Criminal Defense of Sex Crimes

In December of 2013, the brain behind a revenge porn website, was charged, not for sex crimes, but for extorting thousands of dollars from his victims, mostly females, whose pictures where indecently exposed in the website he created in 2012. The extortion charge was due to the amount he required from those posted in his website, for their pictures to be removed.

Revenge porn websites that contain nude photos or sex videos of former girlfriends or boyfriends which have been posted by their exes as a form of revenge for being dumped. Uploaded obscene pictures include the victim’s name and his/her city or state of residence; some pics even include the subject’s exact home address, contact number and place of work – information  required by the site’s owner from those submitting videos and pictures for posting.

Links to the subject’s Tumblr, LinkedIn, Twitter, or Facebook account are also required by these sites, enabling them to link to the subject’s social networking profiles, so that when someone (friend, family, officemates, future employer, etc.) tries to access the subject’s social accounts, the first image that will pop in front of them is the posted nude photo of the subject: a very humiliating and degrading thing for the subject, definitely.

Bigotry and sexual harassment still fall short in describing what revenge porn really is. Many of the subjects posted have the life and confidence in them suddenly drawn out and replaced with humiliation, fear and misery. Those employed lost their job, while those hoping to finally land a job never got contacted again by their prospected employers. Many others received loads of texts messages and emails, all from strangers asking for sexual favors or making threats.

Revenge porn is illegal in New Jersey and California. Realizing too the tremendous ill-effects that the site can cause in its subjects’ lives, New York, Maryland and several other states have also began the process of drafting laws against revenge porn. Very recently, legislators from Pennsylvania proposed a bill that would make those guilty of “revenge porn-ing” be charged with second-degree misdemeanor, a crime that will require a maximum fine of $5,000 plus two years in jail.

In an article posted on its website, Kohler & Hart, LLP, a firm located in Wisconsin, says that a person who will be found guilty of a sex crime will definitely face very serious consequences, even long after he/she has already paid for the crime. A conviction will affect his/her employment, and will even make looking for a house to live in a challenging endeavor.

If given the chance to be heard and with a really strong defense, circumstances that seem as though they will inevitably lead to a conviction may be averted, or those who are convicted may be given only a minor punishment. All that is necessary is to find a really good criminal defense lawyer and tell him/her everything he/she needs to know which will have a bearing on the case.

ERISA: Assured Benefits for Millions of Americans Employees

On September 2, 1974, 93rd United States Congress passed into law the Employee Retirement Income Security Act or ERISA, for the purpose of ensuring that upon their retirement, the millions of Americans will be able to enjoy the assets or the funds that were deposited in their retirement plan during the years that they worked. ERISA claims only apply in companies where employers have chosen to sponsor the health insurance coverage of the employees and other plans for the benefit of the same employees.

The administration of ERISA is the task of the Employee Benefits Security Administration (EBSA), a branch of the Department of Labor (DOL) of the United States. The Act does not mandate employers to offer plans to their employees; it merely lays down the rules for whatever benefits an employer would choose to offer. ERISA also means to protect the interests of all the participants (and their beneficiaries) in the employee benefit plans by:

  • Making sure that they are informed about all the vital information relating to the plans, such as their features and funding
  • Requiring these plans to formulate a process for grievance and appeals that will help the participants receive benefits from their plans
  • Providing fiduciary or trustee responsibilities for whoever will control and manage the plans’ assets
  • Giving the participants the right to file legal claims for benefits and violations committed by the fiduciary

For a clearer picture of what ERISA actually does, say for instance that an employer opts to sponsor a pension plan for his/her employees, ERISA will, then, lay down the minimum standards for the availment of such pension plan. These standards will specify the length of employment required for an employee to be accepted as a participant of the plan, the additional number of years necessary for an employee to enjoy non-forfeitable interests in their pension, the length of time allowed for a participant to be away from his/her job before his/her benefits are affected, and the right of the spouse to the pension in the event of the participant’s death.

In improving the benefits of employees, amendment were made to ERISA to include in it two areas that would cover health insurance: the first was COBRA or the Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act, which was approved in 1985; and, the second, HIPAA or the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act , which was passed in 1996.

To make sure that the stipulations of ERISA are complied with, EBSA monitors companies through reporting requirements. While failure to comply would result to criminal penalties and civil liabilities, compliance may earn for the company tax breaks and other incentives.

Car Accidents: Common Types of Driver Error

Two things that are always required of drivers when driving are complete attention on the road and observance of all traffic safety rules – the very same things a driver would want all those sharing the road with him/her to observe. These are necessary if one wants to keep away from a car accident, which can definitely result to his/her car being wrecked and the possibility of severe physical injuries.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), some of the most common errors that drivers commit on the road are over speeding, right-of-way violation, improper overtaking, tailgating, use of hand held phones or texting and driving while intoxicated. Detailing the circumstances surrounding each error plus the worst possible effect of each, the following are facts:

  • Speeding: lessens the chance of the driver to have full and immediate control over his/her vehicle. This erroneous road behavior also increases the risk of death during a crash.
  • Right-of-Way Violation: this involves failure to recognize the right of others to use of the road. Included in this are running red lights, making too wide turns, turning into wrong lanes, gridlock or blocking an intersection, failing to yield, not recognizing bicyclists’ or motorcyclists’ right of way, and so forth.
  • Improper Passing: this usually results to head-on collisions, sideswipes or running off the road.
  • Tailgating: following another car or worse, a truck, too closely will render a tailgater’s car not visible, resulting to tail end collisions during stops.
  • Use of Handheld Phones or Texting: texting while driving has been illegalized by the government due to the great risk to accidents it entails. Using a phone takes one’s attention off the road for a couple of seconds – enough time to cause the driver to fail to notice another vehicle.
  • Driving while Intoxicated (DWI): a crime in all 50US states, DWI offenders are exacted with heavy fines and punishment. It can also result to suspension of one’s driver’s license and the end of all driving privileges, unless the guilty drivers files an SR-22 form, also known as a Certificate of Financial Responsibility (CFR) form.

Whatever the cause of a car accident may be, whether a minor cut or a severe injury to a vital part of the body, the Sampson Law Firm believes that the person responsible for the accident has the legal duty to compensate his/her victim/s. This compensation should consider the cost of medical treatment needed by the victim, as well as his/her loss of income due to failure to return to work immediately. Often, a knowledgeable and experienced lawyer is needed to help the victim get the amount of compensation he/she rightly deserves.

Wrong Diagnosis Resulting in Stroke

Other than what the diagnosis is, patients’ inquiry to doctors usually center only on the frequency of medication intake or what nutritional diet to have (which many have no intention of following, anyway) to avoid a more serious illness. Bottom line actually is: once under the care of a doctor, patients believe they already are in good hands!

Many are not aware, probably, but medical mistakes can be committed even by the best doctors and nurses in the US. In fact, due to medical malpractice, not less than a quarter of a million people die annually, making it the third leading cause of death in America.

One example of medical malpractice is wrong diagnosis, which is failure to detect the warning signs of a more severe health condition, such as one leading to a stroke. A stroke can definitely be prevented, but only if its symptoms are diagnosed early and the patient given proper medication and advise, on how to effectively avoid it through proper diet, exercise and good rest. Failure to diagnose and treat it, however, may result to paralysis or even death.

Records from the American Stroke Association show that, every year, about half a million Americans suffer from a stroke; about 200,000 attacks have disabling effects, while about one third is fatal. The difficulty in determining the symptoms of stroke is due to its resemblance with other health issues, like diabetic hypoglycemia or severe migraine attack. However, with the presence of other warning signs, such as severe headache with unknown cause, dizziness, difficulty walking, loss of coordination or balance, difficulty understanding or speaking, difficulty seeing either from one or both eyes and weakness or numbness on one side of the body, it would not hurt if the patient will be required to undergo more tests if these will help determine his/her real condition.

Crowe & Mulvey, LLP, a firm based in Massachusetts, believes that the similarity of symptoms between illnesses cannot be an excuse for doctors to misdiagnose a certain illness, as this may lead to life-threatening situations for the patient. Given all the modern technologies around them which they can use to perform their work more effectively, doctors, according to Crowe & Mulvey, ought to be able to determine patients’ real illness, especially if the warning signs are manifestations of a stroke.

A stroke, also known as Cerebral Vascular Accident (CVA), results from the cessation of blood flow to any area of the brain. This may be caused by a blood clot in the blood vessels or by a clot from Cholesterol plaque. A major or large stroke is usually preceded and evidenced by a Transient Ischemic Attack (TIA), which medical professionals also term as warning or mini stroke. TIA symptoms typically last only for 20 minutes, since the flow of blood resumes afterwards. Tia symptoms, however, should not be taken lightly, and patients showing such symptoms should be given emergency care.

Defective Car/Car Parts – A Probable Cause of a More Serious Accident

The sight of a wrecked car on the road can be gruesome and scary . . .  and often, people ask why accidents have to happen. Driving, of course, is just a privilege, not a right. Many drivers, however, behave as if they own the road – driving recklessly, going over speed limits, driving while intoxicated, not observing stop or slow down signs, beating the red light, tailgating even trucks, and committing many other traffic safety rule violations. Yet the importance of not committing any of these has been made clear to every driver before a driving license had been issued to each of them.

Due to all the violations drivers commit, which result to more than five million motor vehicle accidents annually, you would not be able to blame the federal and state governments if these employ stricter means and programs to be able to apprehend violators, especially those who threaten public safety the most.

Besides driver-controlled violations that lead to vehicular accidents, there are also offenses (that are committed by people other than drivers) which can cause even more serious injuries and worse property damage. These faults are committed by the manufacturers of vehicles, while their offense is failure to comply with federal and industry standards in the manufacture of vehicle and/or vehicle parts.

There have been manufacturers which have made recalls (in the recent past) on certain models of their cars or vehicles after finding out that the issues released for such model has a defective design or has a defective part. The only sad thing about this fact is that recalls were made after a series of accidents had already taken place and had been reported.

A serious car accident, or worse a truck accident, can definitely cause severe injuries, such as a spinal injury, brain damage or broken bones, which can totally alter the life of the victim from active to being confined to a bed or a wheel-chair, for the rest of his/her life . For some victims too, especially children, physical injuries are not the only effects of an accident; there is also trauma, which can cause a person mental and emotional pain for a long time.

Severe injuries and trauma require continuous treatment, which can prove to be too costly in the long run, enough to sink any family into financial troubles eventually. And though some victims may have received compensation from the party that caused both accident and injury, often, the compensation is not enough to see the victim through recovery. The victim will soon realize that, due to the inadequacy of the amount of the compensation, he/she will have to pay for the cost of treatment and medication from his/her own pocket. Soon too will the victim feel the need to sell some of his/her assets, like jewelry, and skip some payments, like credit card bills, student loan, child support, or house mortgage even, until he/she has no other option, but to file for bankruptcy just to end the hounding of his/her creditors.

Victims of accidents should realize that having a good physical injury lawyer, who will fight for their right and defend their interests against the party liable for the accident and their injury, is often a necessity to help them get the amount of compensation they really should receive. A few thousand dollars via an out-of-court settlement, to save them all the trouble, so to say, may be inviting. But how many years, or maybe just months, will this thousand dollars last?

SR-22 Certificate: What It Is and Why Drivers may be Required of It

Car liability insurance is a mandatory requirement for driving a car in the US. This type of insurance is intended to cover two basic elements: property damage and bodily injury. Liability coverage for damaged property will pay for the cost of repair or replacement of another person’s property, such as car or fence, which the liable driver has damaged. Liability coverage for bodily injury, on the other hand, is meant to cover cost of medical expenses, as well as loss of income suffered by the person that the liable driver injured.

When renewing a vehicle registration, one may be asked to present proof of car liability insurance coverage; a reasonable requirement, so to say, because liability insurance is meant to protect other people (and their property) from any sort of harm and damage. Well, one can just imagine the effects of not being compensated when injured in an accident due to another’s acts of negligence or recklessness, simply because the liable driver does not carry car liability insurance and the state’s Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) did not even bother to verify when the vehicle was registered or re-registered.

There are instances, though, when a driver fails to maintain, does not renew or decides to terminate his/her insurance after the registration/re-registration period, due to the costly policy that need to be paid. Chicago-based Insure on the Spot agrees that car insurance can be expensive. Not having it, however, can prove to be much more costly. This can be proven when a driver: gets pulled over by the police and fails to show proof of having car liability insurance coverage; gets involved in an accident wherein he/she is at fault; gets multiple tickets for traffic violations within a short period of time; loses his/her license due to revocation or suspension; or, is charged of driving under the influence (DUI). In any of the mentioned instances, he/she could be required by his/her state’s DMV to submit an SR-2 form before being allowed to operate a motor vehicle again.

An SR-22 (also known as an FR-44 in some states) is a Certificate of Financial Responsibility (CFR) form that an insurance provider submits to the state’s DMV to prove that the driver (being required of it) already carries car liability insurance coverage required by the state. Drivers required to have an SR-22 filing also usually pay higher insurance premiums. The duration of an SR-22 is usually three years. After the third year, if the driver has had no traffic violations, then the state may lift the SR-22 requirement; however, a driver may be required to extend it if charged anew with a traffic offense.

There are insurance companies, though, that are not accredited by the state’s DMV to issue SR-22 certificates. Thus, drivers will need to do a little scouting on this matter. Also, not all states require an SR-22; these states are Pennsylvania, Oklahoma, North Carolina, New York, New Mexico, Minnesota, Kentucky and Delaware. Every driver is required to know his/her state’s requirements regarding car insurance liability coverage and SR-22, especially if he/she has intents on transferring to another state.