Tips From A Virginia Beach Personal Injury Lawyer On Car Accidents

There are approximately 6 million automobile crashes in the United States every year. Approximately 2.5 million injuries and more than 30,000 people die in vehicle accidents. Annually, the rates go up. More and more, individuals are getting injured, if not killed, from car crashes.

Unfortunately, most of us will experience this type of incident at some point. That is why it is important for us to understand certain things that will provide significant assistance when we are in a car or truck accident.

Remain at the scene of the accident.

If you are in a car accident involving injury, or substantial damage to property, remain at the crash scene until law enforcement arrive and tell you that you are permitted go. There are laws requiring individuals involved to stay put and wait for law enforcement to arrive and investigate. Leaving the scene of the accident can get your license revoked, or worse, your behavior might lead to criminal charges.

Protect the injured.

If you are trained in providing medical aid, provide it if somebody is hurt. However, it is important to keep in mind at no time to relocate an hut individual, unless not doing so will cause further harm. Tell someone to call the police and report the crash. The person to contact the police should inform that people are injured, and if possible, the number of persons injured so that there will be enough emergency personnel to respond to the accident. If the accident occurred on the roadway, turn on your flashers, or use flares to warn approaching traffic of the accident.

Get information.

In any accident, it is important to get information that you will use later on, especially during your insurance claim. The following are the information you should know:

The other driver’s name, address, driver’s license number, insurance information, and license plate number.

If there are witnesses, get their names, addresses, and telephone numbers.

Ask for a business card from the police officer who investigated the traffic scene. Also get the “incident number” so that you can obtain an accident report. Most officers will provide you with the information even if you don’t ask.

Take note of the location: the road conditions, speed limits, traffic control devices, the weather, and the lighting.

Take note of how the accident occurred: the direction of travel of the vehicles involved, and what the cars are doing at the time of the accident. It is significant to note that you will be asked to share your notes with the person you are suing or the person who is suing you if the accident may result to litigation.

Never admit liability.

Even if you believe you are at fault, do not admit liability. There may be other factors which you don’t know that may turn the fault to the other driver. Do not make statements, on print or tape, to anybody at the accident scene, except for the police. Nevertheless, when speaking to the police, tell them only the facts of what happened. Let them make their own conclusion from the facts.

Seek medical care.

See a doctor. There are statutes in every state pertaining to what the insurance can cover. If you do not see a doctor, you might find later on that the insurance company or the other driver involved in the accident may argue that your injuries were not related to the accident. In addition, the “adrenaline rush” from the accident can mask symptoms, which a physical examination can otherwise reveal.

Tell the doctor your symptoms, any loss of memory, headache, blood or fluid in the ear, dizziness, disorientation, ringing in the ears, nausea, confusion, or any other unusual physical or mental feeling. It is best to be safe. Report your symptoms so that a medical expert can rule out the possibility of a much greater damage.

Dealing with automobile accidents can be overwhelming, especially if you are not aware of the legalities regarding this problem. So if you or a family member is a victim or have suffered from an automobile accident, it is better to have a reliable and competent lawyer to assist you in your claims. A personal injury lawyer will provide you the opportunity for a fair outcome, as well as recover damages that you deserve.

How A Separation Agreement Affects A Virginia Divorce

In Virginia, either party of a marriage is permitted to initiate a divorce based upon fault or no-fault grounds. Fault based divorces are permitted to be initiated immediately provided that the required grounds are existing at the time of filing. Fault based grounds include abuse, desertion, and adultery. If no such grounds exist for a fault based divorce, couples may opt to proceed with a no-fault divorce. To qualify for a no-fault divorce, the parties are required to live separate and apart for either six or twelve months (depending on whether there are minor children) prior to filing for divorce.

Unlike many other states, Virginia does not have a “legal separation” under the law. Once one of the parties removes themselves from the marriage with the purpose to make the separation permanent, the law finds that to be adequate to establish a separation. There is no need to express those intentions to anyone, including the spouse, nor to have any formal agreement. Although, as you can imagine, to not have some sort of formal document is a prescription for headaches.

A separation agreement is a legal document that states how the parties will proceed in the course of the separation time. In most situations, the agreement will be incorporated into a final divorce decree and further explain the particular rights and obligations of the individuals in the course of the divorce. It may help to enter a hassle free transition into final dissolution of the marriage. The topics addressed in a separation agreement can go a long way in protecting the rights and belongings of the parties for future divorce proceedings.

Most agreements handle the traditional matters of child custody and visitation, support questions (child support and spousal support), insurance issues, and some debt and property allocation. Separation agreements can be broad guidelines under which the parties will live, or they may be meticulous in each detail. The style depends only on the level at which the parties are ready to cooperate in the process.

Once the terms of the separation agreement have been chosen, the parties can then establish whether the agreement will provide the basis of a future divorce decree. If so, once the required separation interval has run, either party can file a complaint for divorce and then right away submit a Final Divorce Decree which may references the separation agreement for details. Generally this can be achieved by one party as an uncontested divorce without requiring additional participation of the other.

Separation agreements are legal documents, similar to contracts, signed by both parties in front of a notary public. If one of the parties fails to abide by the terms of the agreement, the agreement may be filed with the court for ratification, and the offending party may be held in contempt of court. If found in contempt, they may be sanctioned, be responsible for the other party’s costs and attorney’s costs, and perhaps even jailed.

There is no requirement to get separation agreements drawn up by an attorney. Yet, because they are legally binding documents, it would be good to have the agreement drafted by a divorce attorney, particularly if the document is later to be used as the basis of the divorce decree.

Should you demand a Jury Trial For A Criminal Case in Virginia?

By way of the legal doctrine of “incorporation”, the Bill of Rights of the U.S. Constitution has long been applied to the states. By this doctrine, the states’ judiciaries are required to value the Rights assured to us by the Constitution. Among these Rights, the Sixth Amendment, is the right to a jury trial for all criminal offenses where the defendant is facing a sentence exceeding six months in jail.

According the U.S. Bureau of Justice Statistics, only about 5% of all criminal convictions occur by means of a trial; the other 95% are resolved by guilty pleas. Of that 5%, only 1% are determined by jury trials. Of the more than one million criminal trials annually nationwide, why have countless Americans chosen to voluntarily forego one of the oldest and most cherished rights we possess? To answer that query, we have to bear in mind a few contributing factors, all of which have been employed to make our criminal justice process operate more efficiently, i.e., assure more convictions.

Let’s face it. There is no possible way that our justice system can withstand bench trials (trial by a judge with no jury) for each criminal case, let alone a jury trial which lasts considerably longer. In Virginia, there are around 200,000 criminal cases statewide annually. The judicial system in its present state is stressed to its limits; if there were to be a small raise in the amount of defendants demanding trials, the judicial system would face collapse. If those same defendants demanded jury trials the system would essentially collapse.

To combat the recent rise in crime during the last quarter century, mostly resulting from more drug crimes as well as other “vice” crimes (prostitution, gambling, alcohol etc.), Virginia’s General Assembly added extra weapons to prosecutors’ arsenals. One of these weapons is increased minimum sentences. Under Virginia law, if a jury returns a verdict of guilty, they will also propose a sentence. So long as the sentence is within the minimum/maximum window, it is valid. Judges rarely ignore jury sentences which a lot of times is considerably lengthier than a sentence issued by a judge. In Virginia, a jury, in contrast to a judge, is not authorized to suspend any sentence recommendation. Hence, if a person is charged with manufacture and distribution of a controlled substance, a charge that carries a five year minimum sentence, a judge may well suspend four of those five years, a jury may not.

Yet another law in Virginia allows that any of the three parties, the defendant, judge or the prosecutor, may require a jury trial. Realizing the minimum sentence range, a prosecutor may threaten to call for a jury trial. Imagine that! A Constitutional Right being used as a threat to the defendant. Any defendant that is facing a minimum sentence of five years, even if they are innocent, may choose a guilty plea with a six month sentence.

Finally there are the Virginia criminal defense lawyers. While jury trials are a staple of romanticism in Hollywood movies, they are grueling and demanding in actuality – on the defendant for sure, as well as the criminal attorney. Negotiating a guilty plea, or even planning for a bench trial, may involve several hours of work. To prepare appropriately for a jury trial can take days, weeks, even months. Most defendants can simply not afford the expense of a jury trial which might run into the tens of thousands, even hundreds of thousands for serious and complex subjects.

In general, the only people who currently go for a jury trial may fall into three groups: those that claim to be truly innocent and refuse to plead guilty, individuals who are just too stubborn to simply accept the specifics and reality, and those who are career offenders and have nothing to lose by a jury trial. For anyone who is charged with a crime in Virginia, you ought to seek counsel from a Virginia criminal defense attorney to figure out if you should plead guilty or go to trial, and if a trial, should it be by a judge or jury.

Should You Demand An Attorney During Police Questioning? Yes!

The right to have a criminal attorney with you in the course of any police questioning has long been a fabric of our legal society since the mid-1960s. The U.S. Supreme Court ruled in the 1966 landmark case of Miranda v. Arizona that criminal investigators are expected to advise people of their Constitutional legal rights prior to asking any questions (Miranda Rights). Among those rights is the right to have a criminal defense lawyer present during any and all questioning.

Other Supreme Court decisions have licensed most every police questioning tactic, which includes lying to and deceiving the suspect. Police may intimidate you by the threat of arrest, lie to you relating to their knowledge of the facts, lie to you about an eyewitness who has identified you, and let you know they will work with the prosecutor to help you out. With that knowledge of police interrogation ethics, is it any wonder why you should demand a lawyer during the process? If not, you are choosing to enter a combat with no armor and no weapon.

Most individuals are not familiar with these “rules of the game” when approached by police. Many may not even realize they are really being setup to be a suspect. What might seem like a friendly, casual law enforcement encounter can quickly change to a scenario with you in cuffs with a free ride to the city jail. It is essential that you choose to protect yourself from misinterpretations, misrepresentations, and misinformation. A competent criminal defense attorney will be ready to spot these typical law enforcement techniques. He will then be able to present you with reliable advice as to what questions to answer, and when to say enough is enough.

Believe me when I tell you that police investigators will say nearly anything and make you feel as uncomfortable as possible to get you to speak to them quickly, before you have had the opportunity to seek legal advice. You should decline any comments concerning a criminal matter, whether you’ve got anything at all to do with it or not.

Too many charges have been brought against clients due to misinterpretations of statements. Remember the scene from My Cousin Vinny in which Ralph Macchio is repeating back the question to the sheriff, “I shot the clerk”. To him, he was shocked by the question; in trial it was used against him as a declaration of admission. This is not unusual in criminal law.

The magic words that conclude all law enforcement questioning are, “I want to speak to an attorney.” Protect yourself, your reputation along with your freedom. At all times demand a criminal attorney for all law enforcement interrogation.