Category Archives: Law

Factors That Distinguish a Felony From a Misdemeanor

Lawyer explaining to his client the difference of felony and MisdemeanorCrimes are divided into felonies and misdemeanors in most states. Some states have a third class comprising petty offenses. A felony is the most severe type of crime in all states.

If you are charged with a felony, the first thing you should do is get a good felony attorney in Provo, as suggested by Matthew Jube, Attorney at Law. Specific statutes define the distinction in felonies and misdemeanors. That said, below are some factors that distinguish a misdemeanor from a felony.

The Type of Crime

Misdemeanors are largely non-violent crimes and these include trespassing, vandalism, disorderly conduct, and petty theft. Simple assault and some types of drug possession in first-time offenders can also be considered misdemeanors. Felonies are violent crimes, which cause extreme psychological damage or show extreme negligence. These include manslaughter, aggravated assault, murder, robbery, and vehicular homicide, among others.

Punishment

Misdemeanor convictions usually cause jail time of up to one year or probation. The convict can sometimes serve his or her jail time in a local county jail rather than a high-security prison. Prison sentences for felonies are more than a year and can even attract life sentences or capital punishment. A felony sentence is served at a maximum security prison.

The Consequences of a Conviction

All persons convicted of a misdemeanor and felony after turning 18 years get a permanent criminal record. The record affects your future employment and rights to gun ownership, depending on the crime. Felonies have a more severe effect compared to misdemeanors. It is easy to expunge a first time, low-level and nonviolent misdemeanor from your record. Felony convictions are almost impossible to expunge and carry more grave consequences.

Based on your previous criminal records and your crime’s specific circumstances, a misdemeanor can be upgraded to a felony. There are different classes of felonies and they affect your sentencing. Hiring a qualified and experienced felony lawyer increases your chances of getting a lesser sentence.

Parenting After Divorce: What You Should Do for Your Kids

Divorce cracked paperBoulder is one of the best cities in Colorado for raising a family. But no matter how great this location is, it could still be the worst place for your kids if you are not a responsible parent.

Raising children is not easy, especially after divorce. Here are some things to remember so that your kids will not get caught in the crossfire of co-parenting.

Review rules on custody

Let’s say your ex-spouse is the non-custody parent; he or she is allowed visitation rights to your children. Your ex-spouse may also take the children on road trips and other travel arrangements, provided he or she abides by the custody agreement you came up with the help of a family lawyer from burnhamlaw.com.

Share notes with the other parent

Even if you are already separated, you still need to communicate with your ex-spouse if you notice any changes in your children’s behavior. Sometimes, they may open up to one parent but not the other, or they could be embarrassed to talk to both.

These are understandable when they reach a certain age, but it does not mean you should just let them drift away. Try to be a parent and a friend to your kids at the same time, and if they open up to you, ask your partner for some advice on how to deal with their issues.

Be involved in your kids’ activities

There is a fine line between being a controlling parent and being a supportive one. Be the latter and check in with their school to see how they are doing, but do not decide which activities they should take just because you want them to move towards a particular career path. This is a choice you should help them make, but the final decision is theirs.

Parenting is hard, indeed. Make it easier by not making all the decisions for your partner or children. Be supportive, but know when to step back.

Colorado Strives to Curb Growing Trend of Domestic Violence

Woman crying due to domestic violenceDomestic violence cases among teenagers in Colorado are growing, which leads some advocacy groups to take action and raise awareness on the issue. The Colorado Coalition Against Domestic Violence said that women between 16 and 24 years old are almost three times the national average to be more likely suffering abuse from their domestic partners.

Aside from hiring a family attorney in Colorado Springs or in Denver, there are several other ways to prevent the rise of domestic violence cases in the state.

Silent Treatment

Katie Bergstrom, a violence prevention educator at the Phoenix Center, believes that domestic abuse mainly takes places since people have refused to talk about it, as well as not “addressing power and control.”

Bergstrom said that a silent treatment to the problem worsens it, as women feel more helpless and perpetrators feel they can get away with their violent and abusive ways. On the other hand, technology such as mobile phones and social media are also contributing to the problem, she noted.

For instance, perpetrators can use social media to track down their partners. Bergstrom said that turning off your phone’s location settings can be helpful, although it can backfire in some cases as it can trigger suspicion.

Losing Their Homes

There are many factors why victims still choose to stay with their partners, but the idea of leaving their homes may be the most prominent. Homelessness serves as the main deterrent for victims to leave their abusive partners. According to recent research, one in five households has struggled with domestic violence before entering the shelter.

Some are lucky to find a place to stay with family, friends or afford to live in short-stay motels. Others, however, are left with no choice due to having nowhere else to go.

Victims of domestic violence should seek help from a trusted person as early as possible before the problem becomes worse than third-party intervention may no longer be achievable.

3 Ways to Protect Your Personal Assets

Man and woman talking to their lawyer to protect their assets Even if you’re making loads of money right now, you can’t be sure that the winds will blow the same way in the future. When talking about asset protection for your properties and possessions in Utah or anywhere else, you’re talking about guarding your wealth. This is so that whatever happens in the future, you’re less likely to lose everything.

Protecting your assets is something you do during the good times, and not an afterthought you save for the bad times. Here are some tips on how to protect your assets:

Get Insured Against Liability

Don’t just get the minimum. On the contrary, increase your liability insurance until it’s at least equal to your net-worth. If your finances take a turn for the better, call your insurance broker and increase your liability limits again.

Get a Separate Account for a Windfall

This may work best if you have a lawyer. Instead of co-mingling your windfall by depositing it in a joint account you share with your spouse (effectively giving your spouse ownership of 50%), put it in a separate account. This is a good idea if you are thinking about divorce.

Form an LLC or a Corporation

If you’re a landlord, for instance, and one of your tenants slip on the apartment stairs and decides to sue you for millions. That puts all of your assets in jeopardy. The same is true if you own a small business and a customer sues you for something.

If you have a business partnership and your partner gets in trouble, your assets are exposed as well. If you form an LLC or a corporation, however, your assets are separate from the assets of your LLC or corporation, so they can’t go after your personal assets.

Going back to protecting your assets during the good times, the law will not be on your side if you know trouble is afoot so you decided to protect your assets. The law does not look favorably upon those trying to game the system. It is advisable to call your lawyer today and put protections in place, rather than ask for their help when it’s too late.

Can I Really Lose My Green Card?

Green CardOnce you’ve obtained your LPR or Lawful Permanent Resident status, you could now permanently live and work in the United States.You can’t simply lose your privileges as an LPR unless you commit certain illegal activities or renounce your status. Only then will you lose your privileges, permanent residence, and green card.

How You Could Lose Your Green Card

Generally speaking, if you commit a violation, regardless if it’s civil or criminal, you could have your green card revoked and lose your LPR status. It’s also important to note that you could be deported immediately if you commit a serious offense. Although minor offenses might not lead to revocation of your green card, the majority of offenses that involve moral turpitude are enough to get your green card revoked. These offenses are those that involve socially offensive acts such as stealing, violence, and lying, among others.

Do take note that you need to inform the immigration officers within 10 days of the relocation if you move and change your address because this is actually among the most common ways LPRs get deported, warns a top immigration lawyer in Orem. While this might seem like an insignificant technicality, be warned that the USCIS or United States Citizenship and Immigration Services take this requirement extremely seriously. The main reason for this is that keeping your green card details always updated communicates to the USCIS that you’re not trying to evade them.

One of the most commonly asked questions LPRs ask is if they could travel outside the country. In general, yes you can, but you must refrain from leaving the country for longer than a year because the USCIS won’t hesitate to revoke your LPR status if they could prove that you planned to make another country your permanent residence. Officials would investigate signals and clues that you planned on making another country your true home.

Why You Might Need a Lawyer

If you’re uncertain about the requirements to ensure the safety of your green card status, it’s best to consult with an experienced immigration lawyer. Although immigration laws could be very complex, your lawyer could explain specific laws apply to your individual circumstances. Likewise, if you unknowingly violated the travel provisions or any other relevant immigration law, your lawyer would know what to do to remedy the situation.

Post-Divorce Arrangements: Making Sure That Your Ex-Spouse Supports Your Kids

Man and woman talking to their lawyer about divorce arrangementsAfter a divorce, you are likely to undergo all sorts of tests and challenges, some of which may even make you question your parenting abilities. These should not keep you from doing what is right for your children. What you need to do at this point is make sure that your ex-spouse will cooperate in raising your children, especially when it comes to supporting them financially.

Fortunately, there are some ways to make sure that your ex-spouse will help in raising your children by the means of their monetary support. Here are some of them, as approved by feldmanlee.com and other leading child support law firm in Marysville:

Come up with an arrangement

The best way to ensure that your ex-spouse will support your child is by having an agreement with them. You can specify other types of support, such as buying school supplies or funding your kids’ tuition fees. To make the agreement truly binding and legally effective, have the agreement drafted and signed by your lawyer. Both you and your ex-spouse should sign the agreement.

Seek legal help

If your ex-spouse is not living up to their promises and obligations, it is high time to bring the case to the legal table. You may want to seek the services of an experienced lawyer to take the case to the court.

Ask for proof of income

If you know that your spouse is earning decently, you should gather pieces of evidence that will prove it. You can get their remaining bank statements and other forms of proof of income. Presenting this evidence will ensure that your ex-spouse follows the court-ordered bear up of support.

Raising your kids on your own can be difficult. This is why you need your ex-spouse to cooperate. May the tips above help you secure your ex-spouse financial and emotional support for your children.

Become a More Organized and Productive Paralegal

Neat and organized lawyers officeYou know too well that your days as a paralegal are demanding and almost always hectic, making you feel that you don’t have enough hours in your day to get every single thing done. Although you can’t complain to your boss that you’ve had enough, you could definitely consider implementing these time-tested organization and time management tips and tricks to become a more productive paralegal.

Group your tasks

You probably know how confusing and time-consuming it is when you jump back and forth between tasks. This is because your brain requires several minutes for processing the next task, making you lose time and concentration during the transition. What you should do is figure out a specific time that would work to group your tasks by batch, suggests an instructor of online courses for paralegal training. For example, inform those you work with that you could only return and make calls twice daily, say at 9am and at 3pm. The Center For Legal Studies suggests that you ask your superiors for their consent.

Create a checklist of tasks in each file

You will need a master checklist that should indicate specific action items. Once you’ve completed a task, update the checklist in order that others working on the file could just scan it and determine completed tasks and those that require action. Otherwise, you’ll be constantly wasting precious time scanning a file to figure out what needs work.

Try to handle paperwork once

When looking through all your paperwork, including emails and standard mails, prepare yourself to deal with them as you review them—take action, delete it, or file it for later. You’re wasting tons of time, not to mention energy, if you don’t manage your time effectively and reading and reviewing papers again and again.

Limit your emails

Although you can’t really do much about clients and opposing counsel emailing you, you could however limit how much internal emails you receive and send out. Talk to your coworkers about asking questions or discussing things personally, via phone, or even message apps.

If you implement these practical tips in your daily life as a paralegal, you’ll find that your work life would be more manageable and less stressful. In turn, you would be more productive and efficient in your work and have spare time to attend to all your other tasks in and outside of work.

3 Things You Need to Know About Green Card by Marriage in the U.S.

A pair of green cards Are you applying for a U.S. green card by marriage in Provo? Here are some things you may or may not know about the process.

1. It’s the easiest ways to get a Green Card in the U.S.

While there are more ways on how to get a Green Card in the U.S., marrying a U.S. citizen is one of the easiest and fastest ways to get it. This is why many foreign nationals end up marrying U.S. citizens for their own immigrant goals. The rise in such doings has also resulted in more strict policies that discourage marriage by convenience. These strict policies involve penalties for those who are guilty of marriage fraud.

2. You must prepare for the Green Card interview.

Apart from ensuring you’re at the venue on time, you need to be prepared for the questions the USCIS officer will ask you during the Green Card by marriage interview. Try not to be chatty and only answer the questions the officer will ask you. Answer truthfully and politely and avoid offering information that is not relevant.

For instance, if you feel that more details should be provided, wait for the USCIS officer to ask the follow-up question before you answer. What’s important to remember is that the questions that will be asked during the Green Card by marriage interview are personal questions about you and your U.S. citizen spouse. So you really must prepare to when the questions come, you know them by heart.

3. You must have a complete set of documents.

Applying for a Green Card by marriage is a tedious process, one that requires a lot of paperwork to be submitted. During the interview, you will be asked to bring a list of requirements. Make sure you have both original and copies of the documents they need from you. After verification, the USCIS officer will return the original copies of the documents to you.

Be Prepared

Preparation is the key to acing your Green Card by marriage application. It is not an easy process, and it can take a long time, but with preparation, you don’t need to worry about anything. Remember these suggestions when you apply for your green card in Provo.

Burglar Breaking in an Apartment

The Different Classes of Theft Under the Utah Criminal Code

Burglar Breaking in an ApartmentAccording to the Utah Criminal Code, the crime of theft occurs when an individual unlawfully takes another individual’s property with the purpose of keeping it or not returning it to the rightful owner. The Utah Code also identifies particular theft offenses, such as:

  • Theft by extortion
  • Theft by deception
  • Theft of fuel from motor vehicles
  • Theft of erroneously delivered, mislaid, or lost property
  • Theft of services
  • Theft of rental vehicles
  • Theft by an individual who has custody of property due to a rental or repair agreement
  • Theft of cable TV or utility services
  • Theft by accepting stolen property

Theft Classification in Utah

Like other states, Utah categorizes theft offenses based on the value of the service or property involved. It also categorizes several types of theft based on the specific kind of property taken, irrespective of the value. All theft offenses come with jail or prison time and fines.

Legal professionals and misdemeanor lawyers in Provo explains the different classes of theft in Utah below to give you a better idea:

  • Theft of services or property with a value of not more than $500 is a Class B Misdemeanor.
  • Theft of services or property worth more than $500, but not exceeding $1,500 is a Class A Misdemeanor.
  • Theft of services or property with a value exceeding $1,500, but not more than $5,000 is a 3rd Degree Felony. A theft offense is likewise considered a 3rd Degree Felony if the alleged offender has been convicted twice of any form of attempted or actual theft, fraud, burglary, or robbery within the last 10 years.
  • Theft of services or property with a value that exceeds $5,000 is a 2nd Degree Felony. However, particular theft offenses could also be considered a 2nd Degree Felony, notwithstanding the stolen property’s value. This includes theft of a motor vehicle or firearm, as well as theft committed when the alleged offender was carrying a deadly weapon.

If you have been charged or arrested for theft, take note that the information mentioned above is according to the most basic Utah theft laws. This means that the manner in which judges and courts prosecute theft cases and impose penalties could significantly differ from court to court, judge to judge, and even from one county to another.

With all these, better be sure to consult legal help to determine how you could navigate your theft case.

Mentally Ill Inmates Fill Cells: How Should Correctionals Respond?

Person in JailThe United States has 25% of the world’s prison population, with more than 2 million individuals confined within local prisons and jails. According to the Urban Institute, among these prisoners, 56%, 45%, and 64% of state, federal, and jail inmates, respectively, have psychological disorders. A 2014 American Psychiatric Association report, moreover, revealed that the most common mental illness among prisoners include depression, bipolar disorder, and schizophrenia.

Correctionals Find Numbers Challenging

Mentally ill offenders continue to comprise a significant portion of the prison population nationwide, which poses challenges to correctional officers and prison administrators. As many of these inmates are unable to pay for bail or at least to turn to bail bonds until their case moves forward, they have no other choice but to remain incarcerated.

The problem, however, is that officers and administrators often lack formal education and training on how to care for, protect, and even interact with mentally ill inmates. Because of this, reports show that inmates with mental disorders tend to be in solitary confinement, experience physical and sexual assault, become self-destructive or worse, commit suicide.

How Can Authorities Deal with The Situation?

To deal with the situation, a report by the Treatment Advocacy Center Study recommended that the state take the following steps:

Reform laws – Introduce reformed guidelines that allow mentally-ill inmates to receive necessary and appropriate treatment.

Start at the community – Reform community-level mental illness treatments and practices that are outdated to help eliminate the factors that hinder individuals who are too ill to even recognize they need care from receiving treatment. This way, they can receive help before they become too ill that they commit acts that may result to their arrest.

Employ appropriate approach – Implement diversion programs such as mental health courts and maximize court-ordered outpatient treatments to help at-risk individuals receive the support they need to integrate themselves safely in the community.

The best solution is for the state to implement an efficient and effective mental health treatment system that will consequently reduce the number of mentally ill individuals who wind up in jails and prisons. Until reform happens, however, correctional institutions may continue to see an outpour of mentally ill individuals.