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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Estafa Vs B.P.22 – What Is the Difference?

We’re pretty sure there’s a point in time that you became party to a transaction, either as payee or payer. Of course as payee, receiving cash is much preferred as you are sure that your payment was given to you in full sans any further action needed from your end. Now as payer, issuing a check is so much more convenient, especially for substantial transactions, as you would not have to worry about bringing cash and making sure that all your expenses are accounted and debited for, up to the last centavo.

It’s great if all transactions went smoothly without any hitch. However, with both parties making and receiving payment all in good faith. But what if you were conned by someone you had the mistake of trusting? Or what if you issued a check as a show of good faith to close out on a deal but at the time of issuance, the account has insufficient funds and you made a mental note to replenish the account as soon as you got paid. Alas, you then notice that your check bounced.

The above instances had surged over the years and has caused an unfortunate chain reaction which prompted the filing of either or both the following cases: Estafa and Violation of Batas Pambasa (BP) 22 or the Bouncing Checks Law.

Estafa Through Issuance of Unfunded Checks
The crime of Estafa is punished under the Revised Penal Code. One can be held guilty for Estafa by means of issuing a bouncing check with the use of false pretenses or fraudulent acts executed prior to or simultaneously with the commission of the fraud:
“By postdating a check, or issuing a check in payment of an obligation when the offender had no funds in the bank, or his funds deposited therein were not sufficient to cover the amount of the check. (Article 315(2)(d) of the Revised Penal Code as amended by R.A. 4885)”

How can a person be held guilty for Estafa?

Under the RPC, the following elements are necessary to hold a person guilty of Estafa:

  1. Postdating or issuance of a check in payment of an obligation contracted at the time the check was issued
  2. Insufficiency of funds to cover the check, and
  3. Damage to the payee thereof.

The most important element here is the damage caused. Absent any of the following elements, a person cannot be held liable for Estafa.

Case in point:

Andres owns and operates a trading good business and bought merchandise from Bonifacio and issued an unfunded check in consideration of the goods received.

In this scenario, Andres can be held liable for Estafa because he issued a check knowing it to be without sufficient funds to pay the items he bought from Bonifacio. The issuance of the bounced check here was with fraudulent intent.

Bouncing Checks Law (BP 22)
Unlike Estafa which has its basis under the RPC, BP 22 is enacted through a special law. A person can be charged for violation of BP 22 when he commits the following acts:

  1. Making or drawing and issuing any check to apply on account or for value, knowing at the time of issue that he does not have sufficient funds in or credit with the drawee bank for the payment of such check in full upon its presentment, which check is subsequently dishonored by the drawee bank for insufficiency of funds or credit or would have been dishonored for the same reason had not the drawer, without any valid reason, ordered the bank to stop payment;
  2. Having sufficient funds in or credit with the drawee bank when he makes or draws and issues a check, shall fail to keep sufficient funds or to maintain a credit to cover the full amount of the check if presented within a period of ninety (90) days from the date appearing thereon, for which reason it is dishonored by the drawee bank.

How can a person be held guilty for Violation of BP 22?

Violation of BP 22 can be filed against any person when the following are present:

  1. Making, drawing and issuance of any check to apply for account or for value;
  2. Knowledge of the maker, drawer, or issuer that at the time of issue he does not have sufficient funds in or credit with the drawee bank for the payment of such check in full upon its presentment; and
  3. Subsequent dishonor of the check by the drawee bank for insufficiency of funds or credit or dishonor for the same reason had not the drawer, without any valid cause, ordered the bank to stop payment.

Same with Estafa, the presence of all these requirements is important. Otherwise, the charge of BP 22 will not attach. Note that knowledge of insufficiency of funds is presumed when it is proved that the issuer received a notice of dishonor and that within 5 days from receipt thereof, he failed to pay the amount of the check or make arrangement for its payment. Additionally, in BP 22, good faith is immaterial. Meaning, the mere issuance of an unfunded check already consummates the crime.

Using the same example above, Andres can also be charged for Violation of BP 22, other than Estafa, because BP 22 cases also cover issuances of bouncing checks for value received.

Where does the disparity lie?

It is Estafa when, among others, you issue an unfunded check with fraudulent intent in consideration of something of value you received. Here intent is material and good faith may be used as a defense.

It is a case for Violation of BP 22 when you issue an unfunded check whether or not it is for an obligation you contracted prior to the issuance of the check or not. Simply put, you are liable for BP 22 whether you issue a check for a present or a past obligation.

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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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DUI Breathalyzer Accuracy

Anyone that has been stopped and arrested for a DUI charge is likely to find the entire process to be very difficult and stressful. Plus, with the reported increase in accidents involving drivers under the influence of alcohol or illegal substance, the authorities are making every effort to prosecute all offenders. In order to prove a person is driving under the influence, the law enforcement official that made the stop has a choice of asking the driver to take a roadside sobriety test or use a breathalyzer. A first course of action may be the sobriety test which involves simple tests like walking in a straight line, lifting one foot off the ground, touch the tip of your nose, etc.

But, these tests aren’t entirely reliable and the most common option used is the breathalyzer. A field breathalyzer is quick to use and basically involves breathing air into a device that is analyzed to determine whether of not the driver has consumed too much alcohol to be on the road.

While the breath analysis is the favored method to test the concentration of blood alcohol in a roadside stop, they are nowhere near as reliable or accurate as blood tests. But, for the case of DUI investigations, it is seen as an acceptable option, provided it is administered in the correct fashion.

The breathalyzer tests aren’t complicated and a useful piece of portable kit to analyze a sample, but the result generated by this device may not be as reliable as the authorities would like you to believe. In fact, it has been reported that neither the spectroscopic BAC (Blood Alcohol Content) test nor the breathalyzer test is 100% trustworthy. This mostly relates to alcohol not affecting everyone the same, with many people able to consume quite a lot and still not be drunk.

Even though the test can give a positive indication that the BAC reading is high, this doesn’t actually confirm the driver was under the influence of alcohol while in control of their vehicle.

Scientific studies have taken place in relation to the accuracy of the breath alcohol tests, and their conclusion was that they are inherently unreliable. These studies have indicated that the breath readings can be up to 15% outside of the true blood alcohol levels.

So, in the event of being stopped for a DUI charge, you don’t really want the result from a breathalyzer to be the defining factor that determines the sentence issued. The best course of action is to get in touch with a skilled and reputable DUI attorney who is able to use their knowledge of the law to help fight this offense.

A DUI charge is a serious offense that has the potential to lead to a variety of legal consequences, which can include a period of prison time, attending alcohol or drug awareness classes, taking part in community service, having to pay a high fine, or the loss of your driver’s license. There are situations where the sentence given is more severe, such as having a minor on-board at the time or not being a first offense.

In the approach to defend the DUI charge that involves a breath analysis, any qualified criminal defense lawyer will be aware that there could be several operational and theoretical issues. There are a variety of factors that can lead to the results of blood-alcohol analysis being regarded as unreliable, and attempt to show that this type of data isn’t enough to prosecute. By using a lawyer it is possible to get the get outcome with a case either closed or a sentence kept to a minimum.

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How Does an Encinitas Bail Bond Work at the Vista Jail?

When a parent or loved one gets a call in the middle of the night, it can be very stressful and mind-boggling to figure out how Encinitas Bail Bonds work at the Vista jail. If you make a mistake, it can cost you lots of money in bail bond premium.

Firstly, anyone arrested in North County San Diego or Encinitas Ca will be taking over to the Vista Detention Center in Vista California. It’s at the Vista jail where the arrest and the booking process begins. If you were hoping for a quick bail bondi process and getting your loved one out very quickly, forget it. The bail process at the Vista jail takes anywhere from 4 to 12 hours until your family member is released after a bail bond is posted.

For every crime you can imagine, there is already a set amount in which the defendant has to pay in order to get out of the Vista jail during their court case. This is usually 10% of the entire bail amount. The bail bondsman puts up the other 90% with a bond and promises that the defendant will show up for all the court cases or the Encinitas bail bondsman will be responsible for the entire bill amount if the defendant skips bail.

Secondly, once the defendant is in the Vista Jail they will be fingerprinted and their identity verified. They are then sent to the FBI to check for any outstanding warrants in any other state in the USA. The fingerprinting process can take anywhere from 2 to 6 hours depending upon how busy the Vista jail is and how busy the FBI is processing fingerprints from around the country. Once to fingerprint check comes back and there are no outstanding warrants, then in Encinitas bail bondsman can post the bail at that time.

Thirdly, once it has been posted at the Vista Detention Center, the defendant will go into an exit process that could take anywhere from 1 to 5 hours. If the defendant was arrested for DUI, they are required by law to stay in jail for at least 8 hours before they are released back into the public. This helps drunk driving defendants when they get out of jail that they are completely sober and there’s no liability at the Vista Detention Center if they get into another accident. In the exit process, the arrestee will get all our possessions back, including their phone, money, jewelry, and any other articles that they were arrested with.

The defendant will have a future court date that they need to appear at once they are out back into the public on a bail bond. It’s very important that the defendant does not violate the bail contract and commit no additional crimes once an Encinitas bail bond has been posted.

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Common Bail Bond Questions and Answers

There is a lot to know about bail and bail bonds. Many people are very unfamiliar with the difference between the two, and the details of the industry and the services they offer. Fortunately, you have resources like these to help you understand what bail bonds are, what a bail bondsman does, and how to obtain bail in your time of need. In this article, we will cover plenty of frequently asked questions regarding the bail bonds industry, arrest warrants, getting out of jail, and more. Continue reading to learn about all of these topics, and more, when it comes to the indemnity industry.

What is Bail? What are Bail Bonds?

Bail bonds are formal documents that allow a release from jail for a person being detained on suspected charges or crimes. Bail is the amount of money or surety set by the courts. These amounts differ for everyone; depending on the crime, a person’s criminal history, and more. Once bail is set, a bail bond can be obtained so that a person can be temporarily released from jail to await their following court hearing at home.

What is a Bail Bondsman? How Much is a Bail Bond?

A bail bondsman, or bail agent, is the individual who operates a service that provides bail bonds for people who need to turn themselves into authorities, or need a release from jail. They operate by lending, or covering, the bail amount for those who cannot afford the entire fee upfront, in exchange for a non-refundable fee. Bail can be set as low as a few hundred dollars for minor infractions, and some in the high-thousands.

To get out of jail, a person has the option to pay this money as a deposit to the court, and then receives this money back when they show for their scheduled court hearing. The issue is that not everyone has this type of cash on hand, and cannot afford to pay the courts these amounts to get out of jail. This is where a bail bond agency comes in handy. They will pay the entire bail amount for you, in exchange for a fee.

These fees are regulated by the state, so bail bondsmen can only charge between 10-15% of the person’s total bail amount. So if a person’s bail is $5,000, they would pay a bail agency $500-$750 for bail. They do not get this money back. They are also obligated to sign a contractual agreement promising their return to court. If a defendant obtains a bail bond, then skips their court date, the bail bondsman does not get that money back. This is when they come for you.

Are Bail Bondsmen Bounty Hunters?

Bounty hunting is not a real vocation, and bail bondsmen are nothing of the sort. If a person skips bail, the bail bondsmen will simply track them down with the information they have, and give police a heads up on the whereabouts of a fugitive. They do this in order to get their bond money back. They will send police to your home, office, work, daycare, gym, friend’s house, and any other place they think you may be. Before they come looking for the fugitive, they will contact the person who signed for the bail contract, and pursue recompense from them. Since most individuals do not wish for their loved ones to get stuck paying thousands of dollars, most people choose to show up for court. An arrest warrant is issued for anyone who skips a court date, so police can arrest them anywhere at any time; such as routine traffic stops, the BMV, the post office, border crossing, and more.

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Driving Safety Near a School or School Bus

Driving near a school or a school bus can be dangerous if motorists don’t take proper precautions to ensure not just their own safety, but the safety of children in the vicinity. Here’s a guide to help you understand the right protocol to follow as a motorist in a school zone, or near a school bus.

Picking up or dropping off children at school:

  • Every school has a system to pick up and drop off children. Make sure you educate yourself on the rules of the school and adhere to them
  • Don’t double park because it reduces visibility for other drivers, and can endanger students
  • Park in the allotted areas (these have been designed keeping in mind the safety of students), and take permitted turns while navigating the school grounds. Avoid making U-turns and three-point turns.
  • While driving, watch out closely for children on bikes coming onto the roadway from between parked cars. Also keep a safe distance of at least 3ft between your vehicle and the motorcycle, and always check your side-view mirror before exiting your car
  • As a rule, ensure that your child is safely buckled in with the seat belt or in an age-appropriate child car seat before starting the car. Also, make sure your child enters or exits the car only via the ‘safety door’ which is the rear door on the kerb-side

Driving in a school zone:

  • Don’t exceed the 25mph speed limit imposed while driving in school zones. Most often this speed limit is imposed in school zones between 8 a.m. and 9.30 a.m., and 2.30 p.m. to 4 p.m. Motorists must adhere to this speed limit even if there are no children in sight
  • Slow down when approaching a school crossing
  • Do not proceed past the school crossing until the crossing supervisor’s hand-held sign is no longer displayed, or until he/she indicates that you can continue
  • If there is no crossing supervisor, but ‘CHILDREN CROSSING’ flags are displayed, the motorist must stop and wait until all the pedestrians have crossed the road
  • While driving through a school zone, avoid honking as it might scare children and cause them to stumble or fall in the way of oncoming traffic

Driving in the vicinity of a school bus:

  • Learn to understand the flashing light system on school buses.
  • If the overhead lights on the bus are flashing yellow, then prepare to stop. These lights indicate that the bus driver is planning to bring the vehicle to a halt to load or unload children.
  • If the overhead lights are flashing red, and the stop sign extended, it means that the bus has stopped and that children are getting on or off the bus. At this time all motorists, regardless of the direction in which they are moving, must come to a halt until the red lights stop flashing, the extended stop sign pulled back, and the bus resumes motion. In all 50 states of the U.S., it is mandatory for all vehicles on both sides of the road to come to a halt during this process. However, if a median divides the road, this may not be required.
  • If you are passing a school bus, make sure that there is plenty of visibility and space in the next lane. It is illegal in the U.S. to pass a bus on the right side, as this is where the loading and unloading of children occurs. Therefore, vehicles may pass the school bus on the left side on multiple lane roadways
  • Remember, though buses have large mirrors to assist the driver in his/her navigation, these vehicles also have huge blind spots. Stay cognizant of this, and pull back and slow down if you see a bus flash its blinkers, and allow it to move into the next lane.
  • Be especially vigilant near bus stops. Children may be playing at the bus stop to kill some time, or might be arriving late for their school bus and may inadvertently dart into oncoming traffic.
  • Bear in mind that buses stop frequently, so maintain at least 3ft distance between your car and the bus, to allow yourself enough time to come to a halt too
  • Do not park at or near a bus stop. In fact, maintain enough distance between your vehicle and the bus stop to allow children to enter and exit the bus with ease
  • Always remember that children can behave in an unpredictable, often rash, manner. In their haste or enthusiasm, they may not remember the safety concerns associated with walking on the road or picking up something they’ve dropped on the road. Therefore, it’s important to look very carefully to make sure the way is clear before navigating traffic behind a school bus.

These tips will help you drive in a safe, responsible manner while driving in a school zone, or near a school bus. If you would like to share your thoughts or suggestions of your own, we’d love to hear from you. Leave us a comment below!

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Is the Cost of Bail Higher for Felony Charges?

Discovering that your loved one has been arrested is not an enjoyable experience. No one wants to get this phone call; especially because your first thought is likely about the expense it will cost you. Finding out that your loved one was arrested on serious felony charges is even more disturbing, and can cause your mind to go into a whirlwind of questions and concerns. As history shows, many people want to know if a felony charge will increase the cost of a bail bond. The answer to this question, however, is not cut and dry. Continue reading to learn how the cost of bail is calculated, and whether or not the severity of the crime affects the total price of bail.

Cost of Bail

Bonds are set by judges who consider various factors before deciding on an amount. These factors include, but are not limited to, the defendant’s criminal history, the severity of their crime, and whether or not they are a flight risk. So in short, “yes”; the cost of bail is absolutely affected by the severity of criminal charges. This is for many reasons.

Bail Schedules

Most states have bail schedules with predetermined bond amounts for certain categories of crimes. For instance, shoplifting might come with an automatic bail schedule of $1000, while domestic violence might have a $10,000 bond or more. The more serious the crime, the higher the bond amount set by the judge. If a charge is a violent one, such as assault, battery, domestic disturbances, and child abuse, you can guarantee that the bond will be set high. Furthermore, all preset bond amounts, however, can be increased upon the judge’s discretion depending on the previously discussed factors. But not to worry, our U.S. Constitution protects us from excessive bond amounts. So they will be fair.

Bail Bondsmen

Unless you want to pay the jail or courts the full bond amount in cash or property, you will need to hire a bail bondsman. They charge a nonrefundable fee that is a set percentage of the total bond amount. For felony charges, bond amounts will be higher, which means the cost of a bail bond will be too. The premium a bail bondsman is allowed to charge is controlled and regulated by the State’s Insurance Department. Currently, this rates are set between 10 and 15 percent. This means that the total allowable premium that bail bond companies are allowed to charge can be anywhere between these percentages. They get to choose how much they charge within this range. If a person is facing a felony charge and they have a history for fleeing, a bail bondsman will charge on the higher end, closer to the 15% marker. For first time or minor offenses, most stick with the 10% charge.

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FAQS About Public Defenders

When you are learning about public defense, the first question you are likely to ask is, “What is a public defender?” So let’s not waste anytime answering this question, and many more frequently asked questions about public defense lawyers. A public defender is a criminal defense lawyer that works for the state and paid by the government. They provide free legal representation to defendants that are facing criminal charges that are punishable by jail time. Continue reading to read more common questions and answers just like this one!

Do Defendants Have to Pay for a Public Defender?

No, clients do not pay. However, a judge must decide that a defendant qualifies for public defense before one is appointed to them. In cases that a person is fully capable of paying for a private representation, they may be denied state assistance.

Is a Public Defender Less Qualified Than a Regular Criminal Lawyer?

No, both public defenders and private criminal attorneys are equally qualified in terms of education requirements, certifications, and licensing. The only difference is the level of skills and experience of each person.

Should I Use Public Representation or Hire My Own Lawyer?

Although public defenders are equally qualified doesn’t mean they are the most promising option for defense. Since they work for the state, their case loads are extremely rigorous and overflowing. This means they only have a limited amount of time to spend on each case. A private attorney can provide personalized representation to ensure you avoid the maximum penalties if convicted of your charges. Whether you are facing a petty charge like shoplifting, or a major charge like manslaughter, private counsel is the best choice, no matter the price. You can’t put a price on freedom, after all.

Can a Public Defense Lawyer Reject My Case?

If you are indigent and cannot pay your bills as they come due, it would be both unethical and illegal to have your case rejected since it is a violation to your Constitutional rights. Although a case can be handed over from one lawyer to another, it cannot be rejected and ultimately “skipped over” or denied. A person who is entitled to free representation will get it, no matter what.

Can I Request a New Lawyer?

If you are found to be eligible for state defense, you will be assigned a lawyer by the court. If this lawyer does not meet your expectations or recover the plea arrangement that you wanted, you do not have any options. Unless you can prove to a judge that your current lawyer is somehow violating your right to adequate representation, you cannot switch or be appointed a new one. Inadequate representation includes scenarios like missing appointments, failing to meet deadlines, forcing you to a certain plea, not informing you of case status and court dates, and ignoring critical evidence. And if you choose to appeal your conviction, you must hire private representation anyway, so asking to switch at that point wouldn’t be necessary.

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What You Need to Know About the Increase in Traffic Fatalities in South Carolina

In response to a recent report issued by South Carolina Highway Patrol, there has been an increase in traffic fatalities in South Carolina. South Carolina has seen a whopping 25% increase in deaths caused by traffic automobile accidents.

According to the National Safety Council, traffic deaths in the U.S. from 2014 to 2016 increased by 18 percent. However, the state of South Carolina saw a 25 percent increase. In North Carolina, the number jumped to 26 percent during the same two-year time frame.

More traffic, increased distractions, and poor road conditions lead to higher traffic fatalities across the state of South Carolina. Remember, it is easy to call a death in a traffic accident a “fatality”-which is a generic term. But imagine if it were your loved one, or close friend, who died tragically in a preventable traffic accident. Deaths caused by auto wrecks are an unnecessary tragedy. All of us have to remember that it’s not just a “fatality”; in fact, it’s a the loss of a human being-the loss of a father, mother, son or daughter, brother or sister – in a preventable situation. As an auto accident lawyer, I witness how car wrecks affect the lives of real people in our community. And it’s a terrible, terrible preventable tragedy.

What are some of the reasons for these high statistics? The program Target Zero discusses the state of South Carolina’s goal of eliminating traffic related deaths to Zero. One of these factors is the increase in traffic due to tourism. Whether toting our gorgeous parks or our fabulous food, our state, especially the Upstate, has received a lot of positive media attention in the past couple of years. This has resulted in an increase in visitors.

Another contributing factor to the increased traffic could be attributed to people relocating here. In 2015, there was a 2.5 percent jump in the number of registered vehicles and a 2 percent rise in the number of driver’s licenses issued in South Carolina.

With more traffic on the roadways of course there will be more traffic-related accidents. Nevertheless, there are still other reasons for wrecks. Distracted driving, drowsy driving, and drunk driving are still factors in fatality related auto accidents.

So, please be safe out there and be a defensive driver. And follow this simple advice: Slow down. Give plenty of distance between your car and other cars. Get off the cell phone or smart phone. Keep your eyes on the road. Keep two hands on the wheel. Never drink or drive or drive while tired. Take safe driving seriously.

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