What to do when charged with a DUI?

If you ever catch yourself being pulled over by the police for Driving under the Influence (DUI), it is important to know the proper protocol for this type of arrest and the things that you should do to protect yourself and your rights. Guilty or not, it will help to be in the know of what to expect during a DUI arrest so that you can behave properly and avoid any additional charges and hassle.

Taking the Fifth

Once you get pulled over to the side of the road, the police will begin to ask you questions if you have been drinking and how much. These questions can be very incriminating and this information can be used against you in court while your case is being tried. Even if the police did not read you your rights, you can still choose to keep silent and exercise your rights in taking the 5th amendment. You of course would have to provide your license and registration to the arresting officer, but other than that, they cannot force you to answer any questions and you may freely decline to answer these questions until after you have spoken to your attorney.

Sobriety Tests

Most people don’t know that sobriety tests are voluntary and the police will not tell you that you have the option not to participate. Sobriety tests are performed to give police officers a clue if you are intoxicated or not. It will test your motor skills, focus and attention, as well your ability to retain information that is compromised when you have taken in a considerable amount of alcohol or drugs. “Sobriety tests are highly subjective and most US states do not require them to be done,” says R.J. Manuelian a Los Angeles, California criminal attorney, “so it is okay to politely decline and reiterate that you believe they are subjective and is not an accurate measure of your intoxication,” he continues.

Chemical Tests

If you are under probation for a previous DUI offense or if they arrest you because they have probable cause, then you are subject to chemical tests to prove your alcohol or drug intoxication. You can either submit to a breathalizer or a blood test. Between the 2, a breathalizer test has a larger margin of error and can easily be contested in court. It cannot be retested and that can work in your favor. If you choose to take a blood test, you have the right to have this retested in an independent facility to challenge the accuracy of the results.

Do not refuse a chemical test as they can increase your punishment by refusing. “Laws vary state to state, but refusal to submit to a blood test after being arrested can mean suspension of your license by your local DMV,” states Manuelian. Even if you refuse, they can still force you to submit to these chemical tests as this is required if they do find probable cause to arrest you for DUI.

Life Insurance With Pre-existing Conditions

Life insurance coverage is an important part of any good estate plan. It provides the peace of mind that loved ones will have financial security when you are no longer around to provide for them. It can also often be leveraged to limit the tax obligation your beneficiaries will have in regards to their inheritance.

One thing I hear often in estate planning consultations when discussing the benefits of life insurance is the worry that a pre-existing health condition is going to disqualify the client from obtaining life insurance. Years ago, they were probably right. There were few options available, if any. Competition in the market has driven more and more insurance companies to look into this market. You can now find plenty of websites, like this one, that can assist consumers who are looking for life insurance with pre-existing conditions. If you find yourself seeking out this type of coverage, I put together a little bit of information to help guide you.

The Underwriting Process is Different For Each Company

If you’re not sure how the life insurance marketplace works, you’re not alone. But you should know that the underwriting process, or how premiums are set, differs for each company. Life insurance with pre-existing conditions falls under the impaired risk category.  That means that the greater the risk you pose for the insurance company, the higher your premium rate will be. However, there is a twist, because some companies offer better rates for certain conditions than others and the underwriting process is different for each company.

Get the Help You Need

In many cases, if you use your resources wisely, you can easily find those companies that specialize in working with people with pre-existing conditions. Some companies offer reduced rates for folks with Diabetes, while another company may offer more competitive rates for those inflicted with cancer. Don’t be afraid to seek out help from online resources and companies that specialize in helping folks secure life insurance. The right insurance experts can help you find those specific companies that can offer you the best value on life insurance with pre-existing conditions.

Take Proactive Steps to Mitigate Your Pre-existing Condition

While you cannot change the fact that you have cancer or another pre-existing condition, you can take steps to lessen your risk by maintaining healthy lifestyle choices. Some companies offer no exam coverage, but many others review your health records. Showing that you do not smoke and take proper care of yourself through diet and exercise can possibly reduce your policy premium.

Securing quality life insurance with pre-existing conditions isn’t impossible. Understand the impaired risk market and look for those companies with underwriting guidelines that are most favorable to you and your specific condition. If you’re unsure, seek professional help and get the coverage you deserve.

What you post to your social network accounts can kill your personal injury case

Let me paint a picture for you, and I am sure you will quickly see how this could happen.

You were recently in a serious car accident. You visit your doctor about some pain you are experiencing. The physician prescribes some pain medication and suggests physical therapy. The medication is effectively dulling the pain, but it is only a temporary solution. A few of your friends are heading out to a dance club and invite you to tag along. Although you know you probably should not go, you decide to join them. The narcotics are numbing your pain, so you spend some time on the dance floor with your friends.

A few weeks later you have completed your physical therapy, but the pain is not going away. Your physician refers you to an orthopedic doctor. After running some tests, the orthopedic specialist informs you that you have some very serious issues with your spine and may need surgery.

Your case is now worth more money because of the added costs and possible complications you will be facing.

As the case begins, the defense lawyer representing the insurance company of the party responsible provides a video he found on your Facebook page of you dancing at a club with your friends just a few days after your accident. Your car accident case is now in jeopardy. The defense attorney calls into question the validity of your personal injury as well as accusing you of being less than truthful. That little, seemingly harmless video, can now be used as leverage to settle the case for much, much less.

Insurance companies are going to look for reasons to pay you less for your personal injury or to deny you compensation completely. They are very thorough, and the more the case is potentially worth, the more thorough you can expect them to be. In some cases, the rise of social media has made this job easier than it ever was before.

The personal injury lawyers of Mainor Wirth in Las Vegas have found that many victims of personal injury discuss their accident on Facebook and Twitter. “Any kind of discussion of the actual event can be twisted, spun, or misinterpreted and used against a personal injury victim. For example, a personal injury victim may state that he or she was ‘talking to their mother when the accident happened.’ Even though there is no specific reference of time, it would be assumed by that statement that they were on the phone and were distracted when the accident happened.”

If you have found yourself the victim of personal injury, do not forget that insurance companies and defense lawyers are going to be looking for any leverage they can gain to reduce or deny your claim. That includes regularly checking your social networking accounts. Be sure to discuss with your attorney what information you should not share on social networking sites.

My car insurance covers a car accident, but can I still sue the driver responsible?

Simply put, yes you can.

First of all, each state has different laws. Laws that are changing all of the time. I’m going to discuss what is generally true, but may not necessarily apply to your specific situation. It is always best to contact an attorney in your area.

Let’s say that you are an insured driver, and one day on the way to work you get sideswiped by a driver who ran a red light. The driver inflicted $1,400 in damage to your car, and you are fully compensated by your insurance company.

You can still sue the driver that caused the accident for $1,400.

Even though the accident basically cost you zero dollars – outside of any increase in insurance premiums, which are not recoverable in court anyhow – you can still sue. To most people this seems odd, even surprising, but there are several reasons for it.

The biggest reason for this is also the most obvious. Your insurance company wants its money back. Nearly every auto insurance policy has a subrogation clause. This gives the insurance company the ability to sue the driver that hit you. Regardless of whether or not you want to, the insurance company may exercise your rights against the driver responsible for the accident. The insurance company can only accept an amount of money in the suit equal to what it paid you. If the suit results in a financial award above what the insurance company paid to you, they must give you the difference.

In reality, the insurance company is not going to disburse all of the extra money. They insurance company paid for the legal expenses you would have had to pay to pursue the case, so they can keep money to pay for their expenses including attorneys, court filings, and expert witnesses.

What are my rights as a tenant in a foreclosed building?

The majority of residents in many cities across the country rent their apartment. Since the economic downturn and mortgage crisis of 2008, one common issue that many tenants, unfortunately, have run into is finding themselves living in a building that has been foreclosed on. So what are the rights of a tenant if the landlord fails to make his or her mortgage payments and the property falls into foreclosure?

Normally, this situation requires an intensive investigation into the specific situation. However, there is one piece of federal legislation that was passed in the wake of the economic crisis to specifically address these issues. It is called the Protecting Tenants at Foreclosure Act (PTFA), and it was signed into law in 2009. It provides considerable rights to tenants who find themselves in this situation.

The PTFA requires that new owners of a property assume the leases from the previous owner (assuming they were entered into in good faith). It also stipulates that the owner of a tenant occupied building must give certain notices to residences, among them a 90-day notice of termination of tenancy.

Normally, a tenant whom is living month to month needs to only be given 30 days notice from a landlord to terminate the tenancy. Under this law they are required to give 90-days notice, even if there is not a lease.

This law became necessary because banks were often foreclosing on tenant occupied buildings , and then attempting to empty the building to make it easier to sell.

Tenants have no ability to control how the landlord utilizes their rent money. A tenant could be paying their rent every month on time, only to learn later that the building owner has not been paying the mortgage on the property. It is for these tenants that the law became necessary.

If a building does fall into foreclosure, at a certain point in the foreclosure process, the owner is no longer entitled to rent payments. It is important for the lender to properly notify tenants where to direct their payments. It is also important for the tenants to make the necessary adjustments in their payments.

It is not at all uncommon for a tenant to continue to pay the landlord, even though they are no longer entitled to the payment, because they were not properly notified of the change. It is fraudulent for the old owner to accept the payments, however people in desperate situations do desperate things. The tenant would need to press charges to recover their money.

The foreclosure process can be quite frustrating to tenants, especially when they were in no way responsible for the mortgage not being paid. If you do find yourself in this unfortunate situation, it is important to remember that you do have some rights.