Who Can be Accused of Sexual Battery?

Jan 03

Under both federal and state laws, crimes that cause innocent victims severe harm are considered serious offenses and are, thus, exacted with heavy punishments, like costly fines and/or years in imprison; some offenders are even sentenced to life imprisonment.

Serious crimes include: treason, which is betrayal of one’s country and the most serious crime in the U.S.; murder, which is the unlawful planned killing of another person; and, sex crimes, such as rape, predatory sexual assault and, in a number of states, sexual battery.

Sexual battery refers to any form of unwanted or non-consensual touching or sexual contact. It does not have to involve sexual intercourse or penetration, as in the case of rape. In some states, sexual battery is referred to as criminal sexual contact and it can be committed in many different ways, like grabbing or fondling a woman’s breast, forcing a kiss on the mouth, patting a person’s buttocks, forcing the victim to touch the offender’s intimate body part, or touching the victim’s genital area – all these acts are committed by an offender for the purpose of arousing or sexually gratifying himself/herself.

The most common victims of sexual battery are a relative, a classmate, a neighbor, an acquaintance, a co-worker, a friend, a dating partner, or even a spouse. According to Nashville criminal defense attorneys of Horst Law, sexual battery can be elevated to aggravated sexual battery, which is a Class B felony, if the offender committed the offense with the use of a weapon as a means of force or coercion, causes bodily harm, committed the offense with the help of another person, or if the victim is less than 13 years old.

In some states, sexual battery is considered a capital felony if the offender is at least 17 years old and the victim, below the age of 12, and if the act causes injuries to the victim’s sexual organ; capital felony can be punished with life imprisonment or death.

While the U.S. justice system is clearly bent on catching and punishing sex offenders, it may sometimes be lacking the initiative or the desire to look into the possibility that the accused is actually innocent. This does not to discredit the system of justice, but to point out that, in certain cases, especially where the victim is a child, an automatic bias is usually developed against the suspect.

A charge as serious as a sex crime, more so a conviction, can and will destroy everything that an accused holds dear and important. Hoping to clear one’s name will require only the best defense from a determined criminal defense lawyer

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Consequences of a Hit And Run Accident

Oct 20

When you get involved in a car accident, the law requires that you stay at the scene of the crime until a law enforcer arrives or you have exchanged information with the other driver. Under the law, when an accident involves an injured person, a minimum requirement is to call for emergency assistance. You are also required to alert law enforcers about the accident. If you fail to do these requirements, then you could e charged with hit-and-run.

Running away from your responsibility in a car accident is a misdemeanor offense. However, Tennessee car accident lawyers at Pohl & Berk, LLP will tell you that hit and run can have serious consequences especially if an injured person is inserted into the equation. Hit and run is a misdemeanor offense. However, depending on the consequences, it can also become a felony. The difference between the two depends on whether an injured person becomes involved.

Hit and run is a misdemeanor if the accident only results to property damage. Under Vehicle Code Section 2002, misdemeanor hit and run has the following elements:

  • You ran away from the scene of the crime when the other driver is at-fault
  • Your car hits and damages another person’s property
  • You may be at-fault even though your car did not crash into another

Hit and run is elevated to felony if you leave the scene of the accident with an injured person. Whether it’s the driver, passenger, or pedestrian, the accompanying punishment can be more severe. The fines may vary depending on the state, but it will always include jail time aside from the penalty. The most severe consequence of hit and run is you will be treated like a fugitive. The police will locate you and a warrant of arrest will likely be issued against you.

With hit and run, you have both a civil and criminal offense. Usually, the civil case will first be put on hold while the criminal case is being tried.

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The Hazard Communication Standard

Jul 08

Any kind of hazardous agent can cause occupational disorders and diseases, including systemic toxicity, or systemic effects, and occupational skin diseases (OSD), which are actually the second most common types of work-related diseases. While systemic toxicity damages internal organs once the fumes of toxic substances are inhaled, the development of occupational skin diseases occurs when the skin comes in contact with hazardous chemicals. There are several different forms of occupational skin diseases, including irritant and allergic contact dermatitis, skin infections, and skin cancers.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says that there are at least 13 million workers in the U.S. whose jobs regularly exposed them to hazardous chemicals, like Acetone, Acetonitrile, Ammonia, Asbestos, Benzene, Chloroform, Dichloromethane, Ethyl Acetate, Formaldehyde, Hexane, Lead, Methanol, Tetrasodium Pyrophosphate, and Titanium Dioxide.

Employers all the across the US have the responsibility of assuring their employees of a safe and healthy working environment. This responsibility, which is mandated by the Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSH Act) which the United States Congress passed into law in 1970, is enforced by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) which, in turn, was created by OSH Act in 1971. Part of OSHA’s endeavor in maintaining health and safety in all workplaces, but more so in sites where workers are exposed to chemical hazards, it enacted the Hazard Communication Standard (HCS), which took effect in 1986.

The HCS, also called the Worker Right-to-Know Legislation or the Right-to-Know law, gives workers the right to know everything about the chemical hazards they are exposed to and how they can protect themselves from these. To fulfill these, employers are mandated to train their workers on the proper handling and storing of chemical substances, and provide their workers with the necessary gears which will protect them from any form of harm.

Workers who are often exposed to potentially harmful substances, include those in the following industries: construction, agriculture, mechanics, printing/lithography, painting, cleaning, cosmetology, health care and food service.

According to The Benton law firm, companies should have proper safety features in place to protect workers against workplace accidents and injuries. Failure to ensure the presence of these safety pictures makes employers totally liable for whatever injuries their employees may sustain.

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What You Should Know About Reckless Driving

Mar 09

According to the personal injury lawyers at Pohl & Berk, LLP, reckless driving is, in fact, one of the most common causes of accidents on the road, and it also takes different forms. People often associate reckless driving with the mere carelessness of a person while driving, and some even think that the consequence to it is just a simple speeding ticket or a traffic violation ticket. While carelessness is an operative word in such cases, there are far more factors that are considered before an accident is ruled as reckless driving.

Legal Match stated that the court considers the following factors, among many others, for reckless driving: condition of the weather, time of day (and whether the driving was safe or appropriate for the time), presence of other people, and whether the manner of driving was more than just negligence. The charges filed on reckless drivers differ depending on the state, but it is usually deemed as a misdemeanor, whether a criminal or a traffic offense.

The attorneys at Pohl & Berk, LLP said that in Tennessee, the common types of reckless driving include tailgating, racing, fleeing from police, ignoring road signs and signals, illegal passing, and many other more. The consequences, according to Legal Match, may mean that the violator will have a criminal record or have the driving privileges suspended. Reckless driving may also subject a person to probation or a year in prison, although it still depends on the degree of the accident and the existing law in the state.

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What You Need To Know About Lung Cancer

Oct 17

Lung cancer is considered the leading cause of cancer deaths in the U.S. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the disease killed more than 150,000 people in the country in 2012. You are at highest risk of lung cancer when you smoke. Other risk factors associated with lung cancer are exposure to second hand smoke, asbestos, and radon gas. You may also be at risk if you have a family member who has the disease.

Apart from those mentioned above, you increase your chance of getting the disease by being constantly exposed to polluted air. Unfortunately, not all vehicle companies are sincere in their fight for a cleaner air. On their website, attorneys at The Discroll Firm talk about how Volkswagen deliberately sold vehicles with a special “defeat device” to lower pollutant levels during an emissions test in order to cheat it. The auto maker admitted that it sold around 11 million of such cars worldwide.

Signs and symptoms of lung cancer seldom occur during its earlier stages. As the disease progresses, you may experience persistent cough, chest pain, hoarseness, and wheezing. You may also cough up blood, experience headaches, and unintentionally lose weight.

If you think that you are at risk of lung cancer and are experiencing any of its symptoms, visit your physician immediately for a test. After a complete physical exam, he may recommend imaging tests, such as computerized tomography (CT) scan and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) to see potentially cancerous lesions. A sample of a lung tissue can also be obtained for testing. If you have a productive cough, a sputum test may also be recommended.

Finally, you may also consider testing for lung cancer even if you are healthy, although you still need to consult with your doctor to know its possible advantages and disadvantages.

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Air Traffic Controllers

Jun 15

Since the invention of air travel, this technology has become widespread and now connects the globe. While this form of travel is innovative and exciting, it also comes with increased risk. Airplanes are complex vehicles and it takes a highly trained group of individuals to safely navigate an aircraft from its departure to its destination. Among this team are individuals known as air traffic controllers. Louisville personal injury lawyers will probably tell you that air traffic controllers are “trusted with the responsibility of overseeing and maintaining the flight plans that fall within their airspace, and expected to make split-second decisions to prevent accidents should a potential incident ever arise.” This is an extremely challenging position which requires proper training and constant vigilance. Should and air traffic controllers fail to make the correct judgement calls, the results can be catastrophic for passengers of multiple aircrafts. Common aircraft controller errors include: misreading the radar, allowing too many planes onto the runway, and flying aircrafts in too close of proximity.

There are two different types of air traffic controllers- military and civilian. In some nations, military air traffic controllers regulate all air traffic, even that of domestic airlines. In other nations, military aircraft controllers regulate only military aircraft travel, while civilian aircraft controllers regulate all other types of air travel.

Air traffic controllers face a huge responsibility and must be held accountable for any lapse in judgment which could have devastating results. If you or someone you know has been affected by an air travel accident due to the error of an air traffic controller, you may be entitled to certain damages. It is important to know what precautions are expected of local air traffic controllers.

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Potential Surgical Dangers of the Da Vinci Robot

Apr 16

The Da Vinci Robot is a multi-armed machine used for minimally invasive surgical procedures. It was introduced around the year 2000 by Intuitive Surgical Inc. with the intention of reducing the risk of infection for routine surgeries. Instead of manually cutting into a patient’s body, a surgeon can make a small incision and use the robot’s arms to accomplish the procedure. The patient will no longer have to be exposed in the surgical table for a long time. The doctor can complete the operation at a distance, simply using a 3D image as a guide.

Considering these obvious advantages, the Da Vinci Robot soon became a popular tool in hospitals all around the world. However, certain issues with innovative surgical machine have recently come to light. As found by the National Injury Law Center, a number of lawsuits have been filed against Intuitive Surgical for serious injuries supposedly caused by their surgical robot. One of the most recent lawsuits involves a 24 year old woman in New York City dying of punctures to her arteries and intestines after she went through a hysterectomy.

Several other lawsuits have been filed as early as December 2003. In these claims, the plaintiffs have individually noted that the Da Vinci Robot caused the death of patients during surgeries that are considered simple and routine. Among their complaints include the following dangers that were said to be caused by the multi-armed machine:

  • Burns and tears of internal organs
  • Punctures in blood vessels or ureters
  • Serious injury to bowels
  • Excessive bleeding

Despite reports of such potential dangers, the Da Vinci surgical machine is still widely used by surgeons everywhere. If you or anyone you know suffered grave complications after a surgery that involved the machine, you may be able to seek just compensation through a personal injury or wrongful death lawsuit. Contact an experienced lawyer in your area to learn more about your options.

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What You Need to Know about Social Security Disability Benefits

Apr 13

People face unavoidable risks in their daily lives, whether they’re at home, at their place of work, or driving on the road. Sometimes, these risks lead to accidents that could cause injury and disability. During such cases, the U.S. federal government has ensured that people with disabilities receive financial support through social security benefits. This is done through two primary programs called Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI). According to the website of the Hankey Law Office, individuals can make claims under either two programs depending on their particular circumstances.

Information about Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI)

SSDI benefits are a form of financial assistance comprised of regular payments meant to support persons with disabilities and their families provided through paid Social Security taxes. An individual could qualify for SSDI benefits if they are insured members, aged 65 and below, and can meet the following criteria:

  • Have been employed long enough to pay Social Security or Federal Insurance Contribution taxes
  • Have been able to earn the required number of credits by the Social Security Act
  • Currently suffering from total disability, which is defined by the factors: inability to perform previous work due to a medical condition; the disability has lasted for a year, and is likely to continue on for a year or more; the disability can result in death.

The amount paid to beneficiaries will vary depending on the nature of their disability. The same is true for the duration in which a beneficiary will receive their SSDI payments. The Social Security Act provides a list of severe medical conditions that would automatically qualify a person for SSDI benefits. If an individual’s current condition is not on the list, Social Security will conduct an evaluation to learn more about the nature of their disability.

Information about Supplemental Security Income (SSI)

On the other hand, SSI benefits come from the U.S. Treasury. Individuals would not need to have earned Social Security credits through employment to qualify. These payments are typically intended for individuals who are facing notable financial hardships and are having difficulties with paying for basic necessities.

To qualify for SSI assistance, an individual should be at least 65 years old and totally disabled. They should have income or resources that fall within a specific bracket called federal benefit rate.

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Child Custody Information: Restrictions for Unfit Parents

Apr 11

Child custody is one of the most important details that divorcing and separating parents should arrange. Because it could entail difficult decisions, the court acts as a mediator to ensure the best interest of the child is upheld. As such, there several factors that needs to be considered. Still, regardless of what both parents decide, the court will have the final say in the manner.

Particularly in the last several years, the court has been keen on making sure that children are able to spend equal amounts of time with both parents. As much as possible, the courts prefer to award joint custody to ensure that children can foster a healthy relationship with each parent. Joint custody is when both parents can play an active role in making important decisions involving their child. Depending on the proximity of both parents’ home, they might also be awarded joint physical custody by the court. This is the ideal scenario that courts will want to see child custody arrangements play. This, however, won’t be the case if there is an unfit parent involved.

The court will restrict custody rights for parents deemed legally unfit to care for their child. This is typically determined by identifying factors that is considered dangerous or harmful to the child. If there are concerns about domestic violence, emotional abuse, substance abuse, and other criminal offenses, the court will carry out a risk assessment to learn more about the situation. Such an investigation can take place even after a custody arrangement has long been settled. Depending on what they find, the court could end up making important modifications to the custody arrangement.

According to the website of BB Law Group PLLC, the following scenarios are flagged by courts as cause to modify child custody arrangements and deem a parent unfit:

  • If a child being subjected to abuse, whether physical or emotional
  • If a parent is dependent on narcotic substances
  • If a parent’s new partner endangers the child’s well being

For example, a parent with drug dependence could have their visitation rights terminated. As pointed out on the website of lawyer James Powderly, the criminal justice system takes drug charges very seriously. Any serious crime will have devastating outcomes, which can affect a parent’s ability to play an active role in their child’s life.

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Do You Need SR-22 Insurance?

Apr 10

Road accidents are unfortunately a common occurrence in the U.S., with the United States Census Bureau reporting 10.8 million vehicular accidents in the year 2009 alone. The website of the Abel Law Firm also notes that a car accident takes place every 8 seconds across the country. In most cases, these accidents result in damages and injuries. One way the government makes sure such outcomes don’t lead to devastating consequences is through requiring drivers to have insurance liability coverage.

Among such safety nets is the SR-22 Insurance, which is required of drivers who have been convicted of traffic offenses or have incurred several traffic violations within a given time period. Depending on which state they live in, high risks drivers will need to file an SR-22 to regain their driving privileges. According to Habush Habush & Rottier S.C. ®, SR-22 Insurance is particularly important after the following scenarios:

  • Driving under the influence (DUI)
  • Causing a car accident without appropriate insurance
  • Having 3 or more traffic violations within a year

Technically, SR-22 is the name of the form that at risk drivers need to fill out and forward to the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV). This form will prove that the driver has complied in attaining the insurance liability coverage required for their particular situation. Usually, the SR-22 form is forwarded by the insurance company. In these cases, drivers won’t have to worry about a lengthy process. The only thing they will need to focus their attention on is making necessary payments for their insurance policy.

Drivers required to get an SR-22 Insurance will have to pay a higher premium for about three years. Some states also require the payment of certain fees. It’s also important to note that an SR-22 insurance that gets cancelled or has lapses in payment within a specified duration or time could lead to another violation for the driver.

All in all, an SR-22 Insurance is an important safety net that helps key roads across the U.S. safe from liabilities caused by accidents. Drivers who want to regain their privileges after committing certain traffic offenses and violations should make sure to work with a notable car insurance company to get the best options for their particular situation.

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