Things to Know About Domestic Violence Laws in the US

In every household there comes a time that an intense verbal argument occurs for a number of reasons: jealousy, financial problems, sibling rivalry, etc. However, sometimes people may physically assault a family member because they cannot control their anger, want to assert control or may have been verbally provoked. In so doing, the aggressor has committed Domestic Violence.

Whenever such serious matters occur, you may think of seeking outside help either by calling the police or by consulting an attorney. It is preferable to discuss the issue with an experienced legal professional first, since you may have trouble handling the legal ramifications that may ensue following the crime’s disclosure.

The aim of this article is to provide an overview of the most important legal aspects of Domestic Abuse, in a simplified and accessible way and to provide a starting point for more specialized study.

1. What is Domestic Violence?

Any person who physically abused a family or household member has committed the crime of Domestic Violence. Domestic assault is a distinctive and more serious case than Assault and Battery -which involves strangers- and is treated accordingly.

2. Domestic assault can be difficult to prove.

The easiest way to identify an abused victim is by looking for signs of assault on the body (scratches, bruises, etc.). In the absence of such evidence, eye witness’s testimonies are valuable, but are not always available. What adds complexity when evidence is inconclusive, is that it can be hard to prove the crime or ascertain who the instigator was (both parties can claim to have been abused or acting in self-defense and the aggressor could deny the charge).

3. The severity of the assault, the victim and the aggressor’s medical history and potential addictions are taken into account for the sentence.

Simply put, an aggressor who slapped his spouse will be punished more leniently, than one who punched and kicked her. If a child was abused the law is more severe. A person with addictions (a drug-user or an alcoholic), or mental disorders may also be required to undertake therapy.

4. If domestic abuse is reported, it can severely disrupt family relations.

Domestic assault is a serious criminal charge, which means that if the authorities find out about the crime, they are obligated to take legal action, whether the victim intents to or not. The state laws of Virginia dictate that the authorities can issue a no-contact (protective) order, effectively prohibiting any form of communication between the aggressor, the victim and the rest of the family.

5. First time offenders can have their case dismissed or may be judged more leniently.

The guilty party can have their sentence dismissed, if they have never committed a crime before. It is also possible that the state offers a plea bargain to the accused. If the abuser admits guilt before the case goes to court, the sentence can be more lenient.

6. The alleged abuser’s and the accuser’s personality and habits play an important role in court.

A person with a toxic and abusive personality, will have a harder time convincing the court about his innocence. On the other hand, the accuser may have an ulterior motive or may be a habitual liar. All of the above aspects come into play when the case is tried.

7. It’s advisable for both parties to avoid contact after the crime has been reported.

Whether you are the accuser or the perpetrator it is preferable to refrain from communicating between each other, as any form of contact could have a detrimental effect to your case, especially if a protective order is in effect.

Conclusion

Domestic Violence can be a complex and challenging crime to handle. Whether you decide to press charges against an abuser, or think you have been wrongfully accused, you should always consult with an experienced criminal law attorney.

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Why Is a Driving Licence Check and Validation Important?

If you run a fleet management company, you will have drivers who work for your company. In this case, it is the employers responsibility to make sure that their employees hold a valid UK driving licence. A Driving licence validation can help protect employers from having to pay unnecessary penalties.

The status of a driving licence may change many times for a number of reasons. In some cases a driver may not even know about the status change. After the first validation of a licence has been done, the next validation is automatically scheduled. However, the frequency of this licence checking process is usually based on a driver’s risk profile. If the licence gets disqualified during the validation process, then the employer will be notified immediately.

Third-party licence checking services conduct the driving licence validation process using the Access to Driver Data (ADD) service. ADD gives real-time driving licence information through a business-to-business interface. ADD includes all the necessary information needed such as driver’s name, date of birth, address, and other driving details such as entitlement, disqualifications, and penalties. ADD provides 24/7 real-time driving licence data. ADD gives you a quick response with accurate licence/driver information. If there is no information available, it returns a simple response saying driver’s information is not available.

What Is Driver and Vehicle Information Solution (Davis)?

Davis is an expanded brand, which includes some additional information about the driver and vehicle. It is a cloud-based solution, which enables customers to add or remove various optional modules. It mainly covers four areas: the vehicle, its driver, Policies/Guidelines and driver/vehicle related services. The modular structure of Davis allows customers to utilize either a single service or a mixture of several services. This mix-and-match approach is highly beneficial to a business in that it allows them to add or remove modules when they want. Davis helps organizations to meet the regulations needed to avoid them receiving any unnecessary penalties.

Significance of the Licence Card Data Reader

Another service provided by a third-party licence checking service is a Card Reader (CDR). It captures all the licence/driver data in a single pass. Both sides can be read simultaneously. It just requires the software to be installed on a local PC to drive the reader. Using CDR, forged data can be detected easily. CDR is very user-friendly, and requires minimal training. Once the data is read, it is directly uploaded into the software. The CDR helps to speed the process up as it can read large amount of data in a short time.

Benefits of Driving Licence Checking and Validation

Driving licence validation can offer a lot of advantages to your company, some of them are listed below:

  1. Helps identify misinterpreted information and reduce the risk of forged documentation.
  2. Saves you time, because e-consent is valid for three years.
  3. Using the card data reader can validate international licences.
  4. Companies can avoid potential penalties.
  5. Business owners can have peace of mind. They can be confident about their employees driving licence and insurance information.
  6. Improves travel/road safety for everyone, including company, customer, and the driver.

 

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Can I Get Ticketed By an Off-Duty Police Officer?

We are thankful for our law enforcement personnel who sacrifice their lives every day to protect our rights and our safety. As citizens, we expect police officers to be honest, respectful, and un-biased figures of society, so that we may trust them to carry out their duties responsibly.

But sometimes, a cop can exhibit overconfidence and carry out personal agendas that are not necessarily a positive contribution to our communities. One common example of this involves off-duty cops and unmarked police vehicles. Continue reading to learn about your rights as a citizen in the case that you are pulled over by an off-duty police officer in an unmarked vehicle.

Off-Duty and Unmarked

Have ever been pulled over by an unmarked police vehicle? They appear to look like any other normal vehicle on the road, and then all of a sudden, you see their flashing lights and sirens in your rearview mirror. Unmarked police cars are purposeful and used in several types of investigations and routine applications. So if you are pulled over in one, by a cop that is actually on-duty, then you are being legally pulled over. However, if you were pulled over by an off-duty police officer in an unmarked vehicle and out of uniform, the situation changes.

According to Indiana Code § 9-30-2-2:

A law enforcement officer that is off the clock and driving in an unmarked vehicle does not have the authority to pull someone over and issue them a citation or ticket.

Accordingly, any evidence gathered by the police officer during an unauthorized stop is suppressible, and carries no weight in a court of law whatsoever. Many drivers have had their citations and tickets revoked under these circumstances, after an attorney successfully presented their argument regarding this Indiana Code.

How to Challenge an Illegal Ticket

It is important to understand the limits of a cop’s authority, and when and where they have jurisdiction. This way, you can know whether or not a ticket is being issued legally. If this has ever happened to you, you might want to consider challenging it, or expunging the violation altogether. Talk to a record expungement lawyer to see if you qualify.

Remember, an off-duty officer in an unmarked vehicle has just as much right to pull you over as you have the right to pull over the car in front of you. So if a cop on his way home from work wants to pull you over, keep this in mind. But of course, never keep driving. It is best to just stop and talk to the police officer. Do not argue, accept the ticket, and then immediately call a defense lawyer when you get home.

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Can a Habitual Traffic Offender Seal Their Public Driving Records?

Becoming a habitual traffic violator doesn’t happen overnight. But it also doesn’t happen only to bad drivers. Those who drive often for work, whether all day commuting or long-distance travel, are often faced with time crunches, leading them to drive a little faster than they would if they were not limited by time restrictions and deadlines. Realtors, contractors, salesmen, and more are all common victims of speeding and seatbelt tickets because they are often traveling from one obligation to another.

So whether a product of vocational lack of time, or simply an unmindful driver, 10 traffic offenses in a period of 10 years, with 1 being a major violation (i.e. DUI, reckless driving, driving while suspended, etc.), will eventually suspend you of your driving privileges and mark you as an official habitual traffic violator for at least 5 years.

Sounds harsh, doesn’t it?

But it’s not so bad if you live in a state that allows record sealing and expungement. If you qualify to have your driving records sealed from the public, it can help you get your license back, that job you’ve applied for, that promotion you’ve been working toward, or obtain a professional license that was inaccessible before.

Qualifications vary from state to state, and not all states even offer the option, but the most influential factors are time and severity of offenses. Talk to a criminal record expungement lawyer to see if you are eligible for record sealing in your state. In the meantime, continue reading to learn more about habitual traffic violator driving records and personal privacy.

While Awaiting Eligibility

After you are convicted as a habitual traffic violator, you must remain one for at least 5 years; however, you can petition to get a probationary drivers’ license after only 3 years. In order to qualify for a probationary license, one must have:

  1. Never previously been granted a probationary license as a habitual traffic offender;
  2. Never been guilty of more than 3 unrelated major traffic offenses in one 10-year period;
  3. Never been guilty of a major traffic offense that resulted in bodily harm or death of another;
  4. Never been guilty of violating the habitual traffic offender probation guidelines.

In some cases where the offender is a person who operated a vehicle for the purpose of business, such as a traveling salesmen or delivery person, the waiting period may not apply since their poor driving record may be partly a result of their frequent commuting. It is important to retain the services of an experienced criminal defense attorney to ensure you are receiving due justice in traffic court. 

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The Basics of Acquiring a US Visa

It’s not uncommon to dream of visiting places you see in the movies. Let me guess, most of them are in the United States. To name a few, New York, LA, Miami, Washington and Chicago are some of the common tourist destinations in the US. You have the resources but you harbor this apprehension of being denied.

This should not stop you from making your travel plans a reality. If you have relatives in the US or you would like to travel solo, the key is to know what type of visa you must apply for, the necessary documents you must fill out, and more importantly, the purpose of your visit to the US.

First things first, know the difference between a US Visitor Visa (B-2) and a US Visa Sponsorship.

These two things are not the same.

The visitor visa often known as B-1/B-2 visa is a non-immigrant visa for people wishing to enter United States temporarily for pleasure, medical treatment, and business. In this case, you apply for your US Visa with the US Embassy or Consulate. Whereas, a U.S. visa sponsorship is applied for by the employer or close family member by filing an immigration petition with the U.S. government for getting a residency card (Green card) for their employee or close family member. This is also known as non-immigrant petitions such as work visa (e.g., H, L visa) as well as family visa (e.g., Fiancé or K visa).

What is the purpose of your visit?

You will be asked this question by the US consul who you will meet when you get to the embassy. But before that, determine the purpose of your trip. If the purpose of your trip is to visit USA for a short duration for pleasure, tourism, and visit relatives, family, or friends, then visitor visa known as Tourist visa to USA or B-2 visa is the right visa for you.

However, keep in mind that you if apply for a visitor’s visa, among other things, you must show to the US Consular officer that they have strong ties to the Philippines as you home country and they intend return after their temporary stay in the U.S. You must also show that you have enough money available to take care your expenses for your U.S. trip such as air tickets, visitors insurance, lodging/boarding, transportation expenses, tourism expenses and all other expenses.

What if I don’t have enough resources but my friends and relatives in the US are willing to shoulder my stay there?

Then this is where sponsorship sets in.

Who can sponsor my trip?

Any US-based person can sponsor visa for his/her parents, relatives, and friends. This means that he/she must either be a holder of an I-94 (US Green card) or a US Citizen. Your sponsor should provide an affidavit of support (form I-134). The form is a confirmation that the sponsor is ready to undertake the financial liability of the applicant during the visit.

What documents do I need to submit?

Must have Documents for US Visitor Visa interview:

  1. A valid passport that does not expire prior to 6 months beyond of your intended stay.
  2. Printout of your confirmation page from the form DS-160
  3. Fee receipt US Visa Fees
  4. One photograph
  5. Original/Copy of Visa interview appointment letter

Supporting documents to show your Ties with your home country include:

You must demonstrate strong economic, social, and familial ties with your home country. You must also show that you will not become a burden on US by proving your financial stability to cover the expenses in US. These facts will ensure the interviewing officer that you will return to your home country after the authorized period of stay in USA. The required documents are:
1. Evidence of sufficient funds for the visit to US (Bank statement and passbook, etc.)
2. Evidence to show that you have strong ties to your home country. Documents related to the property you own and your employment are good evidence
a. If you are employed get a verification letter of employment
b. If you are self-employed get a financial and other documentary proof of the ownership
c. If you are a government employee get a Certificate of Employment and an Authority to Travel Certification
d. Tax ID, and recent tax-related documents
e. Original property papers like house, shop or business ownership documents etc. which you own in the Philippines/home country. If no papers available, make a notarized affidavit for the same
f. Documentary evidence of running any business or organization
g. Evidence of family ties like unmarried children, old aged parents and other family responsibilities
h. If person is an employee, other than proof of employment and proof of leave granted from the office, any such document that would show proof that you have reasons to come back

Documents and other proofs aside, the assistance of an immigration counsel/consultant who would facilitate your application and better your chances of getting approved is strongly suggested and highly encouraged.

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Important Facts About National Impaired Driving Prevention Month

The Purpose of National Impaired Driving Prevention Month

Since December is one the busiest months of the year full of winter holiday celebrations like Christmas and New Year’s Eve, there are a lot more social events and late night get-to-gathers where alcohol is available. Sadly, driving under the influence is quite common during holiday season. Impaired driving puts drivers, passengers, and pedestrians at risk, and each year it claims the lives of thousands of Americans. In December, we observe National Impaired Driving Prevention Month to create more awareness on the issue.

Some Important Facts About This Month

It is reported that every year, around 30 million people drive while intoxicated and around 10 million drivers go behind the wheel after taking illegal drugs.

Nearly 25 people a day were killed in alcohol-impaired driving crashes in 2010. Drinking and driving can be deadly, especially for teens.

Young adults (ages 21-34) are much more likely to die in a car crash after drinking alcohol.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), every day, 28 people in the United States lose their lives in motor vehicle crashes that involve an alcohol-impaired driver.

In 2014, of the 1,070 traffic deaths among children (ages 0-14), nearly 19% involved alcohol-impaired drivers.

Drugs other than alcohol are also a factor for traffic accidents.

Effective Preventive Measures

Prevention starts with our sense of personal responsibility. It is high time that drivers, irrespective of their age, start thinking about how they can practice safe driving and re-evaluate their driving habits.

Conducting school programs and educating teens on how important it is NOT to get in the car with a driver who’s under the influence would be an effective solution.

Electronically monitoring repeat DWI offenders also appears to be effective. Ignition interlocks in cars prevent operation of the vehicle by anyone with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) above the specified level.

If you come across a possibly drunken driver on the road, immediately contact the police! Your timely action might save someone’s life.

Families play an essential role in putting an end to impaired driving. We should all educate our children about the risks involved in consuming alcohol or illicit drugs and especially how dangerous this is while driving.

If your holiday plans involve drinking liquor, make sure to always plan ahead for a safe ride home.

Every year, a higher volume of vehicles flood the roads. People rush to see their loved ones for the holidays and the odds of getting into a driving accident increase during these periods. While most people are well informed, there are still many other people who are not aware about how this easily avoidable problem could affect their loved ones. It is our personal duty to help people understand how dangerous this habit actually is.

Organize a local awareness campaign to explain the risks involved and how drinking and driving can affect families. Surprise the attendees with customized giveaways. Silicone wristbands are perfect for such campaigns because they are original, durable, long-lasting and inspiring. You can get them in different colors, fonts, sizes and styles. Wristbands carry messages. Choose from “Think and Drive”, “Never Drink and Drive” or come up with something of your own.

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Significance Of Character & Police Clearance Certificate In Immigration

If you are planning to settle permanently in any foreign country, police clearance certificate is one of the essential documents you will need in order to qualify successfully for the permanent residence visa process. A police clearance certificate is issued to Indian passport holders by the concerned police authorities covering the time period of the applicant’s stay in the particular region. If any applicant has been involved in any kind of illegal activity or was arrested for violating the law anytime, the police clearance certificates notes the entire nature and reasoning of the applicant’s case. In much simple words, a police clearance certificate represents how ethical or unethical your character is in the eyes of law of the counties you have lived after the age of 16 years.

Necessity and validity of the police clearance certificate in the immigration process

It is necessary for a prospective immigration who is 16 years older and currently residing in India to have his criminal check done. If the candidate is an Indian citizen age 16 or older and currently residing in India, whose passport was issued MORE THAN six months prior to their immigrant visa interview date, should obtain a Police Clearance Certificate from both the nearest Indian Passport Office and the District Police in the area in which they reside. However, if their passport was issued LESS THAN six months prior to their interview date, they only need a Police Clearance Certificate from the nearest Indian Passport Office.

Factors that impact police clearance check

The following factors will have an impact on your police clearance check:

  • You have a substantial criminal record: By this, it means that past records will be assessed. A sentence(s) of 12 months or more in prison will impact your police check.Also, a suspended sentence is considered as a prison sentence.
  • You have been convicted of escaping: In case you have been found guilty of escaping from immigration detention (during or while detention or had escaped and were taken into detention later), it may bring an adverse impact on your PCC.
  • You are/were associated to a criminal group: In case you have been a member of organization or group that has bad records and the Minister for Immigration reasonably suspects your involvement in the group/organization criminal activities, it may impact your police check.
  • You are/were involved in any crime or offensive acts: If the Minister for Immigration reasonably believes your involvement in criminal acts like human trafficking, smuggling, genocide, sexual offense, torture of slavery, a crime against humanity, a crime of serious international concern, it becomes difficult for you to obtain a PCC.
  • Your past records prove you of an immoral character: If your past and presents records show that you are not of a good character and the government of the country thinks that you can be a threat to the country, you will be denied of a police clearance.

Procedure to apply for a police clearance certificate (India):

If you are 16 years or above, you can apply for a PCC at the places listed below, as per the associated conditions:

  • If you are residing in India and your Indian passport was issued within past 6 months
  • Apply at the Passport Office
  • If you are residing in India and your passport was issued more than 6 months prior to visa application
  • Have to apply at the Passport Office and the District Police Office near your place of residence
  • If you are an Indian passport holder and is staying outside India
  • Local Embassy or Consulate confirming you have no criminal record (a statement from Embassy or Consulate is acceptable)
  • If you are an Indian passport holder and currently resident in India, but has lived in another country (except for the U. S.).

You need to apply at the passport office, d District Police Office serving your place of residence (if the passport was issued more than 6 months prior to visa application) and the country of previous residence (if available).

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Did You Leave The Scene Of An Accident Even Though You Were Not At Fault?

State law in Ohio requires each person involved in a crash on a public road or parking lot to report the incident to police. The hit-and-run statute also imposes legal duties to remain on the scene, speak with investigators, alert emergency medical personnel when injuries occur, and, when possible, provide first aid to people who got hurt in the wreck.

The rules apply equally to the person who causes the crash and the victims. One of the implications of this is that victims of hit-and-run collisions can get charged with driving off after a wreck. Another is that failing to call in a crash can greatly complicate the insurance claims process, in large part because no official police report will get generated.

Do understand, however, that leaving a note on a parked car can protect an at-fault driver. Likewise, a person who comes back to a damaged car will not face problems for failing to report the incident immediately after it happened. When a hit-and-run involves an unoccupied vehicle, some leeway is allowed.

How a Victim Can Face Blame for a Hit and Run

Picture a four vehicle pile up at an intersection. A truck driver set off the chain reaction by failing to brake in time while approaching a red light. He slams into the back of a car, pushing it into the path of traffic crossing from a side street with a green light. If both the truck driver and the person in the car take off without checking on people in the other cars, without giving statements and insurance information to law enforcement officers, and without calling 911, both can be charged with the offense that Ohio courts call leaving the scene of an accident.

Problems With Hit-Skip Victim-Blaming

Even though the person driving the vehicle was a victim of the truck driver’s negligence or recklessness, the person has to comply with the hit-and-run law in order to avoid possible criminal consequences. The victim might have panicked or just assumed that he or she did not need to stick around because the truck driver was clearly at fault. Police and the court would not be inclined to accept either excuse at face value, so hiring a hit-and-run defense lawyer would be a good idea for the driver.

Beyond the legal concern, remaining on the scene would spare the driver from coming under suspicion of causing any part of the wreck and inflicting any injuries. Simply getting accused of instigating a hit-and-run collision can make filing and collecting on insurance claims impossible. Insurers will work hard to deny claims from a driver they believe to be at fault.

Speaking with a lawyer who does hit-and-run defense can help in a situation like this. The attorney will be able to organize and present evidence to support the victim’s right to make claims. The lawyer could also use evidence to explain why leaving the scene of the accident would be understandable and forgivable.

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DUI Record Search and Why You Should Run One

Getting a DUI is a big deal for someone. The repercussions of getting a DUI can last years. From getting your license revoked to losing your job, so yes getting a DUI is a serious offense.

But what about the other end of getting into a car with someone that has gotten a DUI in the past and not knowing the risk you could be getting yourself into. Keep reading to find out why you should run a DUI record search and what information you could find.

It will be in your best interest to know who you are letting getting behind the wheel while you’re the passenger.

New Dates or love interest

With advancements in technology there are more apps then ever designed to find love or dating prospects. Before you jump in that car for a night out be sure to run a quick public record search that could uncover past driving records such as a DUI.

Carpooling to work

Carpooling is a great way to share the cost of getting to and from work by sharing a car ride with others.

With that said before you zoom down the highway with Bob or Margarete be sure to run a DUI record search on the individuals that will be driving.

Your Child’s friends Parents.

Believe it or not this can be a much-overlooked search area but one of the most important ones.

Your children’s friend’s parents may take your child to parties, play dates for pizza or anywhere else. Be sure whoever is driving your children around town has a clean record.

What information can you find in a DUI record search

After running a search, you could find all kinds of information from a public record search.

There will be a criminal record section, asset information, related person searches, Dui record data, and much more that users can search and find on their targeted individual.

Keep in mind online services are usually anonymous so your search subject will not know.

In closing

It is worth the small investment in time and money to run a DUI record search on someone that will be driving your or any of your loved ones around town. All you need is the State of the person you’re searching and first and last name.

If your search subject has public data on them, you should be able to see what information is on them within your private report.

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