Categories of Crime Under Criminal Law

Lawyer reviewing a paper

Lawyer reviewing a paperA crime is any act punishable by your state. Civil and criminal law are the two broad categories of law. Civil laws mainly focus on legal controversies and monetary damages. Criminal law, on the other hand, involves serious crimes.

Penalties for breaking criminal law are unlike in the case of civil law, which involve forfeiture of a convict’s rights and imprisonment. With these consequences, it is prudent to hire a criminal defense lawyer in Provo to ensure you get an acquittal when faced with a criminal offense charge.

Here are different categories of criminal law based on their severity.

1. Infractions

At times referred to as petty offenses, an infraction is a violation of municipal code, ordinance, and administrative regulation. Under some jurisdictions, this includes local traffic, and state rules.

These offenses are punishable by fines and no incarceration. When used as a punishment, incarceration is typically for a limited period. Disorderly conduct, DUI, and petty theft are some common types of infractions.

2. Misdemeanors

These crimes are more serious compared with infractions. They are punishable by incarceration at a local county jail or through fines.

Deception, theft, stalking, gross indecency and aggravated assault are common criminal offenses in this category. Experts typically regard misdemeanors as crimes of moral turpitude, unlike infractions. Misdemeanor convictions might hence reduce your chances of getting a good job or a scholarship.

3. Felony

This is the most severe criminal offense. A felony is punishable by a fine and incarceration of more than a year. A felony conviction is also grounds for deportation in the case of immigrants.

Felonies include arson, rape, robbery, terrorism, treason, and kidnapping. Felonies in most states have a three-strike law, which stipulates a life sentence for anyone convicted of a felony thrice.

These classifications of criminal law affect not only the punishment for the crime but also their prosecution. Felony charges, for instance, require an indictment or preliminary hearing, unlike other criminal offenses. Juries are also typically reserved for felonies and serious misdemeanors.

More Americans May Rush Their Divorce Due to Tax Changes

Divorce agreement contract with couple fighting over moneyA spike in divorce cases could occur across the country within the next several months, mostly because they would want to avoid being subject to a new rule on alimony payments.

By 2019, the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act will no longer deduct alimony from a paying spouse’s income. This will repeal a 76-year-old rule that has required the recipient to pay the taxes on alimony.

Divorce rush

If you live in New York, the need for divorce mediation by Long Island lawyers will be more relevant if you want to expedite the process of negotiations. Once the tax changes take effect, however, it may lead to messier court battles just because of disagreement over alimony payments.

Madeline Marzano-Lesnevich, head of the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers, believes this will be the scenario. Since men comprise the majority of paying spouses, the tax changes will prompt them to settle on a lower figure. On the other hand, their wives’ lawyers may argue their case for a higher settlement in front a judge, Marzano-Lesnevich said.

State capitals

A possible impact of the new rules on alimony payments could lead to a lower divorce rate in states such as New York. An analysis of the U.S. Census Bureau’s 2016 American Community Survey showed that Hudson ranked as the divorce capital of the state.

The city had a divorce rate of 16.7% in the last two years, while the state’s divorce rate reached 8.7%. Married couples accounted for more than 29% of the state population. The survey based its findings on a study of divorce cases among couples between 15 years old and above.

You should consult with a lawyer and find out how the new alimony system will affect your income. For now, your best course of action would be to hasten the divorce process before Dec. 31.

Instances When a Child Support Order May Be Changed

Photo of family

Photo of familyCircumstances in life change and even if your child support order was formally established, you still have a chance to have the details adjusted. Whether you need to have the particulars of the child support order modified for a short while or permanently, there has to be evidence that your circumstances have changed.

Increase in Responsibilities

The requirements of children increase as they age. For instance, some might begin participating in activities such as sports, while others might start wearing braces.

The custodial parent should engage the services of family lawyers in Wellington. They will facilitate your request for more support for the increasing needs of your growing children adequately.

Reduced Income

It is not unusual to find one spouse losing their primary source of income after receiving the child support order. When this happens, the custodial parent might require having the amount of child support as indicated in the initial order reviewed.

Likewise, if the parent who pays the child support is no longer able to fulfill their obligation, they could seek to have the amount reduced.

Increase in Concurrent Obligations

If, for instance, you are the non-custodial parent and you remarry and have more children, it follows that you will have more responsibilities.

You might want to have your child support obligations reduced to sufficiently cater to the needs of your new family. This will help in maintaining a reasonable balance in both homes.

Substantial Increase in Income

You might discover that the parent responsible for paying child support has an increase in income, or they are potential beneficiaries for an inheritance. As such, you have the right to petition for an increase in child support. The percentage increase will be from the new source of income.

Child support modifications are vital as they help maintain the balance between two households sustained by a single breadwinner. After the establishment of the initial child support order, the circumstances of either parent might change.

For this reason, it would be helpful to have the child support order modified to make life easier for all the parties involved.

Skills You Need to be a Criminal Investigator

A law officer working

A law officer workingAs much as we like to believe there’s hope for humanity, the prevalence of crimes cannot be denied. Thankfully, science has advanced to the point that we can test evidence to prove a suspect’s involvement beyond a reasonable doubt. It’s an exciting field, and it’s not surprising if you would like to learn the basics of being an investigator yourself.

To get you started, know the skills you should have:

Diligence

There are online criminal investigation courses, so accessibility of information is not a problem. However, you do need to be diligent to learn the craft. It will not be enough to read through the suggested materials without taking in everything. You should also take the initiative to go beyond what is expected and ask questions when you are confused.

Presence of Mind

You will see details of a crime that are not released publicly, and some of them might be too much if you have a weak stomach. If you want to be in this kind of profession, you need to learn to keep your cool. Presence of mind is also important when you’re looking at an unfolding crime scene, and you need to take in as much of the details as possible. This is something you can start honing early on because it can be handy in real life too.

Attention to Detail

This goes well with having presence of mind because when you have a clear focus, you can see everything more clearly. It’s important to stay objective on the job; otherwise, certain details might trigger you and cause a bias in your perception. You should also be mindful of seeing one case after the other, as you could mix up important information and ruin the case.

It’s interesting that we know more about crime-solving and have handy tools at our disposal. To take full advantage of them, know the basics of criminal investigation.

What to Do when Preparing for Divorce

Divorce agreement paperwork being signedA divorce lawyer will give you proper legal advice and will represent you in court. Unfortunately, the lawyer who served as the mediator during the mediation process cannot represent you or your partner in a divorce trial. You may want to get referrals from family and friends when looking for a divorce attorney. The Burnham Law Firm, P.C. recommends consulting with divorce attorney in Denver.

Do Research

Divorce is common nowadays but many do not understand the process as it is complicated and involves different aspects of family law. It is best to start preparing by doing research on it. You can read articles online or see a divorce attorney. It also helps to take notes on important things such as documents to prepare.

Prepare All Documents

Prepare all the documents you need even before the divorce process takes place. This includes financial records like credit cards and bank accounts statements, retirement records, insurance policies, and pay stubs. You should also make a list of all the assets and debts attained during the marriage, as well as you and your partner’s income and expenses.

Be Financially Ready

Divorce is a long, demanding, and expensive process. You have to be financially ready for it. Make sure you have a steady source of income beforehand.

Be Emotionally Prepared

Divorce is emotionally stressful. Understand the healing process and its five stages – denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance. It may help talk to a divorce therapist. You can also open up to family members and friends about.

Divorce does not always mean failure. At times, it is the better thing to do than staying together. Regardless, you should prepare yourself for it. You have to know the ins and outs of the process and be financially, physically, and emotionally ready.

Dealing with Unauthorised Traveller Caravans: Exercise your Rights as a Landowner

Aerial view on slum locationHaving squatters on a property is something that every landowner dreads. Managing a vast property and its tenants is difficult enough; contending with trespassers and squatters is an additional headache. Landowners would naturally want to make the most of their property and rent them to paying tenants or develop their land for commercial purposes, after all. The presence of unauthorised traveller caravans hinders these plans.

For this reason, many landowners are apprehensive about squatters in commercial spaces like parking lots and vacant lots.

A Landowner’s Responsibility

Traveller caravans normally stay in place for a short period only, choosing instead to move from one campsite to another. Sometimes, though, authorised campsites are too far away, and travellers have to set-up camp in privately-owned land. If they overstay their welcome, landowners have the right to evict them from the property.

This is the ‘landowner’s responsibility’, the right of the owner to initiate dialogue or action to get squatters off his or her property. Landowners may also file a civil eviction procedure under Part 55: Possession Claims.

The Unorthodox Method: Welcoming Traveller Caravans

Confronting and removing travellers with hostility and force could be dangerous. MS Webb & Co., an established bailiff and consultancy company in Surrey, agrees. Although a swift eviction is desirable, handling the situation with sensitivity is also important.

Therefore, it’s best to be diplomatic and civil when dealing with squatters. In many cases, speaking with a caravan produces good results: they would only stay long enough to prepare for the next leg of their journey. Landowners and travellers just need to work out between themselves how long one party is welcome on the property of the other.

By Way of Court or through Personal Initiative?

If diplomacy and personal initiatives don’t work, however, and travellers begin to show signs that they intend to stay as long-term squatters, landowners can file for Possession Claims or hire a bailiff and security consultancy firm for assistance. Either process can produce the same outcome, only a bailiff company will take most of the work off the landowners’ hands.

Class Action Mediation: The Overview and Experience

A lawsuit form being filled outYou well know how that cases that require class action mediations present high degrees of difficulty. The complexity of their technical nature arises from a large number of underlying legal cases and claimants.

The discovery and claims processes add to that, as do settlement administration, dealing with objections, awarding fees and handling other procedural matters.

It is in that regard that you will find it helpful to work with lawyers that offer alternative dispute resolution services so that you can benefit from the strategies they use.

The Overview

There are different legal areas from which CA mediations would arise. The most common among these include in commercial business, employment, banking and insurance, and instances of product liability.

These cases necessitate mediators to have schooled in the particular issues, to be able to represent the conflicting parties appropriately without bias.

Attorneys need to also be well-versed in these issues to better represent their claimants and defendants while still factoring in the mediator's perspective.

The Experience

Ideally, it will need you to engage well-trained and experienced CA mediators that understand the importance of remaining neutral during the entire mediation process. Doing this helps them articulate the strength and weakness of each case more accurately and creatively.

The mediator will then evaluate the likely outcomes so that he or she can fashion the most reasonable settlement strategy that will best address all interests of the feuding parties.

One significant importance of using class action mediation is that you will have high chances of the court approving your case settlement quite fast after the fairness hearing. However, as you well know, not every other lawyer can assure you proper representation.

Consider reputation, industry experience, specialty training, recommended certification, and excellent listening and communication skills to find the best lawyers in town.

3 Most Important Questions to Ask Before Getting a Divorce

wife and husband doodles in divorce process concept broken relationshipsThe first few months or years of your marriage is usually filled with excitement. You and your partner could be looking forward to buying your first home or having a baby. But things start to change later on and before you know it, you find yourself arguing frequently with your partner. And one day, you wake up and realize that you’re no longer happy.

According to the American Psychological Association, about 40-50% of married couples in the US end up in divorce. Irreconcilable differences and falling out of love are just some of the reasons couples decide to split. If you’re in a difficult situation and thinking about divorce, don’t make an overnight decision. Remember that it takes days to process and evaluate because the decision will greatly affect you and your entire family.

The Burnham Law Firm, P.C. notes that one of the first things you should do is consult with divorce lawyers in Boulder. This way, you will know your rights and be familiar with the legal process. Once you’re clear with the legalities, ask yourself these questions before making a final decision:

Do you still love your partner?

Some people keep thinking that they still love their partner, but what they really feel is pity disguised as love. But if you feel genuine love for your partner, you may have to think twice before letting go because you can’t lose someone you deeply care about.

Are you getting a divorce out of spite?

If you want to cut the marriage just because of your pride or resentment, you better pull over and meditate. Give yourself time to heal before saying the final word.

Can you handle the consequences?

Just imagine being severed from a person whom you’ve been with for years. Your life will change and everything from your work to your sanity will be affected. It may be temporary, but ask yourself if it’ll be all worth it in the end.

Getting divorced is a big decision, which is why you need to be careful. Use all the help you can get to understand the situation and learn about your legal options.

How to Expunge Criminal Record in New York

Lawyer reading the expunged criminal caseHaving a criminal record is not good. Even if you only committed a minor offense, such as shoplifting, you have a permanent black mark on your public record. This can affect your chances of finding a job, getting a loan, or qualifying for affordable housing.

Unfortunately, New York does not allow expungement. If you committed a crime in New York, the next best thing is to seal the records. NY Sealing Law notes that sealing the record is almost as good as expunging it because it is no longer public record. You also do not have to tell employers about it. Here is how to expunge criminal record in New York.

Recent development

Before October 2017, New York only allowed sealing of juvenile and minor crimes, such as trespassing, and crimes that did not end in a conviction. Felonies and other serious crimes are not seal-able. However, New York passed a new law that now allows more crimes to be seal-able. You can seal up to two crimes, one of which can be a felony. Sex offenses and violent crimes are not included. You have to wait ten years before you can seal the records, though.

Before sealing

The first thing you have to do is consult with a criminal lawyer. The expungement laws of New York are complicated. A lawyer can explain them to you. For example, you may have two or more convictions that were part of one action, so the law considers it as one conviction. Your lawyer will also advise you on what crimes are eligible for sealing and special cases that may apply to you. Finally, it is better if your lawyer drafts your sworn statement to convince the court to grant the seal order.

Process

The application for sealing a record is simple. You have to go to the court where you received your conviction. Then, get a copy of your criminal record and an official disposition slip. Mail the slip together with your sworn statement of reason for sealing the record to the Division of Criminal Justice Services Sealed Records. If approved, you should have your records sealed in about 12 weeks.

Sealing or expunging a criminal record in New York has important consequences for you. If your criminal record is seal-able, you should do it as soon as possible with the help of a criminal lawyer.

Alimony: Things You Need to Know About Spousal Support

Alimony written on an envelope with dollars.Spousal support, along with other legal family matters, can be peacefully settled by both parties. However, significant issues like this usually need professional help by a compassionate lawyer who considers the best interest of both parties and the family.

According to Smith Horton Law, the importance of seeking professional help comes in when a legal issue begins to affect the family adversely. Unlike child support, alimony computation doesn’t have “worksheets” and depends on the state’s laws.

Who Qualifies for Alimony

Alimony is financial support granted by the supporting spouse to a dependent spouse for his/her maintenance. The recipient may get the spousal support monthly or in a lump sum. Apart from this, alimony may also include the transfer of title or possession of personal property.

Various states operate on different statutes. However, The Uniform Marriage and Divorce Act, a basis used by the majority, states the following factors in granting alimony:

  • The age and the physical, emotional, and financial condition of the parties
  • The length of time the dependent spouse would need to be self-sufficient
  • And the ability of the supporting spouse to provide for the dependent while still being able to support himself or herself

Recent statistics show that 97% of 400,000 alimony recipients are women. But today’s cultural shifts see more female breadwinners, more wage-earning couples, and more male alimony recipients. Spousal support laws and guidelines have kept up with the times and address this legal matter beyond gender roles.

Why the Need for Spousal Support

In most cases, there will be a spouse who is more financially stable or earns more than the other. The existence of a dependent spouse takes place when one spouse gives up his/her career to invest time in taking care of the family.

Disparities happen when a spouse with higher earning power eventually replaces some or all of the assets, while the dependent spouse will resort to asset liquidation. Alimony comes in and levels this kind of inequality.

Remarriage and Cohabitation

The rules of alimony change in the case of one or both spouses remarrying or finding new life partners.

A dependent spouse’s financial support can meet termination once he/she moves in with a new partner. This is also the case if the dependent spouse commits illicit sexual behavior, then the supporting spouse will be free of financial responsibilities. However, if the supporting spouse commits such acts, then the court awards alimony to the dependent.

Above are only some things one needs to know when considering filing for alimony. Since different states operate under various laws, experts advise to be vigilant and seek the help of a professional.