Everyone has the Right to a Good Defense to have the Charges against Them Reduced or Dropped Altogether

Before 1980, the limit of intoxication or blood alcohol content level (BAC) set by the government for car drivers was 0.10%. To intensify the drive against drunk-driving, however, which the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) then identified as one of the top causes of car accidents in the U.S., the BAC limit was lowered to 0.08%.

In some states, the crime that offenders can be charged with when caught driving with a BAC level below the 0.08 limit is driving under the influence (DUI); if caught with a BAC level above the set limit, however, then the charge becomes driving while intoxicated or driving while impaired (DWI); some states, though, make no differentiation between the two charges).

Whether one calls it driving under the influence or driving while intoxicated (DWI), or any other name, for that matter, only one thing holds true – that drunk-driving is a serious offense in all U.S. states.

The gravity of offense has also led to both nationwide and statewide campaigns and programs which, in turn, have spurred law enforcement authorities to aggressively pursue and prosecute anyone committing any type of alcohol-related offenses.

In certain occasions, however, this aggressiveness has resulted to wrongful arrests, mishandled cases, and a variety of other problems and mistakes that have greatly affected those accused, jeopardizing their rights and freedom.

Both federal and state authorities have never failed in pointing out the dangers of drunk driving: how this reckless road behavior places in great risk of serious accident the drunk driver himself/herself, but, more so, other motorists and pedestrians who share the road with him/her.

Being a serious traffic law violation, those convicted of the crime are, therefore, punished heavily thru costly fines, a jail term, suspension of driving privileges, compulsory participation in an alcohol and drug education class (or DUI School) and community service; it is also possible that he/she may be required to carry an SR-22 certification, which means higher auto liability insurance premium, and to have an interlock ignition device installed in his/her vehicle.

According to the South Carolina, in South Carolina, penalties for a DUI/DWI would depend on the severity of offense and the number of times a driver has committed a DUI in the past 10 years. If a person drinks and drives, he will face both criminal penalties in court and administrative penalties with the South Carolina DMV.

It is also important to remember that South Carolina has an “Implied Consent” law. This law basically states that if a person drives in the state of South Carolina he/she agrees to take a chemical test if asked to do so by a law enforcement official. Due to this law, refusing a chemical test can get him/her just as many, if not more, penalties from both civil and criminal court agencies.

The painful effects of a criminal conviction do not end during or after the punishments, though; rather, these go beyond the courtroom and prison walls, and these will follow the convicted individual and affect everything else about his/her person, including career, personal life, community relationship, rights and privileges (such as right to international travel, acquisition of professional licenses) for many years.

These unjust effects of a criminal conviction make a very strong defense in behalf of the accused an absolute necessity. Contrary to the thought of many that drunk-driving cases are impossible to win, the law firm Truslow & Truslow explains that everyone has the right to a good defense to have the charges against them reduced or dropped altogether. Whether the charge against you is your first offense or you have already been charged with DUI in the past, it is imperative that your charge is resolved favorably, efficiently, and effectively to protect your livelihood.


Who may be Entitled to Receive Spousal Support

Who may be Entitled to Receive Spousal Support

Alimony or spousal support is one spouse’s lawful obligation to give monetary support to his/her former partner after separation or divorce. Formerly, spousal support consisted in the husband paying his former spouse. Modern day practice, though, has given way to gender parity, so that the support is now supposed to be provided by whoever has financial strength and stability.

Rules regarding this important divorce-related issue and the factors that help determine how much support is supposed to be given and who ought to receive it vary from state to state. There are types of alimony, namely:

  • Temporary Alimony or Alimony Pendente Lite: this type of alimony, which is usually paid even while the divorce case is still pending, is awarded to one spouse but only the spouses are already living separately;
  • Rehabilitative Alimony: this type of alimony serves as a re-education or re-training support that will help one spouse find a good-paying job so as to become self-sufficient;
  • Permanent Alimony: this court-ordered regular payment (usually monthly) is to enable the recipient spouse to continue to enjoy the standard of living that he/she enjoyed before the divorce. This ends, however, when the recipient spouse remarries or dies, or if the court modifies its order; and,
  • Lump Sum: if the spouse who is supposed to provide spousal support has been deemed as totally irresponsible in ensuring the monthly payment to his/her former partner, then the court may order this single lump sum alimony payment instead.

On the factors affecting decisions on alimony cases, a number of a court’s consideration include: duration of marriage; age of the spouses when the divorce began; income of the spouses and their financial prospects in the future; health of the divorcing parties; and, fault in the marital breakdown.

More than 10 years of civil union or marriage usually merits permanent alimony. Young spouses also tend to get short-term support which will allow them get on with their lives. In states that use marital fault, like extra marital affair, the guilty party’s right to an alimony (if he/she is the one supposed to receive financial support) is automatically removed.

Failure to pay spousal support can merit the contempt of court. The punishment accompanying this failure can include fines, imprisonment, wage garnishment, liens on property and seizure of earnings, such as earnings from tax refund.

In the website of the law firm Higdon, Hardy & Zuflacht, the following is said about spousal support:

One of the most important concerns following a divorce is how to avoid lessening either party’s quality of life. Spousal support is an important aspect of ensuring each spouse can continue living as they choose. Often, when a married couple separates, the party earning a higher income must pay support to the other party, either temporarily or permanently.

Courts consider several different factors when making decisions regarding spousal support. For that reason, it is critical to have a competent team of attorneys on your side representing you in these matters.

A court can order one spouse to pay spousal support to another if the spouse seeking support is unable to adequately provide for himself or herself and if one of the following applies:

  • One spouse is found guilty of committing domestic violence against the other or their child;
  • One spouse is unable to financially support themselves due to a physical or mental disability;
  • The marriage lasted ten years or longer and the spouse seeking support is unable to earn enough to provide for their basic needs; and,
  • The spouse seeking support has custody of a child from the marriage who requires special care due to a physical or mental disability.

Unless the court finds a history of domestic violence, it will begin with a presumption against an order for spousal maintenance, which means the court will assume spousal support is not necessary until proven otherwise. The spouse seeking support must be able to prove that he or she has put in sincere effort to find a job and otherwise be able to care for his or her needs before seeking support.

If the court does find that spousal support is appropriate, the next step is to determine the amount of support that is necessary. The judge will consider the contribution each spouse made to the other, including financial resources; education level; employment skills; acts of adultery; and payments to the other’s education or employment. The amount of spousal support will vary greatly depending on these factors, but a monthly payment cannot exceed $5,000 or 20% of the paying spouse’s average monthly income, whichever is the lesser amount.

How long the marriage lasted determines the duration of the support. However, if circumstances such as a disability exist, the spouse paying support could be required to pay that support for as long as the condition exists.

Common Surgical Errors: Understanding Medical Malpractice

Every medical professional should be aware of the huge responsibility they bare. Considering that they are responsible for the lives and well-being of millions of individuals they encounter through their days working in the field, it should be clear that the stakes are too high for any hapless mistake to occur. However, such expectations aren’t always met. It’s a given that medical professionals are also susceptible to human error. What’s unacceptable is if these errors result from negligence.

The personal injury lawyers at Russo, Russo & Slania, P.C. note that medical malpractice can result from minor mistakes to the most
catastrophic errors. To be recognized as a medical malpractice case, a mistake committed by a doctor, nurse, or other health care professional should have been born out of negligent and reckless behavior.

In surgery, this translates to outcomes that are outside the established risks associated with the procedure performed on the patient. A common surgical error that falls within this parameter includes doctors who don’t perform proper pre-operative planning and skips on familiarizing themselves on their patient’s medical history. It’s important that doctors are familiar with a patient’s entire medical history in order to avoid any treatment plans and procedures that may not work well with their current condition. Being neglectful during post-operative care is another surgical error that leads to serious consequences for the patients. Medical staff that doesn’t keep a close eye on patients in post-op care could miss signs of complications that need to be addressed immediately. Another common mistake that negligent surgeons make is accidentally leaving surgical materials inside a patient’s body cavity.

These common surgical errors can lead to outcomes that have serious consequences on patients. Surgical errors such as those mentioned above can lead to complications such infections, internal bleeding, stroke, paralysis, and even brain injury.

Capsizing and Alcohol Impairment: Two Major Reasons behind Boating Accidents

Capsizing and Alcohol Impairment: Two Major Reasons behind Boating Accidents

Boating seems to be one recreational activity where risk is minor – with all the waters surrounding the vessel, what harm could befall anyone if he/she falls overboard? On the contrary, like any other motor vehicle, if a boat operator fails to observe safety procedures, then he/she and all other boat passengers will likely find themselves victims of a serious accident.

The U.S. Coast Guard’s record for all reported boating accidents in the U.S. shows 651 fatalities and 3,000 injuries under recreational boating for the year 2012. Though these figures have been the lowest since 2004, these can still be significantly reduced since majority of these accidents are due to acts of carelessness or recklessness by the boat operator and/or passengers.

According to the U.S. Coast Guard, the top causes of boating accidents are excessive speed, machinery failure, improper lookout, operator’s lack of experience, man overboard and capsizing; in all the accidents due to these causes, as well as those accidents due to other causes, the ones at fault were usually drunk boat operators or drunk boat passengers.

Capsizing is this leading cause of fatality in boating accidents. This usually occurs during nightfall, when both intoxication and the darkness begin to cause the operator make poor judgments, especially while anchoring, maneuvering, or docking.

The major factor behind many accidents, however, is alcohol impairment. Alcohol impairment, according to the the Boating Safety Resource Center, the U.S. Coast Guard’s Boating Safety Division’s official website, is the reason behind 1/3 of all recreational boating accidents.

Drinking liquor or alcohol while on sea can affect a boat operator’s balance, coordination, vision and judgment much faster than when these are consumed on land. This is due to the overall marine environment, where the boat’s operator and passengers experience the sun, wind, sea water mist or spray, engine noise, vibration and motion. Thus, due to alcohol, capsizing boats and drunken passengers falling overboard have been common cause-of-death reports.

Boating accidents, according to the law firm Schuler, Halvorson, Weisser, Zoeller & Overbeck, P.A., are often due to acts of negligence or carelessness. Due to this, the liable party, including the boat owner and operator face great responsibility is making sure that victims of their negligence are paid the compensation that they legally deserve.

A Discussion On Nursing Homes

Outside the hospital, a nursing home is the facility where a patient can receive the most extensive care. A nursing home, also known under the names Skilled Nursing Facility, Nursing Center, Convalescent Care and Long Term Care Facility, offers residents (who may be suffering from an illness, recovering from an accident, or senior citizens, at least 55 years old) skilled and custodial care (such as eating, bathing, toileting and dressing). Skilled nursing care, which includes medical treatment and monitoring, is provided by a registered nurse.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 15,700 various nursing homes all around the US provided services to approximately 1.4 million residents (this statistical information was made available last February 2015).

Nursing homes are primarily designed for the elderly who need a high level of medical care and assistance. Due to this, care for residents is entrusted to skilled nurses and trained staff members. Because of the uniqueness in patients’ medical needs, some nursing home facilities now also have units for patients suffering from Alzheimer’s as well as facilities for those needing short-term rehabilitative care (such as those recovering from an illness, a surgery or an injury).

Despite the necessity of housing their senior loved one in a nursing home, many families find this type of long term care facility financially burdensome, considering the cost of a semi-private room, which is at $222 per day, while the cost of a private room is up to $248 per day. While a long term care insurance policy would be a big help to augment family savings, families may have another source for financial benefits, namely Medicare.

According to, a senior adult requiring stay in a nursing home facility for 100 days or less may qualify for Medicare benefits, but only if he or she:

  • is 65 years old or is suffering from renal failure;
  • is currently receiving Medicare Part A benefits, which is Hospital insurance;
  • has undergone hospital confinement for at least three within the past 30 days;
  • has been determined (by a physician) to be in need of rehabilitation or skilled care in a facility that is Medicare-certified.

Those who qualify for Medicare benefits will be covered 100% for the first 20 days of stay in a nursing home; for the succeeding days, however, the patient will have to shoulder a part of cost incurred in the facility (patient may pay using his or her own money or avail of long-term care insurance benefits if he or she has a policy.

According to USA Today, quality reporting measures for nursing homes will be instituted in 2016, giving consumers a better picture of the care a specific nursing home provides to its patients.

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