to clean up your life since then, you can show that you’ve been a productive member of society since the conviction, and you have witnesses and references who are willing to back up your character, you still might be able to get a job. Everybody makes mistakes, so it’s usually not a single mistake that will turn away an employer. Employers are most often turned away by repeated behavior that they find troubling.

Type of Job

Finally, the type of job you trying to get also plays a factor in whether or not a DUI will matter. If you’re trying to get a trucking job or a job that involves a lot of driving, a DUI will be a lot more relevant to that employer than if you’re trying to find a job filing papers or working in a warehouse. Think of it this way. If you were trying to find an employee to handle your finances, would you want to hire somebody who have been accused of fraud or theft? Probably not. That’s likely the same attitude your potential employer will take about a DUI.

Having a DUI on your record can cause you a lot of trouble, but there are some situations in which you can have that record expunged. If you’re finding it difficult to get a job because of that DUI, ask a DUI attorney in your state whether or not you can expunge your record. If you can’t, you can work with an employment attorney in your state to make sure that you’re not being discriminated against unfairly. Get a consultation with an experienced attorney in your state today and take the first step down the road towards protecting your freedom and your future.

Understanding the Differences Between Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 Bankruptcy

Friday, July 12th, 2019

Understanding the Differences Between Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 Bankruptcy

One of the most common bankruptcy questions is “What’s the difference between Chapter 7 and Chapter 13?” In short, Chapter 7 bankruptcy is usually filed by individuals while Chapter 13 bankruptcy is typically filed by businesses. However, the answer to which chapter you should file for, as with most legal questions, is not cut and dried. Below you’ll find a short description of both Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 bankruptcy. You’ll also find a list of bankruptcy issues and a description of how Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 bankruptcies differ on those issues.

Chapter 7 Bankruptcy

Chapter 7 bankruptcy is usually filed for by individuals, and it is considered a liquidation bankruptcy. That means that all of your assets that aren’t exempt are sold in order to help pay down some or all of your debt. However, since items like your car, home, and other crucial belongings are typically exempt, most people who file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy don’t have to sell anything, and their debts are simply wiped away. You have a trustee who oversees your case and decides which property you can keep and which you must sell, but if there is no nonexempt property to sell, the creditors won’t receive anything. Because of this, most people with a low income and little to no property – or assets – choose Chapter 7 so they can wipe their record clean of unsecured debts.

Chapter 13 Bankruptcy

Chapter 13 bankruptcy is typically referred to as “wage earner bankruptcy” because you have to make a certain income in order to file for it. If you don’t meet the minimum income requirement for Chapter 13 bankruptcy you can file for Chapter 7. However, if you do meet the income requirement for Chapter 13 you must file for Chapter 13, as you won’t be allowed to file for Chapter 7. Under Chapter 13 bankruptcy you set up a repayment plan. That plan dictates how long you will be paying, who you’ll pay, and how much you’ll pay per month. Most of the time you have to commit to either a three-year or five-year plan. Which you have to commit to is dependent upon your income, the amount of your debts, and other factors.

Eligibility

For both Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 bankruptcy there are eligibility requirements and restrictions. Under Chapter 7 bankruptcy, your disposable income has to be low enough to pass the means test. However, for Chapter 13 bankruptcy you can’t have more than $383,175 in unsecured debt or $1,149,525 of secured debt.

Wait Time for Discharge

One of the most common bankruptcy questions is “How long will I have to wait in order to receive my discharge?” That answer depends on your particular case. However, for Chapter 7 bankruptcy, you’ll typically receive your discharge within three to five months. For Chapter 13, your discharge occurs only after you complete all of the payments on your repayment plan. As mentioned above, that wait time is typically between three and five years.

Property Issues

What happens to your property during the bankruptcy process depends on which chapter you file. Under Chapter 7, the trustee appointed to your case can sell any and all nonexempt property in order to pay your creditors. The good news, though, is that most filers don’t have any nonexempt property. Under Chapter 13, you never have to worry about selling your property because you’re paying your creditors through your monthly payment plan.

Benefits and Drawbacks

As with all matters, both Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 bankruptcies have their benefits and their down sides. The benefit of Chapter 7 is that you can receive a discharge from your creditors relatively quickly, and you’ll be able to get a clean start and get back on your feet in just a few months. The down side, though, is that you might have to sell some of your property, and there’s no way to catch up on missed payments or avoid home foreclosure or vehicle repossession. The benefit of Chapter 13 bankruptcy is that you can keep your property, catch up on missed payments, car payments, and nondischargeable priority debt payments. However, the downside is that you have to make monthly payments, and it takes a matter of years to get your discharge.

As you can see, the differences between Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 bankruptcy are rather stark. However, deciding on the type of bankruptcy to file is a complicated legal decision, and you would be wise to consult with a bankruptcy attorney in your area in order to ensure the best possible outcome for your case.

Can I Get a DUI On a Bike in California?

Wednesday, July 3rd, 2019

Can I Get a DUI On a Bike in California?

If you’re under the influence and riding a bike in California, can you be charged with a DUI? The technical answer is no because a DUI applies only to vehicles. However, cycling under the influence is still illegal in California and has been since 1985. You can be charged with a CUI, or cycling under the influence, and while you won’t face jail time in most cases you can be exposed to hefty fines. Here are some common defenses your attorney might use to defend you in court.

Behavior Was Erratic For Other Reasons

Erratic behavior might be one of the reasons that an officer pulls you over for suspicion of cycling under the Influence. However, sometimes that behavior might be attributed two other causes. Just because the behavior that you were exhibiting with similar to that of somebody under the influence doesn’t mean you were actually drinking. For instance, you might have been rushing home for an emergency, or avoiding something the officer didn’t see. A DUI attorney can make these arguments for you in a court of law.

Physical Appearance

The officer might also charge you with a CUI due to your physical appearance. Maybe you had red, watery eyes or slurred speech. Maybe you had a flushed face or an unsteady gait. Other reasons for this appearance could be that you had a red face from physical exertion, watery eyes because it was windy or you had allergies to something you were cycling next to, or that your speech was different because you were nervous or you have a speech impediment. Again, these are defenses that your attorney can make for you in a court of law.

Observation Time

Legally, an officer can’t pull you over just because you swerved once or because he observed you doing one thing wrong. He or she has to observe a repeated pattern of behavior. The officer must, by law, observe you for enough time to make sure that your behavior is constant and consistent. If there’s no way the officer could have done that, your attorney can argue on your behalf that the officer didn’t follow proper protocol.

Field Sobriety Test Wasn’t Accurate

Walking in a straight line, touching your nose, and other similar tests are what’s part of something called a field sobriety test or FST. However, these tests are not always reliable. Your legs could be shaky from biking a long distance. Maybe the ground was uneven underneath you. If you’re on a loud, busy road that could lead an officer to believe that you didn’t follow her instructions when really you just didn’t hear her instructions in the first place. Ground slope, nerves, distractions, and natural physical coordination are all factors your attorney might use to disqualify the FST results.

Breath Tested Too Soon

A breath test cannot give an accurate reading if you have eaten or done other activities in the last 15 minutes. An officer must wait 15 minutes after pulling you over to give you a breath test. During this period of time an officer has to have you under observation the entire time so that they can make sure you are not engaged in any behavior that could cause a false positive reading. These behaviors include smoking, drinking anything, belching, eating, and vomiting. All of these events move alcohol from your stomach to your mouth and can cause a false positive reading. Be sure to inform your attorney if you were tested within 15 minutes of doing any of these activities. Your attorney may be able to get that breath test disqualified as a form of evidence.

Improper Conduct

Generally, there is certain conduct that an officer must present and protocols that have to be followed. If an officer didn’t follow the protocol, broke a law, took evidence he or she had no right to take, gave you a field sobriety test under unfair conditions, didn’t wait long enough to give you a breath test, or committed some other kind of breach of protocol, that can work in your favor. Your attorney might be able to argue that the improper conduct of the officer negates the evidence that he or she collected.

It’s very important to hire a DUI attorney if you’ve been accused of cycling under the influence. Although cycling under the influence is arguably a less serious offense than driving under the influence, it can still show up on your record and can be used against you later in life. It may still be considered by employers and colleges, and to some it may indicate a history of improper use of alcohol. Always have an experienced and qualified DUI attorney by your side when you go into the courtroom. Get a consultation today and take the first step down the road of defending your freedom and your future.