Choosing to create a trust can help your loved ones avoid probate, taxes, and keep your finances private after your death [1].  A trust can help you control the inheritance you’re giving by distributing by your assets over time to your beneficiaries or when they reach a certain age [1].

When creating a trust, it’s important to note there are different types, such as an irrevocable trust.

What Is An Irrevocable Trust?

An irrevocable trust is a trust that can not be terminated once it has been created and goes into effect after the person who created it dies [2]. This makes them different than revocable trusts, which can be terminated until the person who created the trust dies [2]. You can also create a living irrevocable trust, which goes into effect before the creator dies, eliminating the creator’s ownership of any property or assets now in the trust [2]. The main benefit of an irrevocable trust is tax benefits.

In Washington State, Can An Irrevocable Trust Be Changed?

There are some exceptions to changing an irrevocable trust, but it can be challenging depending on the terms of the trust when it was created. In some cases, changes can be made if all the beneficiaries of the trust are in agreement, the change is in the best interest of the beneficiaries, or another legal exception applies [3].

What Are The Types Of Irrevocable Trusts Available In Washington State?

Irrevocable trusts can be created in a variety of ways to protect your property and help bypass taxes for your beneficiaries [2]. Some of the most common types of irrevocable trusts are:

  • Bypass Trusts: This trust exists for spouses. When the first spouses passes away, the majority of the estate will go into the bypass trust. Then, the living spouse can use the trust property, but when the second spouse dies the property is not included in his or her estate [2].
  •  QTIP Trust: This helps a married couple delay paying taxes until the second spouse dies [2].
  • Charitable Trusts: These types of trusts allow you to reduce income and taxes on your estate by leaving a large amount to a charitable organization [2].
  • Generation-Skipping Trusts: These trusts leave the majority of an estate to the deceased’s grandchildren. In this scenario, the grandchild is a beneficiary of the trust, but never owns the property, which shields it from tax when the child eventually dies [2].
  • Life Insurance Trusts: This helps shield the income from a life insurance policy from tax [2].
  • Special Needs Trusts: This type of trust allows money to be used to help support someone with special needs without disqualifying them for government benefits [2].

In Washington State, Can I Create My Own Irrevocable Trust?

To create the best irrevocable trust, it’s a good idea to hire a seasoned attorney, as more irrevocable trusts require a lawyer to draft them. The team at Priest Family Law can help you understand how an irrevocable trust works and create a trust that is right for you and your specific situation.

[1] Simmons Hannibal, Betsy. “Why Make A Trust.” Lawyers.com. https://www.lawyers.com/legal-info/trusts-estates/trust-planning/what-is-the-purpose-of-a-trust.html

[2] Simmons Hannibal, Betsy. “Irrevocable Living Trusts.” Nolo. https://www.nolo.com/legal-encyclopedia/irrevocable-living-trusts.html

[3] Simmons Hannibal, Betsy. “Modifying Or Terminating A Trust.” Lawyers.com. https://www.lawyers.com/legal-info/trusts-estates/modifying-or-terminating-a-trust.html

coronavirus-COVID-Business-Response-2

VanWa Legal’s Update To Coronavirus

Updated March 16th, 2020

Dear Customers, Visitors, Family & Friends

In order to help battle the spread of the Coronavirus, our office is changing all face to face client meetings to phone calls and/or virtual meetings.

  • We will update this policy as more information is made available.
  • Our office is still open during this time, we are still working on our existing client matters and available for new client matters, we are merely trying to avoid face to face interaction as much as possible to be in compliance with recommendations from the CDC.
  • Thank you for your understanding. Please call, text, or email us with any questions or concerns.

When it comes to our physical offices, though we are taking extreme precautions to mitigate any risks of the pandemic caused by COVID-19 for our customers and staff, we have still received many questions and wished to proactively address how we are responding:

  • As of this writing, we are still open for business but we are moving all in-person consultations and meetings to Skype or phone calls as noted above.
  • When it comes to our offices, we have implemented the CDC guidelines of ‘social distancing’ and zero-touch in-person meetings.
  • Business personnel have been busy with extra cleanings of the office and other high-touch areas.
  • We will immediately implement any new CDC guidelines as this pandemic unfolds.

There are simple things the CDC recommends you do to help keep yourself and others healthy if requested to visit our location for any reason:

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing; going to the bathroom; and before eating or preparing food.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Stay home when you are sick.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.

We will continue to monitor the evolving COVID-19 situation and make every attempt to keep you informed. Emergency notifications to staff and patients will be conducted through our emergency communication channels including text notifications, telephone calls, and communicated directly to customers.

For updated information on this rapidly changing situation, please visit the CDC website here: http://bit.ly/39TQIyg

VanWa Legal

If you’re being abused, harassed, stalked or going through a divorce, you may be considering filing a restraining order.

If you feel that you’re in danger, a restraining order, which can also be known as a protection order, can be issued quickly in Washington State with the help of an attorney.

What Does A Restraining Order Encompass In Washington State?

Restraining orders are filed in domestic abuse cases or family law cases, such as divorce cases or paternity cases [1]. Restraining orders are broader than a Domestic Violence Order Of Protection and in addition to domestic violence, restraining orders can deal with property issues, child custody, and spousal support. For example, if during a divorce one spouse is concerned the other may dispose of assets, a restraining order can help prevent this.

Are There Different Types Of Restraining Orders In Washington State?

Depending on your situation, there are specific types of protection or restraining orders you may seek.

  • Domestic Violence Order For Protection: This order commands the respondent to not threaten or harm you and forbids them from entering your residence. It can also give one parent temporary custody of a child or use of a vehicle, among other things [2]
  • Restraining Order: A Restraining Order is broader than the Domestic Violence Order and can encompass property issues and spousal support, as well as domestic violence.
  • No-Contact Order: A No-Contact Order is a criminal action and doesn’t require an application to be filled out. This order is usually temporary during a criminal trial to prevent the defendant from contacting you [3].
  • Civil Antiharrassment Order: This order is used mostly when the two parties are not married nor related to each other. This order can be used in disputes or stalking cases and is best for victims who have not been assaulted nor threatened with physical harm [4].

How Do You Get A Restraining Order In Washington State?

Your best first step in obtaining a restraining order is enlisting outside help through a trusted family law practice like Priest Family Law. Then, one of our lawyers can help you get a temporary restraining order. This can be done quickly with an application, which can be found online. Your attorney can help you fill out and file it at the courthouse. Next, the county clerk will decide if a temporary restraining order will be issued. This would happen that same day and without a court hearing. The defendant does not need to be present for a temporary restraining order to be issued [5].

Next, the defendant will be given notice and a court hearing will be scheduled, usually, for a few days later. During this hearing, your lawyer will present evidence supporting your request for a permanent restraining order like abuse or harassment. Then, the judge will decide to make the restraining order permanent or not.

What Should I Do Next If I Want To File A Restraining Order In Washington State?

If you live in Washington State and need a restraining order, reach out to the attorneys at Priest Family Law. Our team can advise you on the best order of protection for your situation. We have experience filing restraining orders quickly and winning long-term protection for our clients.

 

[1] “Types Of Protection Orders Available.” Washington Courts. https://www.courts.wa.gov/dv/?fa=dv_order.ordtypes

[2] “Types Of Protection Orders Available.” Washington Courts. https://www.courts.wa.gov/dv/?fa=dv_order.ordtypes

[3] “Types Of Protection Orders Available.” Washington Courts. https://www.courts.wa.gov/dv/?fa=dv_order.ordtypes

[4] “Types Of Protection Orders Available.” Washington Courts. https://www.courts.wa.gov/dv/?fa=dv_order.ordtypes

[5] Portman, Janet. “How To Get A Restraining Order.” Lawyers.com. https://www.lawyers.com/legal-info/criminal/criminal-law-basics/how-to-get-a-restraining-order.html

In domestic violence cases, false imprisonment is when the alleged abuser physically detains their victim either by using physical force or threatening violence against them if they left their home or current location.

The legal definition of false imprisonment is the unlawful restraint of another unwilling person without legal justification [1]. False imprisonment is a felony charge and is considered an intentional tort, which means it is a wrongful act committed with the intent to harm someone else.

What Is Considered False Imprisonment In Washington State?

In domestic violence cases, defendants can be charged with false imprisonment if they prevent their victims from leaving their current location or the victim’s freedom of movement is restricted. In Washington State, domestic violence is defined between two household members or two intimate partners, so this false imprisonment may happen in the victim’s own home and would be committed by a loved one or family member [2].

During the case, a state prosecutor will need to prove that the defendant stopped the victim from leaving their location. They’ll have to prove this was against their will and that the defendant achieved this imprisonment through either coercion, threats, violence or restraints [3].

It’s important to note that physical force or physical restraints, like handcuffs or rope, is not necessary to prove a false imprisonment charge. If the defendant made a threat of violence it can be seen as a legitimate reason for the victim to not be able to leave because they feared for their safety or someone else’s if they left.

During the trial, a prosecutor will also need to prove that a reasonable person would believe they could not leave and were being held against their will [4].

How Is False Imprisonment Different From Kidnapping In Washington State?

False imprisonment differs from a kidnapping charge, but can later evolve into kidnapping. False imprisonment becomes kidnapping when the aggressor moves the victim some distance from the original place they were imprisoned, or a significant amount of time has passed [5]. It’s possible for a defendant to be charged with both false imprisonment and kidnapping. Kidnapping is considered a more serious offense and depending on the circumstances ranks as a Class A or Class B felony.

What Is the Penalty For Being Convicted Of False Imprisonment In Washington State?

False Imprisonment is a Class C Felony in Washington State, therefore it is a very serious charge [6]. Defendants who are convicted as an adult face a fine up to $10,000 paired with potential jail time based on the severity of the case. Felonies can carry a sentence of life in prison.

What Should I Do If I’m Involved In A False Imprisonment Case?

If you’re involved in a false imprisonment case, you’ll want to be prepared with evidence to help you win your case. Start by quickly booking an appointment with a trusted attorney at Priest Family Law.

Our team has experience navigating the nuances of false imprisonment charges. We know that a false imprisonment charge is often just one of many charges in a domestic violence case. We understand domestic violence cases are deeply personal and can help you navigate your best next steps to succeed in the courtroom.

Sources:

[1] “What Is False Imprisonment?” Nolo.com. https://www.nolo.com/legal-encyclopedia/what-false-imprisonment.html

[2] “Domestic Violence/Domestic Abuse Definitions And Relationships.” National Conference Of State Legislators. https://www.ncsl.org/research/human-services/domestic-violence-domestic-abuse-definitions-and-relationships.aspx

[3] Rooth, Jay. “Understanding Domestic Abuse Charges: False Imprisonment.” Lawyers.com, 7, Feb. 2018. https://blogs.lawyers.com/attorney/domestic-violence/partner-4-45446/

[4] “What Is False Imprisonment?” Nolo.com. https://www.nolo.com/legal-encyclopedia/what-false-imprisonment.html

[5] “What Is False Imprisonment?” Nolo.com. https://www.nolo.com/legal-encyclopedia/what-false-imprisonment.html

[6] “RCW 9A.40.040.” Washington State Legislature. https://app.leg.wa.gov/RCW/default.aspx?cite=9A.40.040

Creating a proper estate plan will help ensure your wishes about end of life care and your funeral, as well as, how your property and assets are distributed after death. The best way to ensure your estate plan will be executed smoothly is to hire an estate planning attorney.

Asking your lawyer a few questions will help you pick the best estate planning attorney for you and will help understand your options and determine the best path forward for you.

How Long Have You Been A Practicing Attorney In Washington State?

When creating your estate plan, you want an attorney that has experience creating other estate plans. But you also want someone who is familiar with technology and digital assets, as a lot of millennial clients want to name a digital executor to their online files and digital life [1]. At Priest Family Law, our attorney partner has been practicing for 12 years and has experience working with estate plans in Washington, as well as vast trial experience.

How Long Does The Estate Planning Process Take?

This answer will vary based on how complicated your wishes and estate are. You may also wish to advise other professionals in your estate plan, such as your accountant. However, if you are sick, or perhaps you’re helping an aging parent create an estate plan, you’ll want to know if this will take months or weeks with each attorney you speak to.

How Do You Charge For Estate Plans?

Some estate planning attorneys charge by the hour and others may charge a flat fee for estate planning. Wills also tend to cost less than creating a living trust [2].

What If I Want To Leave Someone Out Of My Will In Washington State?

Many states have laws to protect people from disinheriting a spouse and children [3]. If you want to disinherit a child it’s important to explicitly say so in the will and can also be helpful to write a letter of intention why they are being disinherited. This can help prevent your wishes from being challenged in court.

How Do I Avoid High Estate Taxes In Washington State?

While federal estate tax is now only applied to estates valued at more than $11.58 million, Washington State also implements an estate tax [4]. Washington State imposes this tax on estates valued at more than $2.193 million [5]. You may think you’re below the $2 million mark, but it’s important to keep in mind that any homes, property, cars, bank accounts, retirement accounts, and life insurance are all added up to create an estate’s value [5]. Your executor is also required to file a tax return for your estate within nine months of your death. Your attorney can help you better understand this.

Why Should I Choose Priest Family Law?

At Priest Family Law, we understand that creating an estate plan can be challenging emotionally to think about your death or if family ties are complicated. We have vast experience helping clients navigate this process and creating strong estate plans. We’ll help you execute your wishes and give you peace of mind.

[1] Keane, Valerie. “Estate Planning For Millennials.” Nolo. https://www.nolo.com/legal-encyclopedia/estate-planning-for-millennials.html

[2] Simmons Hannibal, Betsy. “What Is Estate Planning?” Nolo. https://www.nolo.com/legal-encyclopedia/what-is-estate-planning.html

[3] Simmons Hannibal, Betsy. “Leaving Someone Out Of Your Will.” Lawyers.com. https://www.lawyers.com/legal-info/trusts-estates/wills-probate/leaving-someone-out-of-your-will.html

[4] “State Estate Taxes.” Nolo. https://www.nolo.com/legal-encyclopedia/state-estate-taxes.html

[5] Randolph, Mary. “Washington Estate Tax.” Nolo. https://www.nolo.com/legal-encyclopedia/washington-estate-tax.html

When a victim is assaulted, the crime can become a domestic violence charge depending on who the victim’s attacker was. If the relationship between the attacker and the victim is romantic, household members or they’re related by blood, the charge would be classified as domestic violence.

What Is Considered Domestic Violence In Washington State?

In Washington State, domestic violence occurs between two people who share a household relationship, such as dating or blood-family relationships. Domestic violence usually involves a victim suffering physical injury from pushing, slapping or hitting, though sometimes it can involve the greater charges of murder or rape [1].

Domestic violence charges differ from assault charges because the relationship between the attacker and victim is known. This means the attacker may have abused the victim’s trust and confidence to commit the crime. In domestic violence crimes, the victims also often get special protections from their attacker after the case is settled.

What Is The Relationship Between The Attacker And Victim To Be Considered Domestic Violence in Washington State?

In Washington State, domestic violence happens between two people that are [2]:

  • Intimate partners, such as spouses or domestic partners.
  • Former spouses or former domestic partners.
  • Two people who share a child, regardless of marital status or if they’ve ever lived together.
  • Two adult people who currently or previously lived together and are currently or previously dated.
  • Two people who are at least 16 years old and currently live together, or lived together in the past, and have dated.
  • Two people, both over the age of 16 years old who have dated.
  • Adults related by blood.
  • People with a biological or legal parent relationship, such as step-parents or grandparents.

What Is The Punishment For Domestic Violence In Washington State?

If a police officer in Washington State is called to a scene for a domestic violence incident and that officer has a reasonable belief or probable cause that a crime was committed they must arrest the alleged attacker [3]. The officer can arrest the alleged attacker without a warrant if they believe the attacker has hurt someone in their household in the last four hours or the person in question has violated a domestic violence protective order [3].

If the alleged attacker is convicted of domestic violence, how much time in jail they will serve is based on the class of charge, such as a misdemeanor, gross misdemeanor or felony. In Washington State, domestic violence misdemeanors carry a $1,000 fine and up to 90 days in prison. Gross misdemeanors can be punished by up to a year in jail and a $5,000 fine. Domestic violence felonies can carry a sentence of more than a year in prison [4]. After the attacker has been convicted they may also have a domestic violence protection order or restraining order against them preventing them from contacting their victim.

What Should I Do If I’m Involved In A Domestic Violence Case In Washington State?

If you have been charged with domestic violence or you’re the victim of domestic violence, reach out to the trusted team at Priest Criminal Defense. Our team has experience working with families involved with domestic violence in Washington State. We can help you build your best case and work to achieve a speedy resolution.

[1] Berman, Sara J. “Domestic Violence And Domestic Abuse.” Nolo. https://www.nolo.com/legal-encyclopedia/domestic-violence-33813.html
[2] “RCW 26.50.010.” Washington State Legislature. https://apps.leg.wa.gov/rcw/default.aspx?Cite=26.50.010
[3] Mince-Dider, Ave. “Washington Domestic Violence Laws.” Nolo. https://www.criminaldefenselawyer.com/resources/criminal-defense/domestic-violence/domestic-violence-washington-state-penalties-d
[4] “Washington Domestic Violence Laws.” FindLaw.com. https://statelaws.findlaw.com/washington-law/washington-domestic-violence-laws.html

Washington is a beautiful state to live in, especially in the town of Vancouver and Travis County. However, if you aren’t familiar with the local DUI laws, you can wind up in a lot of trouble. Here you will learn what can happen if you refuse to take a breathalyzer test.

The Scenario: Refusing A Breathalyzer Road Test

Imagine driving home after having a few drinks with your friends after work, you’re almost to your road when red and blue lights flash in the background and hear the dreaded wail of the siren.

You do the right thing and pull over. The officer asks if you’ve been drinking and you reply that you haven’t, but he doesn’t believe you. Next, the officer asks you to take a DUI breath test, you refuse. Now what?

Consequences of Refusing a Breathalyzer Test in Washington State

Due to some hardline Washington legislation known as, implied consent, your bout of rebellion could get you in trouble. Implied consent assumes that every licensed driver in the state of Washington has an obligation to take a breathalyzer test when asked by an officer.

The only caveat here is that for implied consent to apply, you must have been lawfully arrested for a DUI. If the officer violated any protocol that could make it an unlawful arrest, you’ll have more opportunity for recourse.

You can face the following consequences when refusing to take a DUI breath test:

  • Criminal Charges
  • License Restrictions and Suspension
  • Your Refusal Will Be Used Against You in Court

Criminal charges and steeper penalties can be imposed if you are convicted of a DUI after refusing to take the test. The arresting officer typically informs the Department of Licensing in regards to your refusal. Your license will subsequently be suspended for a period between 2-4 years depending on the presence of prior DUI convictions.

Your Options When Your Refuse the Breathalyzer in Washington State

If you’ve already refused to take a breathalyzer test, you should consult with a DUI defense attorney at your earliest convenience. Preparing your DUI criminal defense should be a top priority, especially if you have any previous DUI convictions.

In addition to unlawful arrest, another factor that could help lighten the penalties is if the officer did not tell you about the consequences of refusing the breathalyzer test. If that’s the case, then a competent DUI defense attorney can use the officer’s negligence to your advantage in court. Little details like that can make a big difference, which is why you should tell your attorney everything. No detail is too small when preparing a DUI criminal defense.

You should know that the DUI laws in the state of Washington are completely different from those of other states like Massachusetts. For example, in Massachusetts, if you refuse to take the breathalyzer test it will not be counted as an admission of guilt and your refusal can’t be used as evidence in court.

It pays to know the law, but as a citizen, you can’t be expected to know every detail, that’s why it’s imperative that you get yourself some knowledgeable representation. Remember, having a capable DUI defense attorney is key to protecting yourself and ensuring that your rights are respected.

Do you or a loved one need guidance navigating the complex DUI and criminal justice system in Vancouver WA? Give our DUI defense attorney Roger Priest a call today to discuss your unique legal situation, the help you need is just a phone call away.

References

“Is Refusing A Breathalyzer An Admission Of Guilt? | Attorney At Law Magazine.” Attorney at Law Magazine. N.p., 2019. Web. 12 Dec. 2019.

“Washington’S Implied Consent Laws And Refusing A DUI Alcohol Test.” dui.drivinglaws.org. N.p., 2019. Web. 12 Dec. 2019.

 

 

 

 

Losing a parent comes with a mix of emotions ranging from sadness, nostalgia and perhaps confusion about what the next steps should be in settling their estate. If both of your parents have now died, their child is likely their next of kin and therefore inherits their estate.

First, request multiple copies of your parent’s death certificate from the funeral home, this will help you settle their estate. What you need to do next depends on if your parents have a will. Your first step is to find the will. Ideally, your parents discussed their estate planning with you before passing away. If that’s not the case, start by attempting to contact your parent’s attorney or estate lawyer. If that proves fruitless, search your parents’ office, home safe, a safety deposit box. 

If you’re still struggling to find the will, go to probate court to search real estate transfer-on-death certificates and see if they designated there who should inherit their property. [1]

What To Do If Your Parents Have A Will In Washington State

If your parents created a will this makes your job as executor easier. As their will clearly expresses your parents’ wishes of what should be done with their property and assets, now you need to execute those wishes. [2] While you can do a lot of the work yourself, you’ll likely still need the help of an estate lawyer to streamline the process. [3]

Now that you’ve found the will, your first role as executor will be to determine if the settling of the estate needs to go through probate, which is the official court process of settling an estate. [4] Usually, “small” estates or estates that have clear transfers of property through trusts, beneficiary designations will not have to go through probate. 

As executor, you’ll need to settle your parents’ estate obligations and pay any debts and bills. Next, your role is to distribute your parents’ property, which can be done when probate is over. [5] However, if there is not enough money to pay the debts, the executor must sell the property to

settle those debts. Once the bills are paid, the property and assets are distributed and probate is over, the executor has completed his or her job. 

What To Do If Your Parents Do Not Have A Will In Washington State

Each state has a set of laws that determines who inherits property if the deceased person did not have a plan in place prior to dying. [6] Without a living spouse, biological children and legally adopted children are the likely beneficiaries. It’s important to note that stepchildren are not seen as children under the eyes of the law unless they too have been legally adopted. [7]

Without a will, the court will use intestate succession to distribute property. [8] In both Texas and Washington State law, when the deceased person’s spouse is also deceased, the children inherit everything.[9] [10] 

Settling Your Parents’ Estate In Washington State

Keep in mind that settling an estate can take a couple of months to even a couple of years depending on its complexity. Enlisting the help of an estate lawyer, who can help shepherd you through the process can help speed it up and ensure it’s completed correctly.

If you or a loved one recently lost your parents and need some guidance navigating settling an estate, probate or will in Washington State, call our wills and estate attorney Roger Priest. He can help guide you through your unique legal situation.

Sources:

  1. Nolo. “Transfer-on-death deeds for Real Estate.” https://www.nolo.com/legal-encyclopedia/transfer-death-deeds-real-estate
  2.  Simmons Hannibal, Betsy. Lawyers.com. “Will & Probate FAQ” https://www.lawyers.com/legal-info/trusts-estates/wills-probate/wills-and-probate-faq.html
  3.  Simmons Hannibal, Betsy. Lawyers.com. “Duties of an Executor.” https://www.lawyers.com/legal-info/trusts-estates/wills-probate/the-duties-of-an-executor.html
  4.  Simmons Hannibal, Betsy. Lawyers.com. “Duties of an Executor.” https://www.lawyers.com/legal-info/trusts-estates/wills-probate/the-duties-of-an-executor.html
  5.  Simmons Hannibal, Betsy. Lawyers.com. “Duties of an Executor.” https://www.lawyers.com/legal-info/trusts-estates/wills-probate/the-duties-of-an-executor.html
  6.  Simmons Hannibal, Betsy. Lawyers.com. “What Happens If You Don’t Have A Will?” https://www.lawyers.com/legal-info/trusts-estates/wills-probate/what-happens-when-you-dont-have-a-will.html
  7.  Simmons, Hannibal, Betsy. Lawyers.com. “Beneficiaries in a Will.” https://www.lawyers.com/legal-info/trusts-estates/wills-probate/beneficiaries-in-a-will.html
  8.  Nolo. “Intestate Succession” https://www.nolo.com/legal-encyclopedia/intestate-succession
  9.  Nolo. “Intestate Succession in Texas.” https://www.nolo.com/legal-encyclopedia/intestate-succession-texas.html
  10.  Nolo. “Intestate Succession in Washington.”https://www.nolo.com/legal-encyclopedia/intestate-succession-washington.html

Domestic Violence in vancouver waVictims of domestic violence have been subjected to harrowing events over extended periods of time. The most important way to help break the cycle of violence is by building multi-layer support structures to allow those effected to begin a new, better phase in their lives. Hiring an experienced attorney is an important part of your support team.

Domestic Violence and the Law

Although domestic violence is almost universally covered in state and federal law, it is extremely complex and working within the system almost without exceptions, brings out the worst in the people involved. There are many issues regarding the proper timing and maintenance of court orders so that you and your loved ones are protected to the fullest extent possible. Having experienced professionals helping you keep track of your legal obligations can help you better utilize your other support resources throughout your journey.

Role Your Attorney Plays in Protecting You from Domestic Violence

Although it is possible for you to get an emergency court order to protect you from the your current situation, there are several legal instruments and procedures that an attorney can assist greatly with that you probably can’t do yourself. Even if it is possible to do some things yourself, it is important for you to realize that you almost certainly won’t be able to do everything you need to without help. Part of getting better is knowing when you need help and having the courage to ask for it. Things your attorney can do include:

  1. File a protection or no-contact order
  2. Get a divorce
  3. File a lawsuit against the violent party
  4. Help with custody proceedings
  5. The Importance of Emotional and Health Support

Domestic violence leaves both physical and emotional pain that will eventually need to be addressed to build your new life. Working with qualified health professionals such as licensed therapists who offer both group and individual therapy sessions is absolutely critical for dealing with the mental and emotional fallout from the trauma you have suffered. And, unfortunately, working with health professionals to repair the physical injuries is often necessary. Without adequate support here, legal support, no matter how comprehensive, likely won’t be enough to maximize the chances of success.

By getting support from health and legal professionals along with the force of our legal system, victims can get past the nightmares of the past and look forward to a bright new future. Give us a call today if you or someone you know is a victim of domestic violence and needs the protection of the courts.

If you are stopped and arrested for driving under the influence (DUI), a series of processes are set in motion. Although these processes may vary by state, the basic sequence is:

  1. Booking
  2. Arraignment
  3. Court Date
  4. Sentencing (if convicted)

What is Arraignment?

At your arraignment you will have your charges read to you and you will be asked if you need representation. As you may have in heard in any of the multitude of TV crime shows, if you can’t afford an attorney, the court may assign one to you. Lastly, you will be asked to how you plead to your charges. Because most people plead guilty at this phase, either because they lack adequate knowledge or the evidence against them appears overwhelming, this is as far as most DUI arraignments go. Sentencing is passed and the person must now deal with the consequences

Advantages of an Experienced DUI Attorney

Besides taking the time to become familiar with the proper way to behave should you be stopped on suspicion of DUI, there are advantages to securing competent council as soon as possible after the stop as possible. Being stopped can be a chaotic event for someone unfamiliar with with the process and it is possible that you might miss an important point that could help you defend yourself in court. Having a legal professional on your side can give you the information you need to dismiss charges once you arrive in court. In addition, experienced council can greatly assist in guiding through your arraignment. Legal proceedings can seem to happen very quickly for the uninitiated and competent council can help reduce the stress on you at that time.

If You Decide to Plead Not Guilty

If you decide to plead not guilty at your arraignment (which is expected), you will have a court date set for your trial. Although you will have the opportunity to represent yourself during the trial, this is usually have bad ideal. Without familiarity with court procedures, it is likely that you will make a mistake that could end up costing you in multiple ways. Your best chance during a trial is to have experienced council at your side. In-depth knowledge of the nuances that state legal systems have can make the difference between having a case dismissed, onerous sentences or, in some cases, acquittal. If you have been arrested for DUI, contact and hire an experienced attorney immediately.